This is my "little brother," Joel.
Today is his birthday.
I need no special reason to celebrate his existence, but I will seize today's occasion as an opportunity to honor him.
Ever since we were very young, he has been my trusted, cherished confidant.
He read my (bad) poetry, listened to my angsty confessions, and tolerated my atrocious adolescent musical obsessions (NKOTB, anyone?).
A self-described "music geek," Joel is incredibly generous with his knowledge, always eager to share new albums, artists, and genres.
When Joel loves you, he will stop at nothing to ensure that you are safe, protected, and happy.
The most abundant evidence I have seen thus far of his enormous heart, has been his adoration of our niece, Emma.
In her presence, he gushes unbridled kindness, compassion, and sheer delight.
The mere timbre of his voice when he addresses her is heartwarming.
Whether we are laughing together at a particularly amusing moment of Family Guy, discussing our daily drudgery, or even embracing one another to soothe our sorrow at our grandparents' funerals, I am always thankful for and proud of this fact: Joel is my brother.