I feel joy when people realize their dreams, and this week my brother Sean realized one of his.
Sean was born 3 months after I turned 10. There were 5 other kids between us so of course I spent a great deal of time taking care of him. I looked older than my years, so people would stop me on the street while I was pushing Sean in his stroller and ask if he was MY baby! Depending on my mood, sometimes I would say yes and others I would simply say that no, he's my sweet baby brother. From an early age I had an infatuation with cars and passed it on to Sean. His first word was "car", and yes, he could say the "hard C". By the age of 3, Sean could recognize and name almost every single car we passed on the street. He would yell out the names as our family of 9 drove in our station wagon. He was one of the cutest little guys you've ever seen and garnered much attention.
When I moved away from home, Sean would come and spend almost every weekend with me in my apartment. In 1976 I bought my first car, a 1973 Plymouth Duster 340, and began drag racing, one of 2 women racers in Alberta. Sean hung out with me at the track and when I labelled my car "Sentimental Lady", I had a light blue T-shirt made up for him with the words in silver sparkly print "Sentimental Lady's Pit Crew", which he proudly wore. A few weeks ago he reminded me that he was the same age then as our Grandson Thomas is now. It was at that moment that I realized what a great kid he was and what a profound love and sense of pride he had for me. Despite all the razzing he took at the track, and there was lots, he kept smiling and never once asked to change his shirt. He became a much-loved kid mascot at Calgary International Raceway.
As the years passed, they moved away and I saw less of my beloved Sean, although we always remained close. The family had moved from High River to Hanna, and one day I drove my Duster to Hanna to visit them. I took all the kids for a ride in Dad's station wagon to get ice-cream. Sean sat in the middle in the front seat, right next to his idol, me. We had driven quite a distance when I realized I had my hand on Sean's knobby knee, a habit since my Duster had a console shifter. Dad's car had a column shifter and I had been unthinkingly shifting Sean's knee. He never said a word. He knew what the reflex was ...
Sean's infatuation with vehicles never wavered. Although he had to make do with various vehicles through the years that suited his lifestyle, budget and family, we always talked about our dream wheels. Last week Sean called and said that it was always a dream of his to own a BMW motorbike and that he had his eye on one in Calgary. He asked me what I thought. I told him in no uncertain terms to get that f-ing bike! He said, "Linda, you know I've always liked BMW bikes since you had those BMW posters hanging in your garage, the ones you gave me when you moved. I used to look at those posters and dream of owning that silver BMW motorcycle."
Yesterday, Sean picked up his silver BMW. He emailed me to say that he believes the poster he drooled over was captioned "For one shining moment don't compromise".
So here's to you, my brother Sean. We started barreling down a straight line in a hurry to get to the end. Life threw us some hairpin turns along the way and we either shifted down to navigate them with courage and confidence or we over-steered and stepped out a bit until we got back on track. One thing for certain - we always have been and always will be each other's pit crew. You are one of the best men I know and I'm proud to be your sister.
I love you.