As Life Rolls On

As a friend of mine always says, "We plan, God laughs." You never know what life will bring, but the ride can be a blast!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Three Sisters

This is The Three Sisters. It is a mountain located in the town of Canmore, which is about an hour to the west of Calgary. On a clear day, I can see its outline from my office window. Yesterday, we drove by it on our way to Golden BC. Every time I see this mountain, it reminds me of my sisters, who we are, who we have become and our relationship with each other.

This is The Three Sears Sisters. Cathy is at the back, I am in the middle, and Barb is in front. We are close in age. I am 1 1/2 years older than Cathy and Cathy is 2 years older than Barb (Mom had two more in there as well, one older than me and one in between Cathy & Barb................busy, or should I say, crazy lady!).

Like the Three Sisters mountain peaks, Cathy, Barb and I are different in many ways. I was the rebellious one, the one who always had to test my faith, was greatly influenced by my peers, took big risks, and at times was not the nicest of people. As such, I did many things that I am not proud of today, yet I learned a great deal from those mistakes. Cathy and Barb on the other hand always had a firm faith and set up supports for themselves for those times when their faith was shaken. They had the respect of their peers and the adults around them. I have always admired them for their ability to make it through their teenage years with such a firm faith.

With the three Sears Sisters, there are also three very distinctive personalities. I think Cathy wraps it up really well with the way we "embrace" the start and end of the day. Cathy has always been the one to jump out of bed early and says "Good Morning World". Barbara quietly rolls over, quietly gets out of bed and goes about her day. I roll over and look the world straight in the face and say "Go Away, Leave Me Alone!". At night however it is totally opposite. Cathy crashes and burns early, while Barb keeps going until she feels she's had enough then bids her goodbyes. For me, the night time is when I get my best work done. I often wonder where everyone has gone at night, after all, it's time to party isn't it?

Another way we are different is in how we have arrived at where we are today. Cathy always knew what she wanted to be when she grew up. She was always going to be a teacher, which she now is. I remember day in and day out when we were little, when deciding what we wanted to play, Cathy always wanted to play "School", and always wanted to be the teacher. Barb on the other hand, was the one to quietly sit back and go along with the flow based on what she saw happenning around her. She would play school, and would always be the pupil. She carefully thought things through before a decision was made. After careful consideration, she obtained her college diploma to work with and advocate for those with developmental delays. She has been a stay at home mom for a many years now and those skills truly have come in handy. I was different in my own way. I wanted to be a teacher, no, I wanted to missionary, no, I wanted to be a Doctor, no, I wanted to be the boss of a corporation, no, I wanted to work with the developmentally challenged, get the gist of it. I have ended up bouncing around in my career somewhat as well, however as I look back in retrospect, each has lead to the next and to where I am now.

I have over the years come to greatly admire and respect both of my sisters for many reasons. Cathy, as I stated is a teacher, and I think I can say with complete objectivity that she is one of the best there is (I worked in the classroom as a behaviour specialist for over 8 years and have seen the best and the worst). She can mesmorize a group of kids and the drop of a hat with little effort. Kids see her as fun, and as a result learn easily, yet they always know there is a line you do not cross. I worked in the same Board as she did for many years, and everytime someone spoke of her, it was with the utmost respect and admiration for what she does and how she does it. She is also the favorite Aunt to all her many neices and nephews, and is a great support to each of them. My children have been truly blessed by the gift of her time and of herself.

Barbara is one of the best mothers I know. For those who have read her blog, she has had some challenges. She has three beautiful, wonderful, bright, mischeivous boys. She has ensured she is a very involved mother who is always there for each of her boys. Her oldest son has a non verbal learning disability, which affects his ability to interpret and react in social situations. This has lead to some difficult times, as he has been bullied and austricized by other children, and I am sad to say, at times, by some adults. Barb has been like a mother lion, defending her son when appropriate, all the while teaching him how to take responsibility for himself and his actions. She has ensured the schools are fully educated around the needs of children with this type of learning disability (yes children, she does not just think of her own son when doing this), has ensured her son has the supports he needs, and will hunt down supports for him when it appears non are available. I saw my nephew last month for the first time since I moved to Calgary last year. He is now 16. He has become a very mature and introspective young man with an incredibly kind heart. Without Barb as his mother, he would not be where he is today. In my work with behaviourally challenged children, over and over again I saw what happened when parents gave up or blamed everyone else for their child's difficulty. By the time they were my nephews age, many had been "written off" by teachers, family and society. Barb has ensured this has not and will not happen to her son. Although the journey has been a challenge, he is and will continue to be a success story. Barb is an example to me as a mother.

Although we are different in many ways, Cathy, Barb and I are also alike in many ways. We all love scrapbooking, and if I must say so myself, although we each have our own distinctive styles, we are all quite good at it. We all love music, especially brass. Each of us like sports of some sort. We each love to laugh, and each have a good sense of humour. Each of us also have a very deep faith in God which we rely on to guide us through life. That faith is at the very core of who we are. Along with our faith comes a very deep sense of family. We are not a "sit in your lap" type of family, but boy, when the chips are down, we are there for each other. I have a saying "do what you want to me, I can handle it.................BUT...............DON'T your dare touch my family!" It is also very evident when we are passionate about something. We will not give an inch, and we make sure people know where we stand. We are each competative in our own way, and none of us like to be "wrong". On the other hand, in many ways, each of us is somewhat shy, especially in situations that are new to us. Each of us is uncomfortable in new situations and take our time to assess and determine how we will fit it. This would surprise people who see us together and/or with the rest of our family, as we can be quite "boisterous" to say the least.

I have come to realize over the past year that my sisters and I are like The Three Sisters mountain in Canmore. We are totally unique and distinct in our own right, just like the three peaks. We are however inseparable, just like those three peaks. We are tied together and will always be tied together not just by blood and a family line, but also by respect and by love. Although there is now a geographical distance, that love and respect will never change!


  • At 7:34 AM, Blogger Evie Sears said…

    Very nice tribute to your sisters. The three of you have very special relationships. You are not just family, you are truly friends. That combination is one that you are wise to cherish.

  • At 8:48 PM, Blogger Dave said…

    Wonderfully articulate. I am proud of each of my sisters. In some ways I can see elements of each of the three sisters in the women that Stephen and I have as our life partners.

  • At 2:15 PM, Blogger Barbara said…

    Wow, Joanne. What a wonderful thing to read. time you need to put in a tear disclaimer.

    I think you are selling yourself very short as you have had, and still have the respect of everyone around you. We are all proud of who you are and what you have accomplished. You are a great inspiration to me and I'm always in awe of who you are.

  • At 6:56 PM, Blogger Jenn said…

    blah blah blah.....jenn rocks!

  • At 6:56 PM, Blogger Jenn said…

    just kidding! very nice.

  • At 9:25 AM, Blogger Catharine said…

    And the tears are a-rollin' down... Not much else to say, except this one is a keeper - I copied it to read it in those "down" times to remind myself of the blessings I have in my family!

  • At 5:54 PM, Blogger Stephen said…

    An amazing thing to write!!! Far too often we left things unsaid unitl it's too late.
    I have always said that my brothers and sisters are my best friends. Thanks Joanne for reminding me why my sisters are so great!!


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