I went through an old notebook yesterday, in which I knew I'd written a great deal about Andy as he grew up, thinking that I might find something there that I could reprint over here in order to celebrate his 34th birthday. It took place yesterday, and all three of us celebrated by having two video chats with him, one pretty lengthy.
But what I found there were perhaps four or so entries I wrote between the time he was about a month old and when he was six, and as I read them, too much of what I wrote was me worrying about my parenting skills. Not that there weren't passages, many of them, that celebrated the little boy I loved, and was so proud of, but I quickly decided that they weren't how I should celebrate him. They were mile posts along the first six years of his life, and in reading what I wrote, I was transported back and reminded of what he looked like, sounded like, acted like - but they were not what he is today, except insofar as those things were building blocks to the man who is my son.
Andrew Louis McNeill Berlien is:
A passionate lover of democracy;
A man whose sense of humor is wicked, twisted, gleeful and of a multi-faceted nature;
A naturally gifted musician, whose long fingers are equally at home on stringed instruments and studio gauges;
A singer whose low, liquid tenor can take the lead or the harmony with no difficulty;
A writer who taught himself how to write radio plays, and to harness his own sense of humor, and experience as a Firesign Theater fan, to entertain listeners;
An actor whose comedic stone face - as good as any Buster could muster - can lead fellow actors into breaking character in fits of of giggles;
A man whose ability to think logically, and to proffer logic when he writes about things about which he is passionate (democracy, civility, Doctor Who) would be a welcome addition to any debater's bag of tricks;
A man whose native kindness and willingness to help bear the burdens of others, has helped friends, strangers, and family for years;
A man who has grown braver as he's grown older; calmer and more determined to do the right thing;
A human who understands his own faults - and make no mistake, he has them in spades, just as we all do - is matched by his resolve to control or eliminate them;
A man who loves hiking, biking. photography, good sushi, Japanese korroke and Kurosawa, any kind of music as long as it's Got That Swing, skiffy fandom, Doctor Who (did I mention Doctor Who?) and so much more;
A devoted husband, loving son, and all round fine human being.
Happy Birthday, dearest son. May we share many more of them.
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