Hpim2081 Today is my brother Kurt’s birthday.  He was born 36 years ago today and, because I spend vastly more money on my hair than he does, he is a lot grayer than I am.  The picture here (I’m the one in the middle; the one with the killer abs on the right is my workout queen sister, Karen) is one taken of me and both of my siblings when we all went to the beach this summer.  While that is much more belly than I would generally like to show off on the Internet, I chose to use this picture anyway because I just love it.  I’ll tell you why in a minute.

Kurt is the youngest in our family.  Karen and I regularly bossed him around and took advantage of him when we were growing up.  It was easy to do because he was the youngest, but also because he was such a laid back, easy going guy.  He was always in a great mood and always fun to be around.  He has always made me laugh harder than pretty much anyone in the world.  When my dad moved out, Kurt was only 9 and became the man of the house until my mom remarried.  He always jokes that he was raised by a pack of she-wolves!  While it was a difficult situation in some ways, I think it also made us closer than we might have been otherwise.  As the oldest, I always felt fiercely protective of my younger siblings…something they didn’t always appreciate once they were older (yes, I am terminally bossy!)

Now that we are adults, some things remain the same and some things have changed.  Kurt is still one of my favorite men in the whole world.  He still makes me laugh…I am laughing right now thinking of him telling the story of buying a mini-van…apparently they required an additional form of payment than occurs in most automobile purchases (sorry, inside joke!)  He is still laid back and relaxed….always in a great mood and so fun to be around.  It was no surprise to any of us that he has turned out to be a great dad and a romantic, caring husband.  What’s changed is this…I don’t feel protective of him anymore.  I love the picture above so much because it shows my big, strong brother with his arms around his sisters.  Sorry, ladies, this may sound sexist, but I like the idea of him looking out for me.  The world is a safer, less scary place knowing that, in addition to my husband, I have a brother who is watching out for me…who feels protective of me…who knows how to stand up for the people he loves and say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done.  I may be 6 years older, but I kind of think of him as a big brother now.  What a blessing!  Happy Birthday, big brother…I am really glad you were born 36 years ago today!