Today is my big brother’s 35th birthday – although getting older is a little less fun once you hit your thirties, I do appreciate the way that the five-year gap between us seems to shrink in significance as the years go by.  I just got home from a couple of days in Portland and am feeling especially impressed with the man Mitch has become.  I mean, seriously, is this cool dad with the sleeve tattoos and the acoustic guitar and the bookshelf full of sophisticated literature the same guy that endured the seventh grade with coke-bottle glasses and MC Hammer piping through his Walkman?

Despite his ummm… awkward phase, I have always been the kid sister that looked up to her cool older brother.  When we were little, I longed to climb into the backyard sandbox and play GI Joe with Mitch and his friends.  When he became a teenager and discovered the grunge scene, I watched Pearl Jam videos with him on MTV and respectfully held back from my usual pestering when he got news of Kurt Cobain’s death.  When he graduated from high school and moved to Portland, I visited him in his apartment near Hawthorne and envied the urban lifestyle he lived, full of music and bus rides and tattooed friends in bands.  When he came to visit me during my year abroad and we traveled to Barcelona together, I was struck by his knowledge of Gaudi and the ease with which he ordered a plate of olives and a glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe.  When he married Kathryn in 2005, I thanked God that he’d found a beautiful woman so perfect for him and laughed as we all danced barefoot under the trees to the live bluegrass band.  When he became a dad four years ago, I nearly cried over the surprising tenderness with which he held his little girl.

And today, I wish a very happy birthday to my swell big bro – loving father, wine connoisseur, expert on boring Spanish Civil War novels.  Cheers, Mitch.  I think we’ve both come a long way since those good ol’ days…


  1. Pat says:

    Oh Kelly you make me cry,your writing is totally amazing. No love like a brother/sister love.

  2. Nancy says:

    Wow, Kel, you look so much like your nieces in this shot! I can really see the family resemblance. And happy birthday to your brother!