Just a shout-out to my brother Matt, who turns 39 today.
Perhaps because we are just a year apart, Matt and I hated each other growing up. It could have been a rivalry, it could have been that we were just very different and would not see eye to eye. But I know that on more than one occasion, we both denied even being related to each other. I realize now, however, that because of our hatred, I tried harder to excel in ... well ... everything.
And then while we were in our 20's, we lived apart: he lived in Baltimore going to school at Towson State, and I lived in DC, then finished school in Winchester, VA. For several years, we would only see each other on holidays and school breaks mostly. And during that time, something happened to our relationship - we found respect for each other.
These days, Matt is one of my best advisors. Our humour is the same and we bring out the orneriness in each other. And even though we live very dissimilar lives (Matt is married with four sons and lives 1/2 mile from my parents), we seem to have more in common than ever before. I have an older sister that I adore, and another younger brother that I admire. And I am lucky to have all three of these people with me as I journey through my entire life.
So to Matt, at least today, I tip my hat and say "thank you ... for making me try harder." And Happy Birthday.