Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Cousin Series: Happy Birthday Jules

Yesterday afternoon, I recieved a funny text from my cousin Andy asking what my email address was now. He mentioned my very first email address from 15 years ago. I wondered why he wanted my email address and this is why. He wrote me a birthday blog.  I cried, laughed and was deeply touched.  

I adore Andy, always have and always will.  He's right, we are VERY close and have always been close.  When its his birthday, you will learn more about him.  Thank you Potato. Love, French Fry


My name is Andrew and I am number lucky seven in the birth order of my cousins.  However today's tip of the cap is to number one of course.  If you are reading any of this, then you are aware of and hopefully one of the lucky masses who know my eldest cousin Julie.  She has been writing a little piece about each of her cousins on their birthdays, so it only felt appropriate to take a little time and return the appreciation.

It would be safe to say I manage to stay close to my cousin Julie even though she's a four hours away from here, and has been for awhile.  Then again most  of cousins would probably say something along those lines, and I think that's a skill she acquired from my grandparents. What I mean by that is, though I am her actual favorite, my other cousins might be inclined to say the same thing.  It's speaks to the kinds of of people that came before us, and an ability to connect with people that the rest of us would be lucky to ever understand.

Julie is seven years older than me, and right around age nine when I was getting an idea of cool, Julie was about the coolest person I knew.  My first realization of cool would probably be the first time I met Marty.  For no reason at all Julie had asked me if I wanted to go with her for a ride, and frankly, why on earth would anybody say no?  Julie's first car was a maroon datsun hatchback with a violent femmes sticker on passenger side and a proud Depeche Mode sticker displayed on the rear.

 I had the front seat all to myself and I was making hand dolphins out of the window that I could hardly see over, all the way to Buena Park.  It felt cool, and it also was my first serious encounter with a charismatic British frontman named Morrissey and his band The Smiths, who I still consider cool nearly twenty years later.

 Upon arrival in Buena Park I got to meet Marty, at the time he was one of the few older guys I had met, that wasn't somebodies dad and I remember thinking that he was pretty cool.  Just about when my head was about to explode from all the coolness I had encountered of the last half hour, Marty took us to a Taco Bell where you ordered food using a touch screen that talked back you, needless to say I was in awe, and from that day on my cousin became one of the most interesting people I know, and that hasn't changed.

It might even be true to say Julie gets more interesting all the time.  In a day an age where a facebook wall tells us to embrace small miracle everyday, most of glance, smile, and forget that nice sentiment before it's even out of an eyeshot, and then there is julie.  My cousin is wonderful reminder that it's good to be excited about things.  Whether it be a tweet from and Olympic swimmer, or baking cookies for cyclist, Jules creates adventures of the everyday, and it seems like every time I talk to her I hang up the phone and get inspired.  It's hard not be, I genuinely hang up the phone feeling like I can do anything, and if there isn't anybody in your life that makes you feel that way, I highly recommend finding one, because it's insanely therapeutic.

As a believer that the universe makes it self right most of the time, I feel like Marty's ever miraculous recovery is simply that.  When good things happen to great people it makes things simply feel right.  For the last years leading up to the transplant, Julie carried on, and most of the time did it while appearing very collected.  We all know that couldn't have been the case, but she went about keeping her family moving forward as if she didn't want to give herself or anybody else time to feel sorry for themselves.  It's as if Marty's recovery is a thank you gift from the cosmos, for simply showing the rest of us what strength is.

"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." - Harriet Tubman

Over the last eighteen months or so Julie has taken to a whole lot of living.  A common thread in many conversations I have with my cousin is my inability to stay idle, in Julie's case she has simply decided to blast off like a very, very not tall rocket.  Had you told me last years that she would tackle a triathlon before she turned thirty six, I wouldn't have doubted her, however I would have had a hundred follow up questions.  I think once she realized everything was actually going to be o.k. She took that as a cue to do some serious living, and I for one couldn't be happier for her. I am excited to see where this path takes you, because I have a feeling it leads somewhere great.

My final thought.

   You are truly a one of a kind and I can honestly say this world is a more interesting place because you are in it.  With the progression of time it is wonderful to see Conner and Elizabeth getting slightly more like you every time I see them.  I suppose a thank you is in order for closeness you've managed to maintain with your cousins regardless of distance.  You have always set a wonderful example for me in a sense that it's not only fine to be different, but in actuality it suits some of us quite well.  Keep on in everything you do, because it does matter, and it inspires.  I took the liberty of doing this, because I love you, and if I get around to growing up I would like to be something like you.