Happy Birthday Dylan!

My brother is 20 today.....20....as in two decades.  I'm really struggling to grasp this today.  I can barely remember life before him but at the same time the past twenty years have gone by so fast.  I still remember waiting for him to be born.  I was so excited to be a big sister and even got to help choose his name.  Dylan Tyler is what was chosen even though I was strongly vying for Bryan McKenzie (I was slightly obsessed with Father of the Bride at the time).  I remember sitting on Maw & Grandad's couch and talking to my Dad on the phone when he told me he was here and I would get to come see him soon.

It didn't take long for me to snap into major over-protective big sister mode upon meeting him.  I was instantly obsessed and no one was touching him until I had personally seen them wash & sanitize their hands. In our videos from the day he came home from the hospital it was obvious that I was obsessed with the kid and felt protective and connected to him from day one.  During his first years on earth, he was my play partner, life size baby doll, and favorite person.  Flash forward a few years and he was my Saturday morning cartoon cuddler, swimming buddy and he loved to say "You tell them Kelsey" when any stranger asked him a question.

Not only do I consider my little brother my best friend, he is also my hero.  He has been through so much over the years and yet is one of the bravest and strongest people I know.  Dylan has never accepted no for an answer and has always fought through any adversity with a strength I couldn't dream of having.  Saying I'm a proud big sister is a huge understatement.

Over the years, we have drifted apart and come close again as all brothers and sisters do. Teenage years, college, and differing interests can do this.  No matter what comes, I know that we are always there for each other and we have a bond that can never be broken.


Happy Birthday!  I hope you have a day that is as amazing as you are!  Even though I know my hugs and protective instincts over you are annoying at times (please don't interpret this as any kind of a promise to stop because that is not going to happen), thank you for putting up with it anyway.  Though I don't tell you often enough, I feel honored that God allowed me to be your big sister.

Thank you for being the great brother you are.  No matter what, you are always there if I need you and I'm so thankful to have you in my life.

I've compiled you a list of 20 things I want you to remember during your year of being 20 so do your big sister a favor and at least pretend to listen ;):

1. Smile.  You have such a beautiful smile.  You can change a person's life with a smile so always share yours with the world.

2. Pray.  Anytime you feel like you need guidance in this crazy world we live in, always remember to turn to God to guide your footsteps.

3. Spend time with family, especially the older members.  You never know how long people are going to be here on Earth so make sure to spend time with them so you won't regret it when they're gone.  They have so much to teach us if only we are willing to stop and listen.  Cherish these moments and conversations, I promise you will replay them in your head and wish to have one more.

4. Be still.  I'm still working on this one myself.   In the busy world we live in, find some quiet to reflect and listen to what we miss in the busy buzz of everyday life.

5. Explore.  This is the decade of your life where you get to try new things, explore and find out what you really want to do with your life.  Go on adventures, learn new skills, have fun and make lasting memories.

6. Save money (okay, okay, the Financial Advisor in me is coming out).  It's okay to spend money and have fun but put some money back so you can retire early too :)

7. Love.  Fall in love with life.  We only have one so do what you love and be happy.

8. Remember it's okay to fail.  Sometimes our greatest achievements are the lessons we learn when things don't go exactly our way.

9. Put the phone down.  I'm as addicted to mine as anybody but remember that the conversations you are having and memories you are making in person are far more important.

10. You can achieve anything.  When you put your mind to something, I know you'll do it.  You are committed, dependable and strong.

11. Keep an open mind.  You can learn so much from people and cultures that are different from ours so be open to new concepts and new ideas.

12. Choose quality over quantity of friends.  The older you get the more you will realize that it's far more important to have people you can rely on to be beside you in good times and bad than it is to have lots that are with you during the ups and disappear during the downs.

13. Say thank you.  This is a lost art in our generation.  Be thankful and voice it.

14. Tell people what they mean to you.  It's easy to assume that they know but tell them how you feel even if it feels sappy.

15. Don't wish your days away.  I know we both said several times growing up "I can't wait til I'm (insert age here)" or "I can't wait until I'm grown up and then I can......."  Well, it's here and I don't know about you but there's a lot of times I wish I could go back and do it all again.  Savor each and every day because once they're gone you can't get them back.

16. Laugh.  Find humor in the craziness and laugh.  It's good for the soul.

17. Stay true to yourself.  There are people in this world that will try to pull you away from what you know is right and true.  Stay away from them and focus on what you know is the right path in life.

18. There are only 24 hours in a day so use them wisely.  Don't waste time on unimportant things.  Use your time for the important things that bring you joy.

19. Choose happiness.  There is so much sadness and anger in this world.  Choose to be happy everyday and to have a positive view on life even when it's hard.

20.  I will always be here for you.  No matter what, I am your big sister and will love you forever.  I will be your biggest champion, supporter and protector, and let's be honest, I will embarrass you at times.  When you are wrong, I will lovingly let you know and when you are right I will let you know that as well.  When times are hard I will be there to pick you up and I will cheer you on when they are great.  I pray for you daily that you will have the wonderful life you deserve.  I wish we could go back and do the past 20 years again.  I would cherish holding you as a baby, our Saturday mornings, and swimming pool games more.  I would hug you longer, tell you I loved you even more and savor each day.  Thank you for an amazing 20 years of being your big sister.  You have taught me more about life than I can ever put into words and I love you more than three words can express.  Happy Birthday Dylan!


Your Big Sis

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