1 min

All Embracing

From St John’s to Victoria, a huge, extended family has developed around little Anna Louise Noel, the 10-month-old daughter of Katherine Noel and Susan Mabey.

“Anna is totally surrounded by love,” says Noel, who hails from Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, and is the vice-principal of a Toronto elementary school. Mabey, a fifth generation Torontonian, is the former pastor of Christos MCC (she resigned from the church this past summer) and is studying to be a teacher. They’ve been together for 10 years.

With full-time outside commitments, the couple asked their good friend Alison Morrow to look after Anna during the day. Morrow, a mother of four and grandmother of eight, put her life on hold, sublet her apartment and moved in for nine months. Now she’s Anna’s Nan.

“We’ve gone from being friends to being family,” says Noel. “For me, too,” Morrow agrees. “It feels like family.”

Mabey has a grown-up son from a previous marriage. While a few strangers have difficulty comprehending two moms, Mabey gets a kick out of answering the often-posed questions about other children. “You should see some of the women’s faces, when I’m with Anna and I tell them I also have a 21-year-old son.”

She laughs. “I think one child every 20 years is about right.”

Throughout the interview, of course, Anna, has been upstaging her moms and Nan. She’s got these very together, very lovely women wrapped around her little finger.

As Noel says, “Just when you think you can’t be any more in love, Anna smiles or laughs, and you love even more.”