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 Albert Einstein predicated, everything is relative. (Could that mean everything is Einstein? I'm asking that because it would explain the bramble that is so often my hair when I awaken.)
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 (but only because their luck wasn't as good as Kara's).
Kara and her husband, Russ, have their own family with RJ, Randy, and Jordan all men in motion and on a mission, in different directions at maximum velocity. I discovered long ago the easiest way to track the passing of time is to look at and to your children as they are better indicators of how far we have all come than any mirror can hope to be. I imagine I am not the only one who 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 just pleased and proud to help them.
She (and our) younger sister, Jill, can probably actually pull off the Tom Sawyer painting 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. Meanwhile, it's Jill who collects the money and, sorry, even though it's a quarter for a chance to paint and you gave her a dollar, she's out of change.
I wasn't around when our Mother 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've 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 improving the world on their own terms just as their parents, but most especially my sister, taught them to do.
My brother-in-law has impeccable judgment, excellent taste, and superior good fortune. Happy Birthday, Kara!