We are a large family (8 children - all adults now, living all over the country). Growing up in a large clan like this means we learned to deal with many different personalities and we are representative of several generations and life experiences.
Kathleen is one of those people who thinks things through, sees alternatives, and works to make things work. She inspires others and is a catalyst for getting things done.
I admire how she worked for so many years and earned both her bachelor and master degrees later in life while working full time. She helped my parents so much, especially in their later years, sacrificing her time, energy, and money to make sure they were able to stay in their home even through severe illnesses. I'll save the "thank you's" to my other sister, Maureen, for her birthday which is later this month.
There were weeks and probably months that Kathleen never saw her own apartment, as she'd fly in from a multi-day trip for work and immediately get on another plan to come to Boston to stay a few days with my parents and take care of their needs. Then she'd be off to another work trip and repeat the process just a few days later. Oh, and she was studying for school at the same time.
Her sacrifices made it easier for Maureen and me, who were more local, to do our part. Without Kathleen, though, I suspect the system wed' set up would have broken down. As I said, she's a catalyst. Within minutes of arriving somewhere, she's figured out what needs to be done and gets it started. I think that's why she's good at her career in financial planning and investing.
Everyone needs someone "outside" to review what and where they are in life so they can plan for the future. Kathleen is good at looking at a person, their relationships and finances, and helping them figure out what do to next to prepare for the future. She's careful about what and whom she chooses to associate with. She doesn't look for the quick fix that gives an immediate but false sense of security. She looks longer term and tries to balance now with future.
That's probably why she's someone I can go to for advice for just about anything in my life. She thinks about now and future before saying anything. She considers the relationships involved and isn't afraid to point out where some may be holding you back. Whether it's a person or a job or whatever, she looks at the situation and gives her assessment of how it's affecting you; then she advises you.
More importantly, she doesn't say "I told you so," if you choose another path. She just helps you move on. That's admirable in any relationship. It's invaluable in a friend and in a family member.
So, Kathleen, surprise, here's your virtual birthday card!
Happy Day and I hope many more will come.