by David Shanahan

Readers of the Times will have noted the announcement that our reporter, Hilary Thomson, is going on maternity leave and last week was her last.

I can honestly say that all of us who have worked with Hilary over the past six years were really sad to see her go, even if it is for the best of reasons. For her and husband Dan, this is a big change in their lives, the beginning of a never-ending story, as they add to their family.

Of course, it is also an ending, the end (temporarily, we hope) of the latest stage in Hilary’s journalistic career.

When she first contacted us about coming to work at the Times, I was really relieved and glad of the help. In fact, she has been more than a help: she is someone we could (and did) rely on at any time and place to cover a story, interview on tape, on video, or in her ever-renewed collection of notebooks.

We knew that she would produce the goods, as they say. You have no idea how precious a quality that is for a weekly newspaper, constantly under pressure to fill the pages, find the stories, and reflect the lives of this community.

But Hilary did it, and wonderfully too.

When we first began working together, I encouraged Hilary to find her own voice, to break out of the strict formats she learned in journalism school at Carleton University.

I remembered what those students were like when I taught them Canadian History, and I wanted Hilary to write as she is. Because what she is, is an interested, interesting, committed and professional human being, one who gained the respect and affection of those she worked with, wrote about, and came in contact with. My goodness, even the politicians loved her!

We all look forward to Hilary’s return to the ranks of the Times when, and if, she is ready to do so.

Having a first child was terra incognita, and no-one can ever predict the fun, joys, sleepless nights, the effect of a smile or a gurgle, the expertise that is developed at changing diapers while remaining asleep, and all the other experiences of parenthood.

But whatever the future brings, Hilary Thomson has been an integral part of the Times, essential to its continued success, even its continued existence.

She is welcome back in whatever capacity, at any time.

Because we love her.


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