Sibling rivalry is supposed to be harmful. I have siblings and I suppose we have to have some of this rivalry. At least we have the awareness of which one of us is good at which task. We also have each chosen a different path in our respective lives. We aren’t clones, we aren’t even close.

We came from the same family but family dynamics change over time. While our gene pool is the same, we had different parents. Pam had the mother who went to school with her, Cheri had the mother who taught at the school in the same grade where she was student. This is neither good nor bad, but as adults our lives change, too, and the children don’t get the exact same parent. Mom was older and more tired by the time the baby was born. Simple facts.

Dad’s drinking was different over the years as well. So we each had a different father because of this. I was also the tomboy of the crew. I don’t believe either of my sisters ever went on a fishing trip with Dad. I did. I could bait my hook with the worms, take the fish off the hook, and scale a fish. I was never allowed to touch the fillet knife that I can remember.

The gnomes at Red Lobster - purchased by super organized Pam but enjoyed by all the sisters

Pam is highly organized. She is often also over scheduled which makes the organizational skills necessary was well as useful. I’m not sure which came first here. Perhaps she is able to fulfill all the obligations she takes on because she is so organized or perhaps she learned to be super organized because she enjoys taking on many tasks. Either way, she is good at what she does.

Cheri is much more emotional (at least much more than me). This has worked well for her all her life. She cares about her students and anguishes over each of them, hoping to make experiences as rich as possible. She spends her time honing her skills to be able to serve her little charges to the best of her ability. She has never taken the attitude of “it’s just a job, a way to pay for my real life on the outside” (my own mantra in times of high stress at work). Cheri actually cares.

I’m a word person. Even as a nurse, I was a word person. I use my words (more often for good, but sometimes with laser sharpness) to either communicate or educate (sometimes subjugate). I’ve always been comfortable with words. After our Ireland trip (and kissing the Blarney Stone) I wrote the story of our trip. I encouraged (okay, nagged) mother and sisters to write down their memories of the journey as well. They were, they said, going to get to it. No one else did.

I’ve realized more and more as time passes that this is just the way I work. Even earlier, I was apparently the first student who wrote a procedure manual for a college project. Even the instructors had never thought to ask for it. But it was “just an afternoon” of writing for me creating about 25 pages (with pictures) that the project recipient was going to need to make the system work. To me it was a no brainer, you need a manual with any software. This was my help key.

Some people like me and my son are natural writers. Craig wrote and illustrated his first book at age six. I know this because it was titled: The War Story by Craig Hysell, I am six. He, however, has never kissed the Blarney Stone.

I have tried to encourage others to write for publication even if it is only for a blog. To me it seems natural and remains easy. I find topics everywhere I look. I can write about dog hair, planes flying by, coffee cups, whatever. If I have access to a noun or perhaps even a verb, I have a topic. I can make the words appear without effort. Not always publishable (this is my third attempt to write this essay) but always easy and amusing at least for me. I’m always amazed when I find this is not true for others.

So, while I’m sometimes jealous of my sisters and their abilities to do things which seem foreign or difficult for me, I know deep in my heart I have skills that are not as readily available to them. So I guess it is just a case of viva la difference. And it actually gives us, as sisters, a wider base to work from. I always know who to call when I have a problem. My sisters can solve for me issues I can’t solve for myself. And I always know I can trust them implicitly. All in all, this difference is what makes life so fun.