Siblings Talk About Each Other

Since we have been dedicated to all things sibling for June, we thought we would round off our month by some candid conversation from a pair of siblings “talking” about each other. Shelley Rolland already provided solid advice on how to nurture friendships; we are so happy to share her thoughts at Plenty again along with those of her brother Gavin.  We asked Shelley and Gavin the same three questions, which they answered independently, and we present them to you in all their sibling splendour.

Shelley Rolland:

1. What do you love most about your sibling?

Oh my gosh, there really is so much that I love about Gav. But mostly, Gavin is an honest to goodness good human. Salt of the earth type. He is just so kind and good. And I don’t mean to say he’s a Pollyanna or goody-goody, not at all. What I mean is that he is the hardest worker I’ve ever known and he will ALWAYS do the right thing. He has a very strong moral compass. I really admire that about him.

2. What irritates you most about your sibling?

Oh, this one’s more fun! Gavin has his own internal clock. And it runs on a very different schedule than mine. My clock is more type-A and perfectionist… his is more “Oh, that was due today?” When we were young it drove me crazy that he wouldn’t know things like when picture day was at school or deadlines for applications. As we have aged, I’d say what irritates me most is that he doesn’t let me know when cards/packages have arrived for the kids! He’s heard me harp on this several times… (I suspect my *ahem* bossiness could be what irritates him most about me! )

3. No holds barred: What is the one thing that you wish you could do together?

I’m actually tearing up a little while I write this. See, Gavin lives in Nova Scotia with his beautiful family and I live in Ottawa. Unfortunately, due to scheduling, commitments and cash flow, we don’t get to see each other very regularly; maybe once a year if we’re lucky. I miss him. I wish I could get time with Gav for a whole weekend and we could take a road trip to see a concert. We have both always loved music and really like seeing live shows. I’d love the chance to do that with him.


1. What do you love most about your sibling?

My sister makes a difference. You cannot deny that, and anyone who tells you otherwise is living in an alternate universe. She won Women Volunteer of the Year not too long ago. It was a big deal, big gala, fancy food, and she got an award. She won volunteer of the award also. I hope for her sake it was fancy too. That is the beauty of my sister, she is constantly giving back to whichever community she belongs too. This characteristic was strongly instilled into the both of us from our parents. Best Buddies Canada, The United Way (in like 5 towns), the YMCA, Women Nuclear … seriously, she has been involved in so many organizations that I literally just had to google her name to remember them. What am I saying? She is STILL involved with these organizations.

Not only does she make a difference, but I know firsthand that she had to work harder than some of her male counterparts. My sister was the first female Residence Coordinator at St. Thomas University for what use to be the only male residence, Harrington Hall. Who does that? Sorry, who willingly does that? Imagine being the only female with authority in a predominately male residence. But she did it, and she stuck with it. Her servant heart gives her strength and she endures.

That is why I love my sister. My sister has taken a Bachelor of Human Rights (no lie) and has somehow turned that into a job with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Whatever that is? But it sounds important, and it sounds like it makes a difference. Sounds like Shelley.

My sister always gives out cards at birthdays, Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day. She remembers that stuff, where many, including myself, don’t.

2. What irritates you most about your sibling?

This is going to be one of the hardest things I have written in a while. As I write I am nervously laughing to myself. I think everyone expects me to go on some huge rant, about how I was the overshadowed little brother of a bossy little red head. Oops! Sorry, Shelley I meant a young lady with leadership skills.

So what irritates me about my sister… Shelley Rolland is a type A personality. No sorry, she is a type A+ personality. For me, with a type B minus personality, it can get annoying. Regularly I would be cut off, or interrupted growing up. I still remember having an argument not too long ago with my sister where she was telling me I was wrong as I was desperately trying to tell her that I in fact agreed with her on what she was debating. The argument was about how I agreed with her, but she was still telling me her point of view.

Me: “Shelley, I agree with you…”

My sister: “But Gav, I don’t think you understand that …”

Me: “No, I am with you on this …..”

My older sister: “You don’t understand. The way it really works it…”

Me: “I agree with you”.

My older sister: “You’re not listening to me! I am telling you the right way!!!!”

Me: “Please continue then”.

She is going to deny it, but I swear to you it happened.

My sister is smarter than me. It was apparent to me at a young age. I may have three university degrees, but she is smarter than me. I find most women in my life are, to be honest. Psychoanalyze that as much as you want.

Example #1 – I was about 14 before I realized that my sister would always have to go to the washroom when my mom needed help lugging in the groceries.

Example #2 – My sister once convinced me that it was a fair deal if I shoveled the entire driveway of snow, while she stayed in and made hot chocolate.

Example #3 – She once hit herself, and blamed me. I got sent to my room. She only recently admitted this event to my father.

Example #4 – While playing Nintendo, she would convince Luigi (me) to die so that Mario (she) could get through the levels quicker and therefore we would both be playing.

Example #5 – We would spend our summers in NB which was about a 14 hour car ride from our part of Ontario. We would pack our Dad’s Buick full and in between us would be boxes and/or suitcases. My sister, using her greater knowledge, would wait till I was asleep and push the boxes towards my side once I did. Or as she was petting the cat or dog in the back, she would put the excess hair onto my side. I know this because I caught her once!

I feel like my sister and I currently live in two separate worlds: she in Ottawa and me in rural Nova

Scotia. She and her husband have two incomes, no children, and smaller student loans. My reality is one income, three children and one on the way, with large student loans. Now, the student loans and children were my choice, let’s just get that out of the way. But what sometimes irritates me about my sister is that I feel as if sometimes she forgets that our lifestyles and access to disposable income is different. As much as I would love to, I can’t just get on a plane and fly to Ottawa.

3. No holds barred: What is the one thing that you wish you could do together?

Obviously I wish I could see my family more, and this includes my sister. But, for something that I wish we could do together is to see a concert. We are both fans of music, and I see her Facebook feed regarding all these concerts she goes to. I often think to myself that I would like to accompany her every now and again to a show.

Shelley 2

8 thoughts

  1. Shelley and Gavin, this was a true testament to love enduring all. Candidness does not always come easy for some, but you both articulated your reflections with such honesty and love. Did anyone else catch the wit within this interview….innate comes to mind. Janet and Charlie, your kids sure have served you proud 🙂

  2. Thank you for everyone’s kind comments. This little experiment is something I think all siblings should do! It really made me feel the love for Gav and appreciate how well we know each other.

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