Christmas was always special being one of five kids.
The Christmas when I was 12 though was a HUGE Christmas for me because my brother Jay bought me my first pair of designer jeans. I couldn’t believe it when I opened the gift, a pair of dark Seven jeans. I was blown away. I had never owned anything like that and felt like a million bucks that, not only did I now own designer jeans (this was huge), but even more importantly that my big brother has picked them out and got them just for me.
Jay has had one of the largest influences on my life. He is 12 years older than I am and for so much of the time while growing up, he was leaving for college, kicking hiney in school and then having various high profile finance positions.
Every card or letter Jay wrote me, I have kept. He has such an amazing knack for writing cards that make you feel like you are the only person in the world to him. When he would say he was proud of me or impressed by me, I truly felt like I could do no wrong.
Being 12 years older than I am, we always had a bit of a parent/kid vibe to our relationship that was amazing when I was younger, but, needed to be redefined as I grew into the person I am today. A few years back we had a conversation and decided it was time for him to stop taking care of me, and time for me to just have a friendship with him.
Since that redefining moment, our friendship has just grown and has turned into something I value so much today. He is my hiking buddy, an amazing uncle to the boys and an incredible cheer leader and friend.
Jay is my hero for many reasons, but, the main reason that comes to mind is his career progression. Jay graduated with a degree in Psychology and progressed through various financial planning and financial analyst positions. When the market crashed, that crash impacted his work. He could have taken that turn in his career and allowed it to forever change the course of his life. Instead, he followed his dream, went back to school and is now a Clinical Professor of Nursing and PLU, and will be pursuing a Doctorate within the next year. Jay is my hero because he is absolutely relentless. He pursues friendships, his career and physical fitness with a tenacity that is absolutely contagious.
Jay drives me, he challenges me, he inspires me and I am thankful every single day that he is my brother. I will never stop trying to be as cool as he is, and I will never make it but that is okay, because in his eyes it doesn’t matter.
Happy birthday, brother. I love you so much!