Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Blaine’s 27th Birthday Party

As many of you know, my 27 year-old step-son, Blaine, (my wife Marie’s actual son), has a few “disabilities”, that is, he was born with spina bifida, and some other stuff. Blaine is paralyzed from the armpits down, which of course makes for a laugh riot when one is called on to cut his toenails, and maybe you nick him, by mistake, and say to him, “did that hurt?” Sometimes I tell him, when the pain of gout is bothering me, what a lucky fuck he is to not be able to feel his legs or feet.

I love Blainey to death, he’s my bud, and I tell him so, as I did last night, while his mother and I were watching the news, after I had driven him home in our lift equipped van from his volunteer job at FreeGeek. “I love you with all my heart and soul, Blaine”, I believe were my exact words. Sitting there is his wheelchair, bobbin’ and a weavin’, he gives me this look, like I am completely out of my mind, and says back, “yeah right”, and wheels off. The bastard. Blaine turned 27 just this past week, on July 21st, and since he is so lovable, we decided to host a party for him at the courtyard next to my commercial building, the same courtyard where we store our 1964 Airstream. I have a big barbecue up there, leftover from my days in the food business, and the garden is cute, so we sent out invitations to all of Blaine friends at FreeGeek. We barbecued sausage and served confetti bean salad and spinach feta pockets and salsa and cookies and lemon drops, Blaine’s favourite cocktail. We opened up the Airstream and threw some Pabst on ice. Partially inebriated geek patter filled the air and rose past the tree tops on N.E. Fremont.
Blaine’s strength and bravery are an inspiration to many, including me, and certainly his friends, since life in general, if you are disabled, can many times be difficult, and even exausting. I credit Marie, Blaine’s occasionally exausted Mom, with having helped Blaine achieve such a marvelous disposition and attitude, given the daily struggle.
Blaine graduated from Wilson High School, here in Portland, where his Mom drove him every day, since at the time (he graduated in 1997), Wilson was the most accessible for a person who uses a wheelchair. And though Blaine is not interested in college, he has received a great education by volunteering at FreeGeek, and can break down and assemble computers with the best of 'em. There is nothing wrong with Blaine’s brain. Except when he criticizes his step-dad for believing in the bunt, a baseball strategy which Blaine cannot abide.

Having raised two daughters, Stacey and Amy, I figured I was done having children, but in 1997, when Marie and I met, and fell in love, I began to figure out that I was going to get a son after all. I am one of the luckiest guys on the planet, for having met Marie, and then Blainey, and then having them welcome me into their lives and accept me and love me. Blaine allows me to call him son. Celebrating his birthday this year was great fun. He is one special cat. Blaine is kind, humorous, forgiving, brave, inspiring, generous, honest, charming, and smart. I mean, except about the bunt thing.

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Pacific Beach, Washington, United States