Monday, November 03, 2008

The Great Sebastian

I hereby confess that I have become an increasingly sentimental slob who marks the passage of time with the annoying frequency of a cuckoo clock. That said, I have just cause to celebrate the landmark date of November 8, 2008. Most importantly, it is the 10th birthday of the little fellow tweaking the rather prominent proboscis of the apparently irritated old fart in the picture to the right. November 8 also marks the end of a decade that has left an indelible change in my life.

Ten years have just about passed since my wife Laurie and I first moved up here to Oregon and the reason is named Sebastian (AKA The Great Sebastian). His parents asked us earlier in the year if we would consider transplanting our operations, such as they were, from Stockton, California to the Pacific Northwest where they lived. Why, you might ask? So that when he was born, the baby in question could be cared for by his grandmother, that being Laurie.

It didn't take much convincing. Laurie was on board right away while I needed some cajoling. However, Sebastian's parents pretty much sealed the deal with me when, on Father's Day of 1998, I was presented with a sonogram of the little tyke in a frame that read "I Love My Grandpa". This began the first of a series of blubberings from me that continue to this day. Excuse me...I need a moment...

We had scheduled our trip to coincide with the boy's birth which, coincidentally enough, turned out to be not only the exact day, but almost at the very same time. I've always liked to say that We landed at PDX (Portland International Airport) at the same time Sebastian Richard Silber landed at Providence St. Vincent Hospital.

Two months later, we picked up and got the hell outta Dodge...or Stockton, as it were and moved to the sprawling megalopolis known as Beaverton, Oregon, right around the corner from Nike World Headquarters. For the next year, Sebastian was indeed cared for by the loving hands of his grandmother and his grandfather was never the same again.

I realized almost immediately Sebastian had become a missing piece of the puzzle that is my life. In him, I discovered for the very first time the phenomenon known as pure unconditional love, something that is found in the innocence of a child and to be the recipient of it is a feeling of great euphoria, one of the strongest I've ever experienced. He has given me the strength to be able to endure many of the hardships and transitions I've had to face in starting over up here in Oregon and always been the reason to go on. I guess that's the whole point, isn't it? Of course, you can probably tell by the W.C.Fields/Baby LeRoy nature of that photograph that it has always been my extreme pleasure to make that boy laugh as often as possible and keep that smile on his face as long as I can. It is also my privilege to so and, I feel, my duty. Oh, who am I kidding? That kid's the best audience I ever had. You think I'm going to pass that up? He can tweak my nose any time he wants...and has.

I guess you can kinda tell that I'm crazy about this kid. He means the world to me.

This is why I begin to reflect on the decade that has just passed to see where I've been and to chart the road that's ahead. in the next little, interspersed with the rest of the nonsense on these pages, there will be a considerable amount of space devoted to Portland-The First Ten Years: The Good, The Bad and The Damp.

As for The Birthday Boy, I leave you these words:

"And when you finally fly away

I'll be hoping that I served you well

For all the wisdom of a lifetime

No one can ever tell

But whatever road you choose

I'm right behind you, win or lose."-Forever Young by Rod Stewart

Happy Birthday, Sebastian

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