My Family

My name is Kirsten.  I am a former South African who moved to Canada ten years ago.  I proudly acquired Canadian citizenship on December 11th, 2009 – the same day on which I got engaged to Gerard, man of my dreams and father of my children.  On April 30th, 2011, our status will change from “living in sin” to “wedded bliss”.  I am Mom to George and James, and also have a full-time job in I.T. project management.  I frequently whine about the length of my daily commute (about an hour and a quarter each way), I am probably too smug about my ability to cope with hot weather during the summer, and I turn into a pathetic crybaby in winter.  I love to run.  When I cannot run I go all weird and my head spins around 360 degrees.  I am passionate about two causes.  One is the Light of DAE Studios, a not-for-profit recording studio for young musicians founded and run by Gerard (kids do a few hours of community service, and in exchange the Studio records their music free of charge).  The other is the Geneva Centre for Autism.  Every year I run a half-marathon to raise funds for Geneva Centre Quest, which is dedicated to providing much-needed services for children and adults with autism.

My fiance is Gerard.  Nine and a half years ago, when I was on the rebound from a bad break-up, I was sitting in a park.  A stranger came and sat beside me, handed me some flowers purchased from the stall across the road, and told me I had beautiful eyes.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Gerard designs and builds sound systems for professional musicians and events, and he also runs the Light of DAE Studios, which is his way of making the world a better place.  Gerard and I have been through a lot together, and there is no other man in the world who I would want to spend my life with.  To say that I love him just doesn’t seem enough.

George is our firstborn son, born in September, 2003.  He is the sweetest boy, full of love and hugs and sunlight.  He has a smile that lights up the hardest of hearts, and the most infectious laugh I have ever heard.  In George’s case, it really is “Laugh and the world laughs with you”.  When George was three and a half, he was diagnosed with autism and given a very bleak prognosis.  But through effective intervention, great community support and lots of perseverance and hard work, George has made fantastic progress.  There are many, many challenges, but there are also many, many moments of celebration and triumph.

James is our second-born child, and came flying into the world like a cannonball on Christmas Day, 2005.  James is  bundle of dynamite, with an imagination that takes him to all kinds of places.  He is vibrant and social, full of opinions that he is not afraid to express and questions he is not afraid to ask.  He adores his brother, and will not let anyone mess with his George.  James, like his brother, is full of love and kindness.  He sometimes has a rough go of it, being the brother of a child with autism, but we are working hard to give him the support and tools to cope with being a little brother with a big brother’s role.


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