Friday, June 17, 2005

Father's Day 2005

I miss my Dad, Bob Seaberg, who passed away in 1993. It seems like forever ago.

I miss his boisterous phone calls, his loyalty to the Portland Trailblazers. I miss his booming voice, even his insistance that I come over to his house to fix something, the lawnmower, or tend to my mother or grandmother, do something for one of them that he felt he did not want to do. Relationships were not his strong suit. But while I have sometimes lamented that my Dad saw me as more of a resource than a son, especially as I got older, I still miss the big galute. He was basically a kind, generous, honest man, and I feel grateful for that.

And I feel blessed to have been given the chance to be a father myself, first, to my perfect thirty something daughters, Stacey and Amy, who live in the Seattle area. Then, 8 years ago, when I met Marie, and I met Marie’s son Blaine, when he was 18, a new father-son relationship was also born.

I spend a lot of time with Blaine. Since I don’t work away from the home these days, I am almost always here to help him with any needs he might have, during the day while his Mom is at work, and we hang out a bit, maybe watch a movie, as we did yesterday, yucking our way, like a coupla' dorks, through genius Will Ferrell’s terrible movie, “Anchorman”.

Blaine is a chess fanatic, reads chess books like he does mysteries. He and his mother both can read a big book in a day. Sheesh, how’d I end up living with these MENSA people? Having gone to work as a volunteer at FreeGeek a year and a half ago, he has learned how to break a computer down and rebuild it, and a great deal about open source software, or LINUX. He is dynamite on crossword puzzles. When I get stuck, I sometimes have to call in Da Man. He is a sports nut, and spends some of his time as a moderator on the Portland Trailblazers Forum (Hear that, Dad?) And just for chucks, give him a math problem, like this number plus this number minus this number times this one divided by this one. He will do it in his head, crunch that thing up and spit out the right answer, everytime.

For Blaine to be such an achiever is an inspiration to many, since he is disabled. Blaine has had spina bifida since birth, hydrocephalus, other disabilities. Being paralyzed from the armpits down, he requires a bit of assistance each day when he rises, and uses a wheelchair.

I paused to say goodnight to Blaine last night, as I passed his room, before heading upstairs. From his wheelchair, he handed me a Sports Illustrated, with an article on the last page by Rick Reilly. I thanked him, and glanced at the article as I climbed the stairs. After seeing what the article was about, I tossed a box of Kleenex on the bed before I slid in and began reading to Marie.

The article is about Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father-son marathoning “team” (www.teamhoyt.com), from Massachusetts. Rick Hoyt, who is 43, has been paralyzed since birth. His father Dick, who is 65, has spent his life caring for his son, and, get this.......running marathons with him, pushing him in a specially made wheelchair, and ..........they have also completed 212 triathlons!!!!! At the end of the article, Rick Hoyt, who communicates by computer keys, calls his Dad “the father of the century”. Marie and I finished the one page article, held hands and wasted a few sheets of tissue. I caught my breath, and returned to Blaine’s room.

“You butt!”, I spoke as I entered his room. “Whut?” he giggled, fully knowing the effect the article would have on me. We embraced, as we do, me bent over his chair, and Blaine slapping my back as we hug. “Wow”, I said, “that’s quite a story, what a guy, taking his son on all those triathlons, helping him have a full life.” “Yeah”, Blaine replied, not known for being overly emotional, unlike his Mom and Dad.

I finally rose to return to bed, after much hugging and slapping. As I reached the stairs, I hollered, “Love ya man”, and Blaine shot back, “You too”.
A few photos of Blaine

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