The world is a much better place because Kara is in it and our family is fortunate that she is our relative even if, as Einstein predicated, everything is relative. (Could that mean everything is Einstein? I'm asking because it would explain the bramble that is often my hair when I awake.)
Kara and I shared a small overlapping childhood as I was transitioning away as she was becoming her own person. And in a sense, I suspect, she sees herself more often as Jill and Adam's older sister than as the younger sibling of our brother, Kelly, and sister, Evan, with whom I spent far more years, only because their luck wasn't as good as Kara's.
Kara and her husband, Russ, have their own family that is growing up, though I hope not growing apart, with RJ, Randy and Jordan all young men on a mission, in different direction at maximum velocity. When next they look, their boys will be grown and gone. I've discovered the easiest way to track the passing of time is to look at and to my children as they are better indicators of how far we have all come than any mirror can hope to ever tell me. I imagine I am not the only one who has made that discovery.
Kara should actually be our ambassador to the United Nations as she has a genius for talking people into doing things they would otherwise never, ever consider and, while so doing, convincing them that it was all their own idea in the first place while she is pleased and proud to help them.
I believe she (and my) younger sister Jill can actually pull off the Tom Sawyer paint the fence trick, but it's Kara who organizes the trip to the hardware store to get the brushes and the drop clothes. And she'll even help you muscle them into the van.
I wasn't around when our Mom was a kid-or a teen-or a young woman. I caught up with her as a young mother (and was, technically, the first reason why she was a young mother) but I have always thought Kara most resembles what our Mom must have been like when we were too small to really remember.
You cannot help but smile when you are with Kara-I am smiling now as I type this, thinking of her because she is relentlessly cheerful no matter the situation. Her children reflect the values she and Russ have instilled in them and are readying themselves to sally forth into the world, and by thus engaging, improve it, all by themselves. My brother-in-law has impeccable judgment, excellent taste and superior good fortune. Happy Birthday Kara!