Thursday, 2 July 2009

Regarding Shelly

I was five years old when my sister Shelly was born. Shelly had three older brothers and eight older sisters; she was the 9th girl born and the 12th child in a family that would be comprised of 13 children.

Many of my earliest memories of Shelly are of her lying beside me in bed and telling me little stories of her days at school and then I would always tell her how brave and how rightly she behaved in every single situation.

I have so many memories of Shelly from my childhood. I remember Shelly as being a little more quiet than the rest of us and also a little more loved by all of us.

Shelly being the youngest girl has always been spoiled and well loved by all of her sisters. We are all crazy about Shelly. In many ways I think Shelly is the most serious of all of us girls while at the same time she has a real ability of being so funny.

Shelly and I had the most fun ever in our shared bed for three (Mickey also slept with us). I remember Shelly trying to teach me how to crochet night after night after night and if I remember correctly the wool was yellow and in the end I think Shelly made a scarf out of it. I have always read a lot and I remember Shelly would go to bed and I would go with her just so that I could read to her while she fell asleep. Sometimes I think she must have been like my little doll and I could never get enough of her.

When Wahid and I first started dating Shelly was only 12 or 13 and she met Wahid at the bus stop for me because I was sick. He offered her a cigarillo and she told me later in bed and we laughed our heads off. I mean who would offer a 12 year old a cigarillo?

I remember when we traveled across Canada and the States, I always wanted Shelly to be able to come in our car because she was such a cool kid (and truth be told when she wasn't around I felt like I was missing an arm). Shelly totally knew how to chill and go with the flow. But sometimes we would have to take the other kids because they wanted a turn in the crazy car with me and Suzie too, and when that would happen I remember always whispering ‘You can come with us at the next stop okay Shelly?’ And she would say ‘Okay.’ And sure enough at the next stop I would ask ‘Mom can Shelly come with us now?’ and Mom always said ‘Okay Shelly, go with Renee.’

Shelly was a beautiful child with dark brown hair down to her waist and blue eyes. Shelly would probably tie with Jacquie for the most freckles in the family. She was covered. Shelly is a gorgeous woman with incredible eyes.

Most of my memories with Shelly don’t necessarily stand out as hilarious memories but more always as heartwarming meaningful memories; memories that I hold dear to my heart. We have always had serious conversations about any and everything. Me telling Shelly what I believed in; and Shelly telling me right back that she believed in the exact same thing. We were truly a match made in bed-partner Heaven.

When Angelique and Nadalene were babies and I worked evenings Shelly would come over right after school to baby-sit them until Wahid came home. Shelly would take them to dance classes and acted like a little mother. They loved their Auntie Shelly and they still do. Shelly was my bridesmaid and is Nathan’s Godmother.

Josephine takes right after her grandma in how she feels about Auntie Shelly. Yesterday when she saw that Shelly was coming to the house she screamed 'Shelly' and flew to the door and into Shelly's arms. I myself have wanted to do that same thing too many times to count.

Shelly is quiet and smart and introspective. I think that she is sometimes misunderstood because she is probably the most different of all the sisters. I always get Shelly though, it is as if I know exactly where she is coming from.

Even though Shelly was the youngest girl; she was also the coolest in many ways.

I am Shelly’s favourite although for years she has tried to say that she loves all her sisters the same. Others have bought it, but I know it is total bullshit.

Describing Shelly I would say that she is very attractive and looks younger than she is. Shelly has beautiful blue eyes and is smart, compassionate, cool, loyal, and witty. I am happy that Shelly is my sister.

A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves – a special kind of double. ~~ Toni Morrison ~~

I love my sister and she means the world to me. Shelly thank you for the privilege.

Happy 48th Birthday Shelly. Love Renee, Wahid, Angelique, Nadalene, Nathan, and Josephine.

*artwork by Kelly Vivanco


Michelle said...

This is beautiful :)

Im glad you have a Shelly...I am a Chelle and I have a cool are we!


Caroline said...

What a lovely post for Shelly, Renee. Such wonderful memories you have - wish I had a sister too! What a large family you come from - quite different from me! I have only one brother who is 9 years older than me, so as we didn't really grow up together it was a bit like being an only child! Happy Birthday Shelly!
Caroline x

Björnik said...

