So, I've known my sister for quite some time. Almost thirty years, in fact. I remember when audio cassettes first came out and we'd record radio shows in the living room. Everyone else hated their siblings, but I couldn't see what was so horrible about a big sister. I remember when she thought I was a cool brother and would take me to high school parties when I was like thirteen. I can't believe my parents never said anything when I'd come home smelling like smoke (for the record, I didn't start smoking myself until several years later). I remember really understanding Dylan for the first time when I went to visit her at UW Madison. It was the first time I associated 'folk' with 'cool' - the beginning of my grassroots philosophy of public service, to stretch a metaphor. I remember the crazy pride that filled my chest when I spent a week with her in the Dominican Republic while she was working with the Peace Corps (see the 'Under the Mosquito Net' blog on the right). I had honestly never known any one who was making such a tangible difference in the lives of others. I remember when she first moved to San Francisco. It was so cool to hang out in a different city and know I knew someone, so I belonged - kinda. I remember when she got married to Bryan. I had been going through some tough personal times, but she (they both) went to such lengths to make sure I was okay, despite the heavy plate I know was in front of them.
My sister Bert is one of my favorite people in the world, and I could not be happier that she's going to have a tiny Bertlet that I can be the creepy Midwestern uncle to. Bert, I promise I won't teach him or her any swears until they're old enough to know not to say them in front of you. Just please don't give them the square-head haircut that Mom gave you. All the best from fly-over land, and most sincere congratulations to you and to Bryan!