1. When I/we first met Sean …

I may be wrong, but I think the first time I met Sean was when he came out with his parents to spend Christmas with Sean’s grandparents. Unfortunately, about a week earlier, his grandparents had decided to get divorced, or at least to begin a high voltage, dish throwing discussion about getting divorced, so Sean certainly learned to weather the storms of controversy at an early age.

I feel like there have been several meetings with Sean. The second was in 92 when I moved to Iowa and we hung out playing Dungeons and Dragons. Sean was, of course, my intellectual and emotional equal, but that may be because of my stunted maturity, not his accelerated growth. He had a speech impediment then, one he didn’t seem to care about, and he had the same relationship to the world that I had then and currently have now. He seemed to be just on the outside of the melee wondering what the hell everyone was so worked up about.

The soccer games for 8 year olds are not really profound sporting events, they mostly involve groups of the most athletically involved running around in circles in the middle of the field while the future scientists and artists and politicians tend to the occasional ball that rolls towards a goal. Sean was in the midst of his duties one day as goalie, staring off in the wrong direction with his hand in his mouth and suddenly his whole face lit up. A loose tooth that was bothering him came off in his hand and he raced over to the sidelines to give it to his mom. The parents in attendance burst into applause.

Another soccer moment; we were driving down to the field in soaking sheets of rain to watch Sean Patrick play. We pulled up and the rain was running down the windows of the mini-van like we were in a car wash, I didn’t even know we were there until the door opened. When it did, we saw Sean and one friend in complete soccer costume standing alone in the field. Sean came racing to the car and before getting in he held up two fists like a conquering dictator and said, in his broken ‘r’s, ‘Victo-wy! They Fo-fitted!!’

There was a third meeting, when Lucas was in the hospital. I came to help out in any way I could and was asked to spend some time with Sean, to make sure he knew that he was still loved even though all the attention was going to Lucas. It didn’t seem that Sean had ever had any doubt about his place in the universe, but I went into this knowing my assignment, to hang out with a 13 year old boy, probably the worst sort of person there is. What I noticed immediately is that Sean was *exactly* like my friends who were 25 at the time. Maybe it says something about American men, but if Sean could have gotten a fake ID and a beard, my friends would have assumed he just graduated from college. I cracked him up, he cracked me up, and we watched the same TV shows and listened to the same music. It wasn’t a chore, it wasn’t an honor, it wasn’t anything to hang out with him. It was like we were old friends from the same neighborhood. We even made fun of his and my parents.

Running into Sean at 17 was incredible. When he came to New York I kept forgetting I couldn’t take him into bars. He may have finally matured past me at this point. But now we can at least joke about basketball and college and the seedier side of the internet. I really wanted him to come to college in New York, for completely selfish reasons. I just wanted him to be around so I could find out what new albums are good and what new websites are hilarious.

2. When Sean comes to mind, I think of …

His sense of humor. I remember him at six needling Ian about his favorite basketball team. Over and over he would ask Ian why they sucked. When Sean was 16 or so we were walking past a poster of Ricky Martin and Sean said, ‘That’s an artist I like for his music,’ completely straight. When he was 13 he played me a Wesley Willis CD, switching from song to song playing just the first five seconds and laughing like a banshee.

Seriously, Sean’s a good looking dude, there was basically no chance of that not happening with the genes from his mom’s side. But as soon as he realizes that girls like to laugh more than they like anything else, he’s gonna have to put a deli ticker on the door of his dorm room and have a light up sign out front saying which number he’s serving.

3. Advice for Sean’s Future …

Um, seriously? Sean should keep it real. He should keep his head up and go out and do what he has to do to win this game. He should be kind to the lesser things in this world, and be courteous, learned and obedient. He should refrain from farting in an elevator unless it is *really* crowded. And broken. He should start exercising before he ends up looking like his dad and uncle Sean. He should stand up for what he believes in and for ladies entering the room. He should learn to shoot left handed. He should grow up in a small town and live his life in a big city and grow old in a small town. He should swing at the high heat and should hit his backhand flat and down the line. He should never be any cooler than he is now. He should shower at least twice a week, without being asked. He should keep the wall to his left, the sun to his back, the wind to his front and his eyes open.