This is Me: Birth and Family

My full name is Jennifer Louise Lacourse.
 My mom never said I was named after anyone, but my nana once told me that I was named for a saint. Now I didn't actually believe her because I was 13 and didn't really know anything about Catholicism except what I learned in my little bits of attending church and the few religion classes we took, it's not like I was named Christopher or Mary which are very popular Saints.  I've since done some research and have found two things, there is a Saint Jennifer, she is the patron Saint of Disasters, and Saint Louise is the patron Saint of Orphans. Neither my mom or dad were very religious, my dad once told me his family was Jehovah's Witness and after his dad's death at 13 Nana converted to Catholicism. Who knows sometimes people say things because they think it but they don't really know.  I don't know Nana never said anything, but my mom was Anglican and I wasn't baptized as a baby, I wasn't actually baptized until I was 7.  I think maybe my mom liked the names Jennifer and Louise and my nana found some religious connection. I've actually never asked and now two of the three people that have ever told me about where my name came from are gone. 

I was born to Ruby Gail Patchin and Micheal Elzere Lacourse.  My mom was born at Holy Family Hospital in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.  She was born to Vylma Irene Patchin and Rueben Patchin.  Ruby moved around a lot with her family while Rueben looked for employment, they lived in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Timmons, Ontario and Newark, California. While in California Ruby met and married Michael. Michael was born in Oakland California and grew up in the bay area.  Michael spent his entire life living in the Bay area, he passed away in 2008. 

On March 8, of the year I was born, at 7:38 am Ruby and Michael welcomed me into the family. I was born at Washington Hospital in Fremont, California. I weighed 8 pounds 4 ounces.  I've never heard any stories of my birth, I've heard stories of my sisters birth and my brothers birth, but not mine.  I was a very healthy baby and I like to tell everyone I was the easiest baby every. My mom may disagree!!

I have two siblings, Courtney Lorraine and Nelson Joseph.  Courtney is three years younger than me and Nelson is 6 years younger than me. I love them each dearly.  

When my sister was born I had to stay with my Grandma while my mom was in the hospital. I cried and yelled at my Grandma that whole stay. I refused to eat and I would yell, "you aren't my mommy" when my Grandma would try to get me to eat something. Grandma finally took me to the hospital to see my mom where I ate candies off the snack cart. We lived next door to my grandma when my sister was little, literally right next door. 

When my brother was born I was in grade 1. I was so happy he was born that I made my mom bring him to school as show and tell for my class.  He was a cute baby and I loved him to bits.  I wasn't always the nicest big sister, I'd tease him and torment him but I loved him and I never stood by while someone hurt him.  When I was in grade 12 and he was in grade 6 some kid on his bus would follow him home, tormenting him, this kid was a little shrimp but Nelson was a gentle giant, and just kept walking away. One day I was outside and saw this happening, I was with my boyfriend at the time, and we told Nelson to just punch the kid out. My boyfriend led Nelson to the kid and picked up Nelson's hand and swung out at the kid. I don't remember if the kid stopped after that or if Nelson actually got into a fight with him, but no one was going to pick on my little brother and not have me step in!!

We have a very tight knit family. I'm very close with my siblings and my mom and my grandma.  I loved my dad, but because I grew up so far away from him I wasn't as close with him. Also I think my dad and I had a lot of things in common personality wise (stubbornness, temper etc) so we would butt heads a lot.  Over the years there have been times when I was closer to one sibling over the other but now as we are all grown ups I'd say we were pretty close, or I'm close to both them. I can't speak for their relationship with each other.

I think one of the lessons I learned from my parents was communication. My family has a long history of divorce, and I knew I didn't want to have to go through that if I didn't have to.  I also learned that if you were mature about things you could co-parent very effectively even if you weren't together.  I learned that it's important for a child to have both parents in their lives regardless of your feelings for the other person. I've worked very hard to ensure my children (especially my oldest as his dad and I broke up when he was 3) have relationships with both their parents. It's so important when I broke up I considered what type of relationship I wanted my son to see as a healthy relationship. One in which his parents were miserable or one in which both were happy apart from each other with other people. I chose happiness and I would choose it again.

Since I was the oldest I helped out in my family by caring for my younger siblings.  I was the babysitter and I enjoyed it. I made a lot of money babysitting, though I didn't make much money babysitting my siblings. I also helped with supper and dishes, really whatever mom needed help with I did.  It was good I developed some excellent work ethic and learned that I could get whatever I wanted if I was willing to work for it!!


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