Ey little fly, icha birthday! We're gonna party like icha birthday...:)

Hey Renee, how are you? I've been out of touch for the past weeks. Looks like I have a lot of reading to do now. I miss your stories and I miss you.:)

Both of you ladies are lucky to have each other as sisters! Have a wonderful day you two.:)


Jen said...

Yay! Another "regarding!" I love hearing the stories about your sisters because until I was 10 years old, I was an only child who desperately wanted sisters. Then I was given brothers.

Now I see them as pretty cool, but it took me awhile to get used to them ;) I try to collect pseudo-sisters, but it's very difficult to find the right bond with another girl.

It's pretty damn delightful to read about you and yours!

Ribbon said...

So beautiful Renee... how I wish for a love like Shelly.
I think there was a time when I was my sister's Shelly.

Shelly and I share the same year. I too was born in '61 and therefore according to Chinese astrology she is born with the attributes of an Ox :-)

best wishes always Rennee...
xoxo Ribbon

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Very nice post!

May I add my birthday blessings to Shelly?

Shelly, may all your birthdays bring you joy.
May you have many, many, more years to journey.
May each new day be more wonderful than the last:
discovering life's bounty;
filled with love, health, and happiness.
May your heart find its path;
through all that you do;
As God continues to bless you.

A Cuban In London said...

Happy birthday to your sister from me, too! Lovely memories. And a cigarette at 12? Did you ever tell Wahid off after that :-)?

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Baino said...

Oh you're so good at describing your sisters with such affection. I love mine but man she drives me crazy sometimes. Must have a go when it's her birthday and muster something sweet and heart wrenching. It's a bit crazy when we realise our 'little' sisters are approaching 50! Mine's 9 years my junior and will always be in her 20's to me! Happy birthday Shelly.

Mim said...

Happy Birthday to Shelly! As usual, a wonderfully written portrait of a loved sibling

Anonymous me said...

Aren't sisters wonderful? I've only the one but she is the real deal. Shelly sounds like the real deal too.

Hope you're doing OK today Renee. xxJ

secret agent woman said...

Wahta lovely tribute to your sister. A very hapy birthday to Shelly.

Vincent Juanes said...

Hi Renee, thank you for this post.

Good Days

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely tribute! Shelly sounds like the kind of sister/friend that we all would welcome - warm, gentle and loving.
Happy Birthday Shelly! I wish you a wonderful fun day full of laughter and love!

Bee Serendipitous said...

Good Morning Renee, Beautiful painting symbolizing Shelly...and lovely words of kindness, caring, admiration, respect, and love for your sister - but your words you can tell that you simply adore her - she too is bless to have a sister like you...wish her a Happy Birthday from me and many more...have a honey of a day - may sweet things come your way! grace, peace, joy & love 2 "U" Marlene

yoborobo said...

I think you must have been the coolest older sister EVER. I would have died and gone to heaven to have my big sister want me to ride in the same car as her. My big sister and I were usually plotting each other's demise on family trips. haha! Luckily we get along just fine now. Shelly sounds like a treasure - a very happy birthday to her!! xox Pam

Vania said...

Hi Renee, thank you for taking me into your memories of your lovely sister - happy birthday Shelly - is sounds like you had so much love growing up with your sister and your recollectins are heartwarming - I too have a sister that I love very much and I am grateful for my family every day of my life.

Wishing you all the very best, as always, heaps of hugz Val xox

Ces said...

Oh thank you for this. I always appreciate Shelly's visits. Your description of her is absolutely beautiful. I think I love Shelly, of course, in a non-Brokeback Mountain sort of way (You have Deborah to thank for that term - HAHAH!.

..."Shelly as being a little more quiet than the rest of us and also a little more loved by all of us."

THAT says it all for me. Every big family has someone like that and that person is usually a true God-given gift!

Coastal Sisters said...

What a precious and beautiful posting about your sister. I feel the same way about my sister too.


Great-Granny Grandma said...

