Nobody chooses their family. And let’s be honest… the balance of the sucky vs. awesome family meter is probably cosmically way out of whack somewhere because it does seem that once the sucky family vibe invades your territory, you’re kind of screwed.

And if you are one of the people who got smacked by the sucky family stick or fell out of the shitty family tree and hit every branch on the way down, I am TRULY sorry but you probably just want to stop reading right now because… fair warning… I’m about to gush about TEH AWESOME of my family.

My younger sister, Betsy and I have had our rough patches. Two in particular, that I can remember and what’s amazing is that looking back on them, they can both be attributed much more to MY suckage than hers. Which is to say that she has no suckage. Because she is made of awesome and Care Bears and cotton candy and little tiny chocolate chips. But like everyone most people growing and learning and figuring out how to be adults, we came through that just fine.

Betsy is just cool. There is no other way to describe it. The kid personifies cool. She is laid back and fun and easy going and the smartest cat you will ever lay eyes on. She’s an ACTUAL rocket scientist. Are you impressed? You should be. She’s very important. She has many leather bound books. And her bathroom (she has no study) smells of… well she’s human. I’m assuming her bathroom smells like the rest of our bathrooms. But you get the idea. (Plus I think she keeps her cat’s litter box in the bathroom… so there’s that…)

Without a doubt, Betsy is the bravest person I’ve ever known. Her own personal comfort zones have no definition. The child knows how to follow an opportunity, regardless of how scary it may be. She moved to Atlanta, not knowing a soul (except some weirdly quiet yet stalkerish boy that my mom kind of accidentally set her up with which just turned into an awkward situation for EVERYONE) to go to Georgia Tech. She’d always been kind of the quiet one and suddenly we were moving her to the middle of this huge city. But she hit the ground running and hasn’t ever looked back.

Then about 6 years ago, she moved to Seattle. Again… the jaw-dropping bravery. But she saw an opportunity and she grabbed it and committed herself to it 110%. Without fear or hesitation. Because of the awesome… did I mention the awesome?

I know that as the older sibling, we are supposed to set examples. We are supposed to be a guide and someone to come to for advice and encouragement. But I think the only example I ever set for Betsy was what NOT to do. I admire everything about her. She is strong and fearless. She is good and kind. She is loving and honest. She is fierce and loyal. And if she was the only person in the world I ever had in my corner, I know I could scale giant buildings with one hand tied behind my back. On a bad hair day.

And this kick ass chick? Well… she’s turning 30 today. And there is nothing more I’d love to do than put on my party pants and knock on her door with a cake full of candles, several bottles of wine and a box full of Peeps. You know… because after cake and wine, there is nothing us Hall girls like better than blowing up marshmallow chickens in the microwave. Really. Try it sometime.

But she lives on the other side of the country. And while a visit that-a-ways IS long overdue, for today we will have to do with my first attempt at a celebration via skype. And while that webcam may not be flattering to me or the rest of the world for that matter… I DEFY you to try and find a camera that doesn’t love this pretty lady…

Happy birthday kid. I love you.