Once upon a time, when I was at that somewhat touchy preteen age of 12, my family downsized from a six-bedroom house to one with three bedrooms. The move was much-desired by my mother and particularly by my father, a gardening hobbyist, since the “new” heritage home had stunning gardens, a large greenhouse and an enormous weeping birch tree in the front yard. There was a cold room in the basement, and on the top shelf were tarnished trophies the house and gardens had earned in years gone by.

I do remember being entranced by some other things about the house: its proximity to the city library and our church, the stone wall surrounding the yard, and the fact that I could watch for my father as he walked home from the office… tall and dark, looking handsome in his hat, and with pipe and briefcase in hand.

I was less excited about the fact that the four girls in the family would no longer have separate bedrooms. I’m not certain how the decision was made, but I (daughter #2) ended up rooming with daughter#4, my sister Chantelle. I soon discovered that the joys of sharing my space with my wonderful little sister far outweighed any inconvenience, and she has been one of my favourite people ever since that time.

Cha Cha, as she has been known since she tried as a toddler to pronounce her own name (despite the fact that she is a grown-up lawyer and mother, we still call her Cha) is unfailingly good natured and pragmatic, smart as a whip, and game for anything.

When we were camping in northern New Brunswick last month and visited Eel River Beach, she proved that she’ll still try her hand at just about anything:

Cah football at Eel River July 2008

And now…be still my heart…she is adding to her perfection by taking up knitting. I couldn’t be more excited if she were a Nobel Prize winner! Having mastered the art of the garter stitch scarf and dishcloth, she is about to make a shawl like this one I made for a United Way auction:

Watercolour shawl 2 2005

Okay, it is really just half of a giant dishcloth, but still, I see enormous potential.

Happy birthday Cha. Love you forever!