I’m Not a Cat Burglar…

…but if I was, I don’t think I’d be the type to sneak into people’s houses and steal their valuables. Don’t get me wrong, I like diamond tennis bracelets and antique vases just as much as the next girl, but if I were an internationally-known thief, it wouldn’t be trinkets I would poach.

It would be people’s attributes.

Reader says, “WHA?”

You see, there are so many people that I love and admire, and if I could take those things I see in them all for myself, I could build a better me. Here’s a run-down of the attributes I covet the most.

1. Brian’s Sense of Wonder

My husband has always been the guy who’s not afraid to live out his childhood as a 31-year-old “grown-up.” He’s the guy you see riding the shopping cart downhill. The one who checks out the toy aisles of every store, looking for that elusive Transformer to add to his collection. The guy who buys funny t-shirts, just because he knows they’ll get a reaction out of somebody. I so admire that about him. It’s the attribute of his I’d most like to steal.

2. Dad’s Endless Positivity

My father is the eternal optimist. I am the total opposite. My Dad has been through more than most, and yet he always maintains a positive outlook on life. Things will always get better. One day, he’s going to win the lottery, and we’ll all have new cars and big houses, and we’ll finally open that family-operated Irish pub he dreams about. It will happen, because he believes it will happen. So Dad, watch your back. I’m coming for your optimism.

3. Mom’s (Hidden) Courage

(Sidebar–I love this picture. It was taken moments after Mom and Dad renewed their wedding vows at a surprise ceremony we threw for them back in 2005. So sweet.)

You may not be able to tell by my mother’s sweet appearance, but this woman has the courage of a champion. She battled breast cancer, and won, like Xena the Warrior Princess. She faced move after move after move like a trooper, and can pack like a professional mover. She stood by and held me up when my husband was sick, even though I know she was trembling inside. She may cry at commercials, but my Mom’s courage is the attribute I’d most like to steal from her.

4. Adam’s Ability to Laugh At Himself

My baby brother is, hands down, the funniest person I know. This kid can tell a story like no other, and he’ll have you rolling in the aisles before it’s over.  He’s always willing to put himself into a slightly embarrassing position, especially if it means he’ll get laughs. He’s the life of the party, and the older we get, the more fun we have together. He’s a hoot…I want to be a hoot, too.

5. Heather’s Sense of Loyalty

Think of the most loyal person you know. Loyal down to the very last fiber of their being. That’s Heather. She’s unwavering in her support and love for me, and my husband. She’s always willing to drop everything if I need her (and that’s saying something for a mother of 3 young boys.) For instance, let’s say I decide to run off and join the circus. I’m convinced that when I call Heather to tell her of my newfound desire to be a clown, her response will be something like, “Make sure you let me know when you’ll be coming through our neck of the woods—I’m sure the boys would love to see you in your clown costume!”

6. Sam’s “It” Factor

Sam was Brian’s friend first. I stole him. (Wait…maybe I AM a cat burglar…) Why would I steal my husband’s friend? That’s easy. Sam is the single-most likeable person on the face of this planet, and all the others, too. He’s charming, witty, caring, funny, and down-right adorable. If I could bottle the “It” factor that Sam possesses in spades, we’d all be rich and famous. Ask anyone who knows or has recently met Sam. They’ll all agree. In fact, shortly after I met Sam, I contemplated starting an “I Heart Sam” fan club. With t-shirts and buttons and bumper stickers. The whole nine yards. Somehow, I think that might embarrass him a little. But I know I’d have legions of Sam Fans beating down the door to join.

7. Becca’s Sense of Adventure

Becca and I have been friends since Bill Clinton was in the White House. We were 12 when we met in the 7th grade, and have been fast friends ever since. One day soon I promise to tell you stories about Mr. T, singing to a chicken tender, interpretive dance in the car, and the water balloon incident of 99. One day…

Adventure is Becca’s middle name. Who wants to go to Ireland for the week of St. Patty’s Day? Becca. Who wants to drive to Florida for the weekend? Becca. Who wants to travel the world and take in all there is to see? Becca. Who turns every visit into a memorable experience that we’ll talk about when we’re 80? Becca. She’s afraid of nothing, she’s ready for anything, and don’t crack jokes about making an impromptu visit to Timbuktu because she has her passport ready. I wish I could be that way. I can’t even dream of taking a trip without first planning out every detail, from where we’ll stay to what we’ll eat to themed playlists for the car ride.

8. Jenna’s Grace

Meet Jenna, formerly known as my college roommate. Once upon a time, she and I lived with a man now known as my husband. It was like Three’s Company, without the gay references and Mr. Roper. Jenna is many things: beautiful, intelligent, hilarious, engaging. She is also addicted to many of the same things I am addicted to: coffee, cute babies (particularly her son Jacob), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the great American novel. But I think the thing I admire most about Jenna is her quiet grace. She moves like a dancer, she always knows the right thing to say or do in any situation, and she instantly makes you feel at ease. Me? Well, I’m the elephant in the room that inevitably will put my foot in my mouth, make a weird sound, or trip over something before the evening is over.

And lastly, 9. Alyssa Milano’s Looks

I’ve wanted to be Alyssa Milano since her tomboy days on Who’s the Boss. My short hair was inspired by the cut she sported in Charmed. I don’t ask for much, I just ask that when I look in the mirror in the morning, I look more like her. Everyday I dream that it will happen. Maybe if I end up swiping some of Dad’s positivity, it will happen soon.