Thursday, 2 July 2009
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