It’s my big brother’s birthday today! Before I started therapy¬† a year ago, I always assumed my brother wasn’t anxious because he’s so gregarious. He got my mom’s extrovert genes and, because I couldn’t talk to strangers without agony, I assumed Alan was just a fundamentally happy guy.

Now, of course, I realize that he got the family anxiety as much as I did, but it comes out in different ways. He is a happy guy, and so loyal to the ones he loves, generous and kind–but he also feels things deeply, worries as much as any of us, and just wants things to be perfect. (Brother, I feel you.)

He has the added worries of being a parent, which I honestly can’t imaging coping with, and he does such a good job with his son, who adores him. He lives much closer to my parents than I do so he took on the lion’s share of visiting them over the years, especially now that Mom is gone.

He has the mind of an engineer and the curiosity of a historian, an encyclopedic knowledge of anything mechanical. He does all the cooking for the family and is a better chef than I am, much more patient and willing to try new things.

My brother is a remarkable man who’s doing a great job and I’m proud to not only know him but call him family. Happy birthday, Alan. I love you.