I think you should write a book about your family with all these beautiful posts in it (and the wonderful pictures you choose to illustrate them). Again, you sound like an incredibly awesome, loving, one of a kind clan. What a blessing.

Marion said...

What a loving, compassionate, fun tribute to your sweet sister. I almost cried. I want her to be MY sister!!! LOL! You have such a special way of describing people, Renee. It's like they are right there on the page.

Happy Birthday to your wonderful sister. She's lucky to have you!!! Blessings!!!

Artistic Accents by Darla said...

These stories you share on your sister's birthdays are priceless Renee! They are such a gift! I'm sure they absolutely adore them as well as you!


Shelly said...


Thank you so much, I just couldn’t wait for my birthday, you know I have been looking forward to this gift from you - one of the nicest gifts I have ever received I might add.

How lucky have I been to have you as my go-to girl, my advisor, my role model, my sister, my friend?

I actually do remember you telling me “how brave and how rightly I behaved” I was such a little sponge (your trial sponge, with Angelique, Nadalene and Natalie to follow) - you installed in me a compassion for the underdog and hey, no wonder I am so anal about everything – I am still trying to please you and crave your validation – honestly sometimes walking to my car is like a stroll on the clouds after a visit with you.

I have been spoiled, well loved, and misunderstood by my sisters, but then I think “hello ladies, you all, including Mom are the ones who created this mess, go to Renee and she will figure it out for you” I know you have redeemed me on more than one occasion thank you for that and for always getting me and for knowing exactly where I am coming from…I would be lost (and shunned from my sisters) without you.

When Wahid offered me that cigarillo he made me feel so grown up (who wouldn’t want to be offered a smoke at 12?) that I fell in love with him immediately.

I have always felt loved my sisters, but especially by you ...We are truly a match made in bed-partner Heaven… xoxoxo

P.S. I was over the moon when Josephine came screaming and running into my arms – it was so funny because the look on everyone’s faces was pure joy, but yours also showed a certain smugness, confident that I believe in the exact same thing as you – “she is pure magic” – you are right, she is and I do.

Daria said...

Happy Birthday Shelly!

So nice that you understand your sister so well ... what more could a sister ask for.

I see and feel so much love in your family ...

Marie Antionette said...

Renee,What a wonderful tribute to your sister Shelly.I know you love all your siblings,but there is always one you are the close to the most.Its an intune thing.What a beautiful picture .Your art always amazes me.You have agreat Fourt and please be safe...
XXOO Marie Antionette

Ces said...

And another thing, your Mother! Oh your Mother, what an incredible woman she must have been with all those children and all interesting and intelligent. But you describe your sisters and daughters and son and Josephine with so much love and respect. You are an absolute gem - polished too!

Deborah said...

Happy Birthday Shelly! What a big crazy wonderful family. Renee, you have at least a dozen books in you to write. Wahid!?! Seriously, a cigarillo!?! Oh how I love your family. Don't forget: cantina party Saturday @ 7PM. Please dress appropriately. **kisskiss** Deborah

angelique said...

Auntie Shelly is absolutely wonderful and I am so glad we were able to spend so much time with her when we were younger. I remember her cleaning our her makeup bag and giving us the leftovers. I always admired Auntie Shelly and thought she was so pretty and so much fun. Most of all, I have always wished that I could laugh like her...she has one of the best laughs in the world. I remember always wanting to hear her laugh when you guys would sit around and drink tea.
Happy Birthday and cheers to Auntie Shelly. Hope it's a great day!

Tessa said...

Oh, look! Now I'm all teary. Another wonderful tribute to another wonderful sister. And then back again....from Shelly to you. Just pure heaven. Happy, happy days, Shelly....and Renee. xxoo

Meghann LittleStudio said...

Happy Birthday Shelly!

Karin Bartimole said...

Happy Birthday beautiful Shelly!! I feel like I know you through Renee's many stories, as a fabulous woman and sister. Blessings to you both - and I hope you enjoy some good cake, ice cream and each other's company!!
xoxox Karin

K said...

happy, happy to Shelly! I LOVE reading your blogs about your sisters and how you paint the images so vividly for all of us that read it. I also LOVE how you depict your relationships with them and give us all a little piece of who they are so we feel as if we met them! Blessings on you!

