Dear Darren,

Happy birthday. I have known you for almost four years now, and not once in that time have we had that defining moment that people have in relationships, that moment that allows me to write something terribly witty and clever for the Internet to read about you. I don't have any funny stories to share about you; I have never seen you drunk, or silly, or crabby for that matter. So, there will be no inside jokes about you today, there will be no embarrassing confessions, blog-style. There will only be this one little thing:

Dude, I seriously, painfully love you. Of all the people in my world, you are the hardest for me to put a definition on. I guess you are my half-step-brother-in-law-by-proxy, or something like that. I really don't know that much about you, which is odd seeings how long I've known you, but I do know a few things.

I know that you are probably the most honest, kind man I have ever met. I know that you are an amazing husband to my sister, I know that you are a devoted son-in-law to my half-step-parents-in-law-by-proxy, or something like that. I know that my kids love you. A lot. Especially L. I know that you have a ridiculous amount of talent up those sleeves of yours, I know that you look hot in those pants, I know that you have no reason at all to me a friend to me, much less a brother. And yet you are both things to me. I know that I would not trade you for all the tea in China. You play a much bigger role in my life than I think you realize and I just hope you know that my days are a little sunnier because of you. I watch you play with my little baby and I thank Jesus that she will always know you and always have such a wonderful, tall uncle. She will never want for kisses or for lost balloons.

The thing that I know more than anything in the world is that you will be the very best father ever in the history of fathers. I cannot wait to see you hold you baby girls. I cannot wait to watch you wipe their boogie noses and gag over their poopey diapers and put their hair in ponytails and send them off to kindergarten and walk them down their aisles. No two children will be more loved and more protected and more adored. They will write country songs about you. And don't think I'm not honored to get to be a part of it with you.

So thanks. Thanks for being a part of my little family. A big part. Thanks for sharing your life with us. Thanks for making me giggle, thanks for inspiring me.

And thanks for being my very most loyal reader. My blog loves you, too.

Happy birthday, hot pants.

~S