Today is my sister Kara's birthday. It's a holiday in her house and probably should be one on her block and across the State of New Jersey, though, in light of the summer heat budget shortfalls everywhere, your mileage may vary.
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 an overlapping childhood as I was transitioning away from home and hearth (perhaps with what later might be seen as unseemly haste) 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 me, 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 more that already grown in many instances though I would I not growing apart. Their sons, RJ, Randy and Jordan are young men on a mission, in different directions at maximum velocity. When next Russ and my sister turn around, all three will be grown and gone. I've discovered the easiest way to track the passing of time is to look at and to our children as they are better indicators of how far we have all come than any mirror can ever hope to 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 technically was 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 sallying forth into the world, and by thus engaging, improving it, all by themselves. My brother-in-law has impeccable judgment, excellent taste, and superior good fortune, they happen to all be in one person, his wife, my sister. Happy Birthday, Kara!