Over the many years in this family, there has always been one underlying desire from all four of us, a family business. Oh, the ideas we have had... from a hot dog stand, selling cookies and beans (yes odd combo but the cookies sold out every time in minutes, beans not so much. lol)
Going to auctions like a wandering Tinkerbell in the land of lost things, we looked for treasures to resell. We tried a few things over the years and most likely would have ended up with a construction company fixing and flipping houses, but dad broke his hip and that kinda made that not a thing anymore as we girls were not quite old enough to pick up the slack for him just yet. There was even the idea to have a portable virtual racing hub as we all love to go fast without dying a tragic death.
The one thing we always did though, was work together.
We've worked in the janitorial business cleaning schools. In one school we even had a long running boggle game that we would play with one of the classes! It was so fun and we won almost every game. That might have had to do with all the books mom read to us and the dictionary we used to read for fun, plus mom knows all the words! She is so smart. One of my fondest memories of working together was walking the golf course at night for pop bottles and cans. We had such amazing walks and talks and we felt connected to each other in those times. We had laughs, cries and even got caught by the sprinklers once or twice.
In all of this there was one underlying factor, we wanted to be together. We like each other ( I know...shocking); we love to laugh together and we even love a little bit of argumentative progress.
We have always had an outstanding time when we would go on road trips . That feeling of being free from the normal day to day usually set mom and dad on a bit of a funky silly path when we would get up and they would say, “shall we take a drive today?” The answer was always YES. Home life was tough for all of us due to outside forces, so going away was like a piece of sanity was given back to us. We are a strong family unit and I know that over the years we have missed that closeness we had when we were all younger. I can see that without the bond we had, we all would have gone very different ways after we had grown enough to separate. And by separation I mean the natural growing of children to adulthood and leaving the nest. I left around the age of 19 and Sis soon followed by leaving for Japan for a stint.
That first separation lasted less than 2 years before we all moved to Kelowna. That was a move borne of traumatic circumstances, but fortunately, we landed in Paradise. We were torn from a life we had known and thrust into one we knew nothing about. Then, mom and dad left for foreign lands across the ocean. They may as well have been off planet for how far away it felt like they were. It was really hard being here alone...half of us were missing.
The half that was left behind was disconnected and a bit broken. For 7 years we were all just living. Mom and dad were exploring, and we were having babies along with making some not-so-good mistakes. Growing pains are real and come in many forms. (Adulting sometimes sucks.) Anyways, after 7 years the parents came back and we all began to come together again slowly. I had to separate from an abusive relationship and couldn’t do it without my parents' support. Sis was working and adjusting to being a single parent, herself.
All the while we still had the family business in mind, we just didn’t know yet how that was going to work with mom and dad being counsellors now. How would me and Sis fit in with that? Fast forward a few more years and I am now the Office Queen and take care of all our clients as well as counsellors, and I love it. Sis is with us after a year of me telling her how good it is to work with mom and dad AND our grandmother!
Working with family has many challenges and sacrifices, and it is full of little unexpected gifts like that laughter we get to share every day, the closeness of seeing each other daily. One of the sacrifices is family time, and that sounds odd because we work together, but we do miss out on family gatherings and don’t see each other for pleasure as often as we'd like. We also can’t go on holidays together just yet, however I wouldn’t change where we are now for anything. We all have an inner creed to help people, so this fits us all in different ways. Having a family business for us is about being close and supporting each other.
My parents have done a stellar job of providing an amazing space and atmosphere for others to grow personally and professionally. We have been through ups and downs and at the end of the day we are still together, now more than ever!
It is a beautiful thing I am very thankful for. The offer of the job they gave me was a lifeline and this has changed my life. Thank you, Dad for always thinking of us and building your dream so big that there was room for us to share in that dream. Thanks Mom for sharing that dream and being right there with him! We are blessed to be this close and I wouldn't have it any other way!
Here's to 20 years of working together in our family business!