I may not distinctly remember the moment my brother David Alan started to date my sister-in-law Natalie. But I do remember that a shift began to happen within our family. From those first few years that Natalie and Dave were dating I remember the best sugar cookies ever, a room decorated in Valentines, boating and being so excited when she'd stop by our house. She was very novel, being the first outsider to date one of my siblings. She was a milestone for the family and was hard not to idolize. A lot of what I have strived for I have taken from the example that Natalie has set for me. From wanting to be a high school Stat Girl for the football team to decorating a boyfriends room in high school to her fanatical fitness ambitions to her mad organizational skills to what I can view of her relationship with Dave. I have wanted to emulate Nat for as long as I can remember her being around. I wanted her romantic story - the one with pictures of being young and in love. And I wanted to be close because I admire so much about her. I wanted her to see me as the sister I see her as.
I feel like in the last couple years Natalie has really started to feel like one of the family. The desire for her to be apart of us was always there so this increased closeness within our family has brought so much joy to me. It makes me feel like our family is really coming together.
Natalie is one of the funniest people I know. She's sarcastic and so quick witted. And I love when I get to see or hear her view on things. I feel like the last few times I've gone home, the opportunity of her company has been among my favorite.
Nat and Dave don't have a perfect relationship (I doubt anyone really does), but they are one of the couples I admire the most. They are just so blatantly in love (which Natalie laughs when I say because they aren't newlyweds anymore). But its not an immature puppy love way of showing. Spending time with them you can't help but catch them in moments when they think no one is watching and you just know that they love each other above all else. You would never doubt it. They have something to be extremely envious of. And maybe they have set the bar too high, because I can't help but compare every potential person I date, asking "Will they love me the way Dave and Nat love each other?" Nat downplays like none other. But thats part of the charm I suppose. Because it always feels so genuine and never appears that they're flaunting their good fortune. I always feel like I'm stealing a secret moment. To be so in love is unfathomable to me. But I hope for it someday. And I am grateful for the opportunity I have to witness love like theirs.
And I'm grateful for Natalie. I'm grateful she chose to marry my brother and has chosen to be a part of our family. I love her very dearly. So I want to wish her a very Happy Birthday!