Elizabeth said...

What a wonderful tribute to your sister Shelly -- and a happy birthday to her! I think you should put these family portraits into a book of some sort -- they're so quirky and funny and beautiful, Renee.

Deborah said...

Renee. You have set the mood for the Cantina Party. Now KJ wants to know if one slit will do. Oh what to do with you! You will have to wear one of the giant mexican straw hats.

soulbrush said...

yet another birthday and i envy you such a large and closely-knit family. happy birthday S.

Deborah said...

HAahahahhahhahha! You have left me speachless. How am I supposed to get back to work now!?!? I fear you may be too much for KJ and I to handle...I'm calling in Ces.

Jeannine said...

Happy Birthday Shelly!! When I first met you I thought you were the cutest little girl ever. Your smile and your laugh, like Angelique says, make people love you right away. I also think you are so intelligent and wise as I read what you write on Renee's blog everyday. I so look forward to reading what you say. You always seem to be so in tune with what Renee is saying. Renee, you did an excellent job in letting Shelly know when she was little what a great person she is.
Love You Always XOXOXO

Linda Sue said...

Love your family! That's a houseful!
Your poor mom...I can not even imagine, one child was more than I could handle...I love that you had slumber parties nearly every night even if it was with only one other kid, and Mickey..
I had one stinky brother, we were oil and water. He was an only child- that was the understanding..could you use another sister, PLEASE?

Javajune said...

What a beautiful tribute to your sis. Happy birthday Shelly. I can't imagine growing up in a such a big family- more to love and love you back, I guess. Tell Shelly to live it up I'm right behind her in age.
Have a wonderful fourth of July if I don't talk to you before then.

Camille said...

Happy birthday Shelly! What a wonderful tribute to our littlist sister. I talked to Shelly on the phone the other day & she was quite excited about her birthday coming and what Renee would write about her. I also was waiting too. Brings back so many memories. Mrs Beasley, Going to the hospital every day after school to be with you (Shelly) when you had your leg in traction, after being hit by a car. What a wonderful relationship you two have. I look forward to your views as Jeannine does. You are a very beautiful women and I love you to pieces. Have a GREAT DAY!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Auntie Shelly

You are an amazing person and have a special skill when it comes to connecting with kids (josephine), teenagers and your nieces and making them feel important and always remembering to tell them exactly what they want to hear - that is certainly a ste. marie trait.

I wish you all the best today and always!


Manon Doyle said...

Happy Birthday to Shelly! I just love big family stories! You have so many to tell and I adore them all!

Ces said...

How rude of me1 I forgot to greet Shelly a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


Renee, of course I have your back covered and your front and sides. I know where and with whom I stand.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Shelly!!

What a lovely post to dedicate to your sister. You are both blessed with one another to share all things!

rochambeau said...

Happy Birthday To Shelly with the beautiful blue eyes, the most freckles and the pretty soul. One that matches her sisters Renee's so well.

I think I know who Shelly likes the best, I'm just saying.!

Cigerillo anyone?


rochambeau said...

I think I forgot to mention something important!!
Love you

Allegra Smith said...

Happy birthday Shelly! to the love that bonds and grows as we do, a little wiser, a little more appreciative of what the Universe gives us in exchange for those things we don't ask for and above all for the chance to say happy birthday Renee's sister, many happy returns of the day with good health and good cheer.

Sarah said...

Happy Birthday Shelly!!! What a wonderful tribute to her!!! Lucky girl to have you as a big sis!!
Hugs and love, Sarah

flossy-p said...

Happy Birthday to Shelli.

Gosh you have a lot of birthdays to keep up with! A job very well managed by you though!!!

Renee, thank-you SO much for the sweet card and flower seeds!!! They arrived yesterday, a complete surprise. Can't wait to plant them. Thank-you!

Sue said...

Renee, I love when you reminesce and write about your very full and 'riotous' family life! What memories you have!

Happy Birthday to your sis
Shelly!...and a wonderful day to you too!


Michelle said...

I love you too


Anonymous said...

hi Lover, what a nice and true tribute to our baby sissy. HAPPY Birthday Shelly hope you have a great day, I love you , Suzie xoxo

Linda said...

