We grew up doing birthdays on an intimate scale as a family. Dinner, gifts, cake and a movie - just us, just our immediate family. Tradition carried on this weekend as we celebrated my sister, Kendra. We pulled out a few subtle-but-extra-special-touches: handkerchiefs and candlesticks of my late grandma's, fresh cut lavender, straws and water with lemon slices.
It strikes me that often we wait for the end of a person's life to offer up public praise. I'm not sure why this is so. And, at the risk of thoroughly embarrassing her, I tell you my sister is lovely, with peace and wisdom about her. She is a faithful and loyal friend. A trusted confident. But don't be fooled, girlfriend can crack a joke.
I love celebrating Kenna. She celebrates friends and family and co-workers all throughout the year - baby and bridal showers, birthday trinkets, just-because-packages in the mail, and so-and-so-just-had-to-have-this purchases. And I love that there is a day set aside for the tables to shift and for the spotlight to turn on her.
But of all the things I love about my sister, of all the things she has taught me over the years, what I treasure most is her ability to see the beautiful in everyone and to encourage that beauty to blossom.
Everyone is beautiful. And everyone needs someone to see potential and hope in them. Kenna, thank you for teaching and sharpening me. And happy birthday weekend. Love you so.
To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons
and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure
the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others;
to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed
with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed
easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson