I got a little mad after my unsuccessful attempt to blow out the candle. Come on now, who didn't have rage issues at 2?

Everyone has those horror stories about their mean older brother, so here are mine about my brother, Travis:

A home video shows me in my bedroom, jumping on the bed and throwing toys against the wall, refusing to come out in my Halloween costume. My brother, probably only 5 or so, turns to the camera and says, “it’s OK mom. I’ll go talk to her.”

(I know what you’re thinking: it’s impossible that the girl photographed above could be capable of throwing toys across the room. You can’t be perfect all the time, you know?)

Or, there’s the video where Travis is trying to teach me to tie my shoes, while I sing at the top of my lungs, purposely turning away from him and ignoring what he has to say.

See? What a jerk.

There’s a lot of pressure in being the oldest child. For better or for worse, the younger siblings often follow the cues of the oldest.

Fortunately for my sisters and me, we could not have a better person to take our cues from.

Blessed with a musical ability that far outweighs most people on this planet, Travis uses that ability to make sure as many kids as humanly possible grow up with an appreciation for music. My brother can identify obscure classical pieces by listening to a few measures of music, but he can also drop a few Kanye raps on you. He appreciates it all, and he doesn’t care what kind of music you love; just that you love music.

Not only does he do important work, he’s doing important work that he loves as an assistant conductor for the Colorado Children’s Chorale. It’s so fun to watch people who are doing exactly what God put them on this earth to do.

His love of kids extends beyond music. Over the last six months, he and his wonderful wife Emily have taken two weeks out of their busy schedule to travel to an orphanage in Mexico and spend time with the kids there.

Here’s a song he wrote while he was at that orphanage, just a few weeks ago:

Today, my older brother Travis turns 30. I’m only two years behind, and we’ve shared a lot of good memories together. In fact, one of my favorite photos/memories with Travis is when my photographer caught my brother’s first sight of me in my wedding dress when I got married in October.

Photo by Brienne Michelle

So, happy birthday to the best older brother there is. Thanks for letting me play with your Transformers. Thanks for forgiving me when I got you grounded forever when you were in second grade. Thanks for showing me that having fun is way more important than caring what other people think. Thanks for singing at my wedding. And thanks for always, always being someone worth looking up to.