the 40 year-old PICOUP

My brother turns 40 today.

They say 40 is the new 30. They must know my brother.

He is vibrant and funny and full of incredible ideas and always making something neat happen. He is full of energy and passion and magic and music and stories. His spirit is limitless. He is magnetic. Babies love him. Nuns adore him. Even middle school kids who hate everyone can’t help but love my brother; he’s got a pocketful of stupid-human tricks that throw them instantly into idol-worship mode. (I just felt like Rob Bass: I mean even the ones who never saw him like…)

Since we were little kids and he could stand on his head and wiggle his ears first, I’ve been in complete and total awe of him. That’s not to say there haven’t been moments when my awe was coupled with, “oh my god! get away from me!” There have been plenty of those over the years. The time he tried to vacuum me comes to mind. I mean, literally, he vacuumed me. That’s all fun and games until the nozzle comes towards your hair.

All brother/sister torture aside, being the younger sister is kind of a cool perch.

I’ve been witness to my brother’s journey from a seat of looking up to and learning. He did almost everything first. He tested the waters. In many cases, he didn’t just stick a toe in, he cannonballed right into the deep end. In some cases, he dove headfirst into the shallow end.

No matter what he was doing or where he was, through the darkness and back into the light, my brother has always been an incredibly influential force in my life. I can count on him. Deluxe. And even though we’re older and I’m taller than him, I still love when he calls me his little sister.

My brother’s road has been windy. And bumpy. But as he turns the corner into 40, his road is smooth, new pavement with all sorts of great scenery. He’s kicking some serious world-butt. He has a beautiful family. He’s written a book! He has carved out an incredible career and he has a diverse group of interesting friends who, just like me, are in awe of how funny and cool and smart and ridiculously creative he is.

Today I see him more clearly than I ever could when we were younger.

Today I see a guy who loves so deeply and with so much of himself. I see a guy whose mind is racing, whose ideas are powerful, whose potential is limitless. Today I see a guy who can find something magical in everyone; a guy who seeks that connection, to draw that out in each person he meets.

My brother’s mentor and friend, Mike Gessford passed away unexpectedly last year, just before his 50th birthday. Mike had a sign above his desk that read, “PICOUP: Person In Charge of Unlocking Potential.” Mike was that. And, my brother Justin, he is that: a person who makes it his mission to help others find the magic inside of themselves.

Happy Birthday, Bo. Thank you for being the ultimate PICOUP to me…

UBUNTU and I love you.



21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Denise
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 17:25:24

    a lovely tribute


  2. sherri
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 17:47:51

    What an awesome birthday gift you just gave your brother. I loved reading this. When I got to the picture I just about cried and I felt that burst of love that I feel for my own big brother.
    You and Justin are so lucky to have each other for the journey.
    Happy Bithday, Justin!


  3. "D'Ital"
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 18:37:41

    Susannah you are as amazing as your brother. You two are a joy! Thank God for FB. I feel so fortunate to have reconnected with you both.


    • mcglam
      Mar 05, 2012 @ 21:42:57

      Thanks, Michael! It sure does make the world smaller. Great to reconnect with you. Seems like yesterday that you and Sally babysat for us!!!


  4. Michael McGlamery
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 20:29:56

    Susannah, this is simply beautiful. I am so fortunate to have you and Justin as children, who continually light up my days. I love you, Dad


  5. haley
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 20:51:33

    don’t make me cry at work, zuzannah!


  6. Aunt Molly
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 22:03:18

    Beautiful tribute Susannah!


  7. Tia McDonald
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 22:04:41

    What a lovely tribute. So much of what you wrote reminded me of us all growing up together, and how honored I am to call the McGlamerys my family.

    Love you endlessly!
    happy birthday Justin!


  8. Molly
    Mar 06, 2012 @ 10:17:28

    That picture is just adorable! I, too, vacuumed my little sister, by the way. Terrible mistake and I still feel bad about it.


  9. Michelle Doucette Rawcliffe
    Mar 06, 2012 @ 19:10:41

    beautiful, i look forward to these so much


  10. Priscilla
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 16:50:14

    Susannah, I love hearing how Justin is just as I remember him. Beautiful words 🙂 Happy Belated, Justin!


  11. Jean Gessford
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 09:33:13

    Thank you Susannah , that was beautiful, and thank you Justin for being the amazing friend/brother that Mike loved so much, and for carrying on his spirit and message.

    Sawubona, Jean Gessford ~ sniffling happily 😉


    • mcglam
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 14:49:54

      Jean, Thank you for your beautiful comment. Sawubona is one of THE most beautiful ways for people to acknowledge one another; I fell in love with the idea while in South Africa…thank you for reminding me.


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