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In January, I wrote about an auspicious day. Today is another.

Today I celebrate my grandmother’s birthday and my brother’s birthday.

Thinking of my brother this morning, I realized he’s had a far deeper impact on my life than I had understood. Almost all my hobbies and interests I learned to love from my brother, so I should have realized that his impact has been immense. But that’s just the surface of it.

I learned Spanish because of my brother. That was the first language I learned beyond English. I liked learning Spanish so much that I went on to learn French, German, Norwegian, Greek, Latin, and some of Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, and so forth. My linguistic ability is so much of who I am that I earned two graduate degrees related to it, and almost all my employment has been in the field of language and linguistics.

More importantly to me, I met my wife entirely because of my interest in Spanish (even though she has no interest in Spanish herself). So my marriage, too, I owe to my brother.

My brother’s influence goes far beyond my love of games, music, hiking, camping, dancing, fantasy, and nearly everything else I do for fun in my spare time. It has shaped the entire course of my life.

Thank you, brother, for leading me into this life I love so much! I could not be the man I am if I hadn’t had you guiding me.