One of the things I am most thankful for that God has given me is my older brother. He is my best friend, buddy, brother, and protector all wrapped up into one. We have the closest bond of all of my siblings in my eyes and having him around is one of the best things ever.
So, Dan, here are 10 things I need to thank you for.
1. Being weird
With you around, I feel way more normal.
2. Your sense of humor
You have turned many not so good days into great ones just with your witty sense of humor and absolutely ridiculous one-liners. I could be in the worst possible mood over the most dramatic thing in the world and you say one thing and I can't help but crack a smile. You sure know how to entertain people and you certainly have entertained me over the past 19 years.
3. Your strange, yet incredibly helpful, advice for each milestone in my life
Every single time you have given me a piece of advice, it has come off very random and funny (i.e. when I went into high school you said "just don't be a whore" and here I am, now graduated and that was some of the best advice ever), yet in the long run was super helpful.
Now, in college, you encourage me to "find a sorority that has weekly book club meetings or something weird and actually get out and DO SOMETHING other than study." Despite the fact that on the surface that just looks like you are giving me a hard time, I know underneath that you just want me to stay true to myself while having fun and making friends.
4. Always looking out for me
As an older brother, you are kind of just born into the role of protecting me. You have always been there for me. You told me what boys to stay away from and what not to do at parties. Despite how goofy and funny you were, you really cared and looked out for me as well.
5. Being my confidant
This one goes both ways. I tell you everything. If you find out I didn't mention something you wonder why I didn't tell you. The same goes for you. I mean maybe we don't tell each other everything cause there are some things you just don't tell your brother, but I have always been able to talk to you about anything. Our late night conversations are some of my favorite memories.
6. Setting a "good" example of what not to do
You were the first born so naturally Mom and Dad had no idea what to expect and neither did you. But boy did you test their limits and push their buttons. So, thank you for showing me exactly what not to do and being the PERFECT example of how to get into trouble. I credit my fantastic record of being a good student and not so troublesome child to your example.
7. All the crap you give me
I would like to say most of the time I have pretty thick skin and I owe that to you. Through the years you have made me so aggravated by some of the things you say to me, but most of the time I end up laughing about it. I could walk downstairs and barely be awake for an hour and you would make fun of me somehow. It never hurt me because I would just dish it right back.
8. Making sure I know my worth
It is no secret that my insecurities get the better of me and I get down a lot. You, however, have a funny way of picking me back up without even knowing I am down. There are countless cards and letters from Confirmation, graduations, and other milestones where your more serious side comes out. You always tell me how beautiful, and strong, and independent I am and you encourage me to always be myself and love myself. Your words of encouragement have gotten me through a lot of bad days.
You have been the best big brother ever throughout my life. We have been through a lot together and I am so happy to have you in my life. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for me. Love you buddy!