Happy Birthday Shelly. I hope it's a fun birthday.

By the way, Shelly is very lucky to have a cool sister like you Renee.

Mickey said...

Happy Happy Birthday Shelly,

Yes Shelly certainly was the cutest little girl and the funniest. I always seemed to look up to Shelly even though I am 10 years older than her It is funny how that works because I still seem to turn to Shelly and Renee for advise. I was blessed to be the 3rd bed partner and all I can think of to say is how sweet sweet sweet Shelly was as a child and how we all loved this little girl.

Shelly I hope you have a beautiful birthday today you really deserve nothing but the best. You are a great sister and a wonderful friend and I am very proud and humbled to have you as my sister.

Just think that in 9 sleeps you are going to be Mother of the Bride. Life is good......

I Love You Shelly Love Mickey

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Renee,

What a beautiful post about Shelly.
I love reading about the wonderful memories of you all growing up.
What a neat family you have.

Happy Birthday Shelly!


natalie said...

what a beautiful tribute. not only is she an amazing sister, but she's the best mom. i love her to bits and am so lucky she's mine. happy birthday mom!

Jeanne said...

You have such clarity about your feelings for your loved ones -- no shadows, no clouds, just pure affection and admiration.

Was it always that way for you?

kj said...

"she screamed 'Shelly' and flew to the door and into Shelly's arms. I myself have wanted to do that same thing too many times to count."

renee, who wouldn't burst with pride after a tribute from you. i LOVED learning more about shelly. i always love her comments and now i know she is abit introspective and thoughtful and most loved. would you ask shelly if she will have tea with me (us) some time. i think i would love to talk to her for hours.

you are an INCREDIBLE writer. you write about the people you love so fully it feels like a sacrament to read what you say.

happy happy birthday shelly. you are a lucky duck to have renee at your side.


lakeviewer said...

I'm 18 hrs late to this post, and even later to the last post. I beg your understanding as visitors and family take up much of my time. Happy Birthday to Canada, and Happy Birthday to Shelly. You are a lucky one with so many people loving you!

Yoli said...

What beautiful sister and memories. Happy Birthday sweet Shelly!

shelly said...

Thank you all for the birthday wishes, it was so nice of each and everyone of you to take the time to leave a comment ... thank you Renee, you made my day!


Anonymous said...

So much, Happy birthday Shelly. Have a great day!
Renee, I totally loved reading about your life with Shelly, what a beautiful read. I could be right there with you and Shelly.
Sounds like you two are soul mates.
You are so much my friend Renee, wonderful to read your message this morning.

Hoping you have a great day!

Going to get ready for school!

Luv and hugs!

joanne May said...

A lovely painting Renee. Beautiful. You obviously love your sister very much to create such a stunning image of her.:)
Thank you for stopping by and leaving a nice comment about my work!


Anonymous said...

I love your Regarding posts! So warm and heartfelt, and fun, too. I'm jealous - I think I said that before - I wish I had a sister! :-)

jacquie said...

all so true renee ...
one story about shelly keeps comming back to me over and over....
it is how much shelly is loved by all of her siblings....
'call an ambulance .... shelly is lying on the ground on elizabeth road... she was hit by a car while her and aline were walking across the street.
she was only about 6 yrs old at the time ...i felt devastated.
i remember how we were all frantic and crying. i know that we were all terrified because we had no idea if she would live or die. i was only about 13 and thought it was a real possibility.
it seemed like it took the ambulance at least an hour to get there (note to anders was only ninutes).
she had to stay in the hospital because she broke her leg.
i can only remember thinking that i could beat the shit out of the person who drove that car.
i could cry thinking about it now, so that is how much shelly was loved by all of us.
hope your birthday was everyting you wanted and more.
love you shelly

jacquie said...


i had not read your comments yet and i was late to post my birthday wish to shelly as my internet was down all day yesterday.... so that being said
i only read camille's comments this morning and realized she had the same story.... (mrs beasley .... wow even she can envoke feeling in me )
i guess i should have went with the story of how our heart broke for shelly when she had sun blisters and we had to bath her in oatmeal .... since mom was in the hospital at the time ... and i thought poor shelly to go thru this and mom isn't here ... and how mom is always always there for everyone of us..
also wanted to add that shelly like renee's husband wahid can somehow get away with anything and no one seems to mind ... anyway love you and am anxiously waiting for my tribute as i am next ... love jacquie

Renee said...

