The day I told my daughter she can’t go to University. 

It broke my heart. 

Although Emily has cri du chat syndrome, I have raised her to believe in herself. 

Over the last 2 years, we talked about life after high school. We talked about the fact that she doesn’t have to do post secondary studies…

I guess I never realized that not having to go was not clear enough…

Just thinking about Thursday’s conversation brings tears to my eyes. 

When I arrived home, Emily told me there was something in her bookbag for me to look at.

She was excited… really excited. 

On Thursday,the students in grade 11 & 12 at Emily’s high school went to a post secondary “trade show” where Universities, colleges and trade skills schools were represented. 

Emily told me which University she picked.  She picked U de M (because it’s French and she speaks French) and was going to study musique (because she needs to get better at reading music). 

She was so proud… And I was devastated. 

I smiled, told her to get ready to go to horseback riding and looked at the brochure. 

Emily will not have the required credits to go to University after grade 12. 

I debated how to tell her. 

I don’t lie to her. 

I refuse to lie to her. 

Later that evening, after horseback riding, we were all in bed, chatting when the subject was brought back up. 

I told her …

I told Emily that she will not go to University. 

It broke my heart. 

I singlehandedly crushed my daughter’s dream. 

I felt like the worst mom!  And I still do. 

I tried to explain to her why and that maybe one day if she continues to work with a private tutor, maybe she will have the required credits. 

I asked her why she wants to go to University so badly and see if what she wants can be achieved differently. 

We talked about music lessons and other things. 

She cried so much. 

She fell asleep in my arms…crying. 

She woke-up and cried some more. 

I didn’t send her to school on Friday and I took the day off to be with her. 

We decided, together, to build a vision board.  Something to help Emily visualize what she wants to do and steps to get there. 

Slowly, this morphed into a scrapbook idea about her passions and hobbies combined with a vision board component…

I am not crafty. Scrapbooking is not something I know how to do but if it could bring my happy girl back…   

We started with baseball and cheerleading. 

We are far from being done… 

We need to print some pictures and find a way to add the vision board to it all but so far so good. 

Emily is feeling better and smiling once again

Clearwater Marine Aquarium

I am worried my words can’t do justice to the day we spent at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

After 2 years and 8 months working on this, on Monday May 5th, I woke-up and took this picture.  My girl slept like a rock the night before.  I thought the excitement would keep her awake but I guess the flight and shopping tired her.

I got us all dress in matching outfits. That’s a sight you will not see that often!

We rented a car and started driving from Orlando to Clearwater.

We saw this!

Eventually, this!

And finally these!


It was a gorgeous day in Clearwater.


We were VIP’s 🙂


This is Emily looking at Winter.   She had tears in her eyes.

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Emily relates to Winter in a way that none of us can see or feel.

None of us!

Which is why I’m worried my words can’t express the magic we witnessed that day.

Since the very first movie preview…

Emily wanted to know more about Winter the dolphin that never gave up.

Winter who, against all odds, survived and now thrives.

Winter, the dolphin who inspires thousands to move forward.

We took a behind the scene tour… We learned about the history of the place, we saw the turtle intensive care unit, Emily asked questions and contributed to the tour.

When Emily heard Winter whistled, it was as if the whole world made sense.  She was so happy.  She had stars in her eyes.

I probably have a couple of hundreds of pictures of our day.  Picking the ones included in this post was challenging.


Here is Emily getting ready to meet Hope (Winter’s buddy) and finally, Emily listening to Mallory and playing with Hope.

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I cried while taking these pictures.

I can try to explain why I cried…

When Emily was diagnosed with cri du chat syndrome, we were told she would do nothing.

Never walk, talk, not recognized us, not show or even comprehend emotions.

When I saw her listen to Mallory and reach out to Hope I was slightly overwhelmed.

New parents assume their kids will do things and experience life.

After Emily’s diagnosis, all of our hopes and dreams were crushed.

All those new experiences, small or big, they are all big wins for us!

So, I cried.

Just a couple of tears really.

One tear for my baby girl who struggled with everything from drinking, to gaining weight, to sleeping…

One tear for my 24 year old self who cried so much.

One tear for all the doctor and therapy appointments who took over our lives.

One tear for our crushed dreams who are slowly coming true.

Thank you Becca for your help in making this dream come true.

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We saw Winter getting her tail put on.


Emily received the cutest USB key ever made.


Our visit continued at the museum.


And concluded with a Sea Life Safari tour.

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Thank you Sunshine Foundation of Canada and Thank you Clearwater Marine Aquarium