Happy Birthday to my Big Bro

June 21, 2013 at 5:45 AM 7 comments

If you’re a long time reader, you know I have a lot of siblings, nieces, nephews, extended family, etc.  As such, I decided to only write a birthday post for Graham, myself, Josie and at times my mom.  But it’s not every day that your oldest brother turns 40 and I feel this is an age to be celebrated and therefor a great time to let him know how much I love and respect him.


When I was born, Donald already had the world figured out.  He was eight years old…compared to a newborn, he knew everything.  So I’ve been happily following in his footsteps ever since.

My absolute dream college was Georgetown.  You want to know why I was obsessed with going to Georgetown?  Because my brother went there.  When I was in the eigth grade, we took a class fieldtrip to Washington DC.  I got to sneak away from my class one night and spend the night with Donald.  I felt like the most special kid in school.  Donald took me around campus and introduced me to all of his friends.  I felt alive with college fever.  Donald has this amazing energy to him and I fed off of that energy all day.  I remember I didn’t sleep a wink that night.  How could I?  I was with the coolest kid on campus doing the most rad stuff ever.  No doubt in my mind I was going to be a hoya.  I even married a Georgetown grad; at the first Georgetown wedding we went to, Graham’s friends started calling me an “honorary hoya” – they had no idea how much I LOVED that.


I went off to Whitman College, which was indeed the perfect fit for me.  Even though, I didn’t end up following directly in his footsteps, I still look up to Donald.  When I was graduating from Whitman and venturing out into the “real world,” I asked Donald for advice.  I really felt as though he had set up such a wonderful life for himself and again, he knew everything compared to a newbie like me.  He wrote me the most heartfelt, beautiful e-mail back; I wish more than anything I still had it.  But, I’ll never forget a line that he wrote that I have carried with me every day since reading it, “you create your own luck.”  Boy was he right.

I often hear from people, “you’re so lucky.”  And I think to myself about Donald and what he taught me.  Yes, I’m lucky but I really owe a lot to myself for getting here.  Thank you Donald for letting me know that.  The power we all have within.


Take a wild guess who pushes me to keep this business chugging and to continue to dream bigger?  Donald has been a wonderful support from the beginning.  Always reading the blog, even commenting; reaching out to his friends to let them know about my decorating services; coaching me with ideas on how to expand or refine my business.  And I listen because Donald has done wonders in his own career.  Imwalle Properties is thriving because of him.  Even though he works in commerical real estate, I’ve also found he can time the residential market like no other.  He is incredibly smart, passionate and diligent in his work and it shows.


It’s not all work though.  The man can play.  When graduating from college, he lived in Aspen for two years to be a ski bum.  When the tech boom hit, he was living in up in San Francisco, working for Oracle and having the time of his life.  When he met the love of his life, he fell hard and fast.  Together, they went off for another adventure and lived in Australia.  They lived in Sydney, on a bluff overlooking the ocean and Donald would hop into the surf before work in the mornings.  Even with three little boys, he still finds the time for a heli ski trip in Alaska here and there.


Now, I’ve got my little one and again I look to Donald.  He is a wonderful hands on Dad who loves his little boys with all of his heart.  He loves to see them shredding out there on the slopes, or getting filthy dirty at the ranch, he gives them snuggles when they are tired and he always has an answer no matter how many times they ask “why?”  His boys look up to him with such admiration and I know that they too will grow to be great men.


To my big brother, a very happy 40th birthday.  Thanks for teaching me how to do it right.


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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mom  |  June 21, 2013 at 8:50 AM

    WOW Kate, once again you have given a wonderful tribute to your wonderful brother – the leader of the pack. Donald is one special person. I am so proud of him in soooo many ways. Donald congratulations on becoming 40 years old. You have done a great job. Lots of love,

  • 2. Glynnis Hayward  |  June 21, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    Lovely blog Kate. Happy Birthday Donald and best wishes for the fab forties! Enjoy…

  • 3. Don  |  June 21, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    Thanks Kate. The nicest thing anyone has written me since mom wrote letters for retreats in high school. Thanks very much! While you may listen to some advice, the trail you’ve blazed is your own and a wonderful one at that. You’ve set an awesome course and navigated some tricky situations to get there.

  • 4. Rebecca  |  June 21, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    Such a sweet column! Happy 40th to your big bro. Never knew your Gtown love went that far back. Hoya saxa!

  • 5. bridget  |  June 21, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    What a wonderful tribute and every bit of it the truth. Excited to celebrate this milestone with a wonderful man/father/brother(in law)! Happy early birthday Donald!

  • 6. Cheryl Deegan  |  June 21, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Crap Kate – now you’ve gone and made me cry again! Your tributes always seem to tug at my heart strings….
    Happy #40 boss! 🙂

  • 7. Beatrice  |  June 22, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Great post Kate. I’ve been thinking about Donald today. I remember his arrival 40 years ago. Loved all of the pictures!


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