Jacquie so true about Shelly getting away with things, but then don't forget she stated it here, we created this monster.

Love Renee xoxoxo

Holly said...

o - i want a sister,,,always have...and wanted so to give my own daughter a sister (something i had always wanted for myself) but alas - she got a little brother instead... thank you for sharing Shelly with the rest of us....even though she will always love you BEST!

kj said...

and then some...

the verf word is 'whirda'. nice. like, whirda you think of that? or whirda you headed? or whirda today but maybe not yesterday.


Julie said...

I love this post...I love all the sweet sentiment and childhood stories about your Shelly and in the same breath I love you humor and no bullshit wit Renee! You both are so fortunate to have each other, Happy Birthday Shelly ; )

Angela Recada said...

So beautiful! Your description of your memories took my breath away.

A belated Happy Birthday to Shelly.


YayaOrchid said...

What a beautiful tribute Renee! I can absolutely see the love you have for your family. It's an awesome sight. I wish I could write as you do in describing your childhood memories. It takes my breath away, the way you express your love!

shelly said...

Sun blisters? Traction?
Who was taking care of poor me???

Clarity said...

Oh that is so beautiful. I almost want to meet her now!

She sounds lovely and adorable, are you kids and her kids really close too?

Dawn said...

Wow the love just flows in this piece, totally beautiful.... what a fab big sis you are xxx

mermaid said...

Renee, you speak so fondly of her. It was meant to be this way, your special bond, your connection. May you both be graced with love.

BT said...

What a wonderful post, I hope Shelly gets to read it. You were lucky to have each other and still to have each other to love. I always wanted a younger brother or sister but I am the youngest of three. So I was the baby. A super post, Renee and I hope Shelly had a great birthday.

~* The Beldame on Peach Street *~ said...

I wanted to stop by and tell you that I totally stole your 'Regarding.....' thing you've got going on your blog. It's called, what else but, Regarding Jamie. I had to rush right over and tell on myself!

Your buddy,

Woman in a Window said...

"I am Shelly’s favourite although for years she has tried to say that she loves all her sisters the same. Others have bought it, but I know it is total bullshit." Farg, you crack me up.

I love how you have such a special place for all your siblings. Or at least it seems all...I haven't counted it up. I'll leave it at that.

Shelly reminds me...just a little...

taylor said...

Happy Birthday Auntie Shelly!

I love how close we've become over the years and I'm so happy I'm great friends with your/my Matt.

You have a heart of Gold and always a listening ear. Thank you for being such an amazing part of my life.

Lots of Love from Maui,


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday to the MOB, this weekend. Shelly, absolutely sorry that it has taken me so long to respond, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" BS, "Absence make the heart forget"!

Okay, no more beating myself up. Really there are few words that can wrap up what relationship I have with my baby sister Shelly, she is so kind and loving that how do you go back in such a short history (she is only 48! for heaven sake).

Shelly was a great babysitter and Aunt for our kids, I remember that she wanted to put Ricky and Angelique in a school fashion show, the two of them were so cute, I remember Ricky holding a soccer ball and Angelique's hand and the two of them strolling the run-way, Ricky was so shy that he really did not want to do it, but he would as long as Ang was with him. That is where I go from here with Shelly, I remember as a child that (and who does not want to be accepted?) that is the first bonding and the most important bonding in the world, that comes from sisterly love. As kids we did depend on each other and in our adult life, I still depend on Shelly and the other girls. We have a precious relationship and I will admit it,

"I have been spoiled, well loved, and misunderstood by my sisters, but then I think “hello ladies, you all, including Mom are the ones who created this mess"

Proudly, I am one of the MESS you Shelly (your favorite Late sister) Cannot wait for the wedding you will be BEAUTIFUL with the GLOW of the MOTHER OF THE BRIDE!

Love Colette