I'm going to feel stupid if my brother is actually turning 22 or 24 or 35 or something and I write too few or too many cool things about him. I'm moving ahead under the assumption that he was born 23 years ago today:
1. Daniel is the only person whose hugs make me nervous. They're fabulous, big, strong hugs—that make me wonder if my spine will crack.
2. He has a childhood nickname (Dan-O) that didn't grow out of some 5th grade attempt to name himself something he thought was cool and everyone else thought was lame. You know those people: "My name's Jim, but I like it when people call me Bruiser."
3. When we were kids, Dan-O put up with me one afternoon when I sat him down after a Sunday school lesson to preach to him. The subject of my sermon? Why his fights with me were a symptom of pride. I (of course) was not prideful at all about this.
4. When we were younger, he suffered through all my ballet recitals. Even the junior version of the Nutcracker at the Festival of Trees, and the one where I was dressed as a dancing moonbeam (?). I like to think that I helped him to be as cultured as he is—or as patient.
5. Our family raised rabbits for a while. While I was wholly willing to help with petting the rabbits and filling their water bottles, I wasn't so faithful with cleaning their cages. Daniel usually signed up as the fall guy to clean up bunny poop.
6. He knew how to create and maintain websites before I understood what they were.
7. Daniel never lets me win any game. If I win, it's because I earned it.
8. Daniel can bend his finger all the way backward to touch his wrist. He laughs when he does this, so that it seems like no big deal. But it is. Everyone else is freaking out and waiting to hear his finger break.
9. I needed to know how to kick when doing the breaststroke. But we didn't have a pool handy. So Daniel balanced on a chair—and risked looking silly—to teach me.
10. He has great taste in sisters. His three sisters are probably the best there are. Nice choice, Dan-O.
11. When Daniel came home from his mission, my parents bought him lunch, and then I asked if he would finish eating already and help set up tables and pavilions for my wedding reception the very next day. He didn't gripe at all that I eclipsed his homecoming glory with something as self-absorbed as a froofy dress and a big cake.
12. Daniel's at least willing to try speaking Spanish with me, even though I usually revert to Portuguese—which makes me sound drunk in Spanish.
13. He wrote a post on his blog today—the 4th post this year.
14. Daniel has mastered jumping off snow-covered cliffs with skis strapped to his feet, while simultaneously not killing himself.
15. He has WAY better stories about the crazy things he did in high school than I do. I'm so jealous. I didn't even think of doing stuff like that to a broken car.
16. If I lend him a stack of books, Daniel reads and returns them before I would have time to even glance at all the covers.
17. He always texts me back right away. And he's not offended when I'm slow in responding (or when I lose my phone for a month and fail to text/call back at all).
18. Daniel's smart enough to do anything he wants. He says his facility with varied skills is a simple matter of breaking down the essential elements of a task and recreating them. You know, break down the essential elements that constitute good watercolor paintings and then just reproduce them yourself. Yeah, he's that smart.
19. Daniel knows how to think things through.
20. Daniel knows how to work hard.
21. Daniel knows he can kick most anybody's butt.
22. Daniel knows how to exercise self discipline more than most people I know. Sometimes, I think he makes things happen with his mind.
23. Daniel was born! Happy Birthday!