Note from Steph: It’s become an almost always tradition over the years that I don’t work on my Birthday, and sometimes, someone else writes this blog while I take the day off. Ken’s done itMy Mum did it.  My daughters did it. (I like that one a lot.) Then we hit a long dry patch, and then whammo, out of the blue my sister Erin offered to take a turn. Here’s her post. 

Dear Stephie,

Happy 44th Birthday! Sadly, we are celebrating your birthday by going to a Bike Rally meeting, but I’m sure it’s still going to be really special.

A few weeks ago you wrote a really beautiful birthday blog for Amanda. You talked a lot about all the firsts she’s had, and honestly, it made me cry. As your little sister, almost all of my firsts were counseled, guided or sometimes just patiently explained to me by you. (Remember when I thought men had three testicles?) You’re my big sister, so you have done almost everything at least once before I have. 

I can think of a lot of the big ones. Like when my first boyfriend was a psycho freak who treated me like crap, you explained how many more boyfriends I would have, and how they would just keep getting better. You were right. I’ve had TONS of boyfriends, and they do keep getting better. Or when I started my business. You had already run a few small businesses. I was tired and broke all the time, and you said it would just take time and hard work. You were right, 14 years later I still have my business, and it was just time and hard work. Or, here’s the biggie, when I was pregnant with Hank. You had already had 3 children, and you knew everything.  From breastfeeding, to diaper rash, to chicken pox, you had done it all.  Just by birth order, you got to do everything first, and then explain it to me. You make the mistakes, and then save me from them.  Mostly, it’s been a gift,  but sometimes though,  I wish I could teach you something, help clear your path, or just give a little sisterly advice on something, but it’s hard, because you do everything first.
Until now. Until the Bike Rally.

I have done the Bike Rally!! I have ridden my bike to Montreal! Once! Before you did! And now, you’re riding your bike to Montreal, and you’re scared out of your mind! This is great for me!

So here goes my try at giving you some advice on something you are so completely and utterly frightened of. (Rightfully so, by the way)

Here’s the thing. Montreal is really far, and the Bike Rally is really hard. You and I don’t even like long car trips, and now we’re riding our bikes there. It’s going to be hot. It might even rain on us. We’ll probably fall at least once, and I anticipate some tears on Day 2. That’s the longest day. That day alone you are going to ride 126 km -but this is what I know.

I know you are super strong and super stubborn. These are great things when embarking on a 660 km journey. I know you have been training. Squeezing in big and little rides whenever you can, before work, after work, riding stationary bikes in hotel gyms.  I know your dedication to PWA, you were fundraising for them long before you agreed to ride.  I know how proud of us you were last year, and I know how scared you are this year.

This year, I am proud of you.  I’m proud of your dedication to training and fundraising. Your ability to fall off your bike – like 100 times, you look like someone attacked you with a hammer –  and then get back up again. You can laugh at yourself in spandex. (That makes sense. We look ridiculous.) This year, I’m going to be riding beside you,  I’ll dust you off when you fall, I’ll encourage you, and I’ll freak out with you when we finally get there. I’m not doing all that with a smile on my face though, that’s asking too much.

I know you can do it.
How do I know?
Because I did it first.

Happy Birthday, please don’t fall off your bike.



PS from Steph:  Erin would never ask, but I will. If you’d like to spread a little birthday cheer, you can sponsor Erin for the rally by clicking her name.  (The rest of our brave little team is here: Me, Ken, Amanda, Samantha, Amanda’s friend Katie, and our family friend Pato.  We’re going to start giving out Karmic Balancing gifts on Monday, and anyone who donates to anyone on that list is eligible.  Today, I’m partial to me and Erin.)