Like me, this superwoman raised five spectacular children, and they are devoted to her. But unlike me, she was busy doing so many other things concurrently that it's nothing short of a miracle that she was able to do it all--and do it so well.
My husband's older sister is the oldest of the eight siblings in his family. A retired Army colonel (who spent many years in the Reserves when her children were young, switching to active duty later on), she is now a company bigwig in the intelligence community. In her position as such, she has found contracting jobs for just about everyone I know under the age of 30--her own kids, their friends, and two of my sons (one of whom calls her "boss"), to name a few.
This woman works hard at a time-consuming, demanding job, yet still finds time to pore over episodes of HGTV and learn everything there is to know about DIY home renovations. With her husband and kids, she has made massive improvements to both her main home in Northern VA and her second home, right next to the family homestead, on the lake in Upstate NY. I have trouble keeping up with one house; she keeps up with two of them--not to mention several rental properties and some land near her NY house, on which she and her husband plan to build a brewery.
Oh yeah, did I mention that? Her high-stress job isn't enough of a challenge for her, so she and her husband have been taking brewing classes and are planning to tap into the local microbrewery business...you know, in their spare time. I'm sure once it's up and running, she'll hire every family member or friend who's looking for work.
My sister-in-law has been instrumental in launching the careers (and even marriages) of some of her siblings. Numerous family members have lived under her roof when they needed her help. Currently, my fourth oldest son's girlfriend is living in her basement in-law apartment while he's on deployment in Afghanistan. When the enormous Pearl clan gathers at the family compound by the lake, she is always willing to open her doors for the overflow. With her, it's all about family. She is so generous--some might say almost generous to a fault (if that's even possible, really). When the Pearl sibs set out to start an LLC for the purpose of keeping their childhood home in the family, she was all in--even though she owns a home of her own right next door.
Are you feeling slightly intimidated by this dynamo yet? I know I often am. Because on top of all I've just told you (and I know I'm leaving stuff out), she's intelligent, good-looking, charming, out-going, faith-filled, and funny.
|That's her, the second from the left, with her three sisters (who are all|
amazing in their own unique ways).
Sometimes I feel so small when I compare myself to people like my amazing sister-in-law. I feel like I don't have talents that are helpful or useful in the world. I fear I may actually be a more contemplative, artsy-fartsy person than I like to think I am. I love to draw and paint. I love crafting and sewing. I love to write--I wrote a Catholic YA novel and I sit down to write this blog almost every day. Those seem like little things in comparison to running companies and starting new businesses and being a "life of the party"-type person whom everyone loves to be around. But I need to stop wishing I were more like this person or that person, as wonderful as they might be. I can't be a good anyone else; I have to try to be the best me I can be. My husband, the wise sage, tells me this whenever I allow my self-esteem to take a nose dive.
Yesterday, I quoted dear St. Therese of Lisieux, who reminds us that "The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness." Yes, that's it! Words to live by, for sure. God made me a little wild-growing daisy for a reason, one I won't find out until the next life (maybe--hopefully!); and until then, I need to learn to live side-by-side with the hothouse roses and have confidence that there is a place for me among them. It's a big garden, after all. And God loves all of His flowers equally.
(But I think it's okay if I still can't help but admire those gorgeous roses!)