My nephew Sean turns 20 today. He is the youngest of the children and has suffered some abuse at the hands of his older siblings. No one understands that better than I do with two older brothers and no younger sibling whose life I can ruin. It builds character for sure, but I’m not sure what kind.
My August 21 blog, A Parody Of Ourselves, was your first introduction to Sean:
I saw my 19 year old nephew recently, and he was surprised to hear that my husband and I now have 4 cats. Sean’s deadpan response was “You do realize you’ve become a parody of yourselves?” Yes, we realize it.
Understand that my family has raised sarcasm to an art form; as you can see Sean makes the rest of look like amateurs, although I think Aubrey and I still have him beat on the extreme sport of eye rolling.
Sean is a sophomore at Northwestern studying Theatre. He’s been doing stand-up comedy literally since he was 5 or 6 years’ old and appeared as The Comedy Kid. He did not get laughter and applause just because he was an adorable imp (even though he totally was), he was actually hilariously funny. His comedic timing was impeccable. I knew right then and there he was going to be a contender.
I will modestly mention that Sean starred in every production his high school ever put on stage; Our Town, The Music Man, Welcome to the Monkey House and many more that I’m too senile to remember. Sean says he can’t sing but he does hold his own in musicals. Any musical talent he or the other kids have come from their mom’s side because no one on our side of the family can carry a note, or even schlep one for that matter.
I basically live vicariously through Sean (is that wrong?) because he’s living the very dream of mine that was quashed so many years ago; to be a star of stage and screen. Here’s the biggest difference between me and Sean…he’s actually brimming with talent.
I suck up to Sean much more than the other kids (sorry guys) because he may one day be in a position to give me a bit part on SNL, or let me write a skit or something. I mean, he doesn’t have to identify me as a relative and ruin his reputation or anything.
Sean has always been good with the ladies too. When he was a young teenager I went with Lisa to pick him up from Jew Kid Camp (he loved it, went every summer) and we heard all about his first girlfriend Ashney or Courtley or whatever her name was. Ever since then he seems to always have a cute girlfriend by his side, whom I of course scrutinize to be sure she’s worthy.
I admire nothing more in a person than a sweet tooth, and Sean lives up to all of my expectations. When he was a kid he didn’t get much access to soda, but when he did he really loved it, so sometimes we called him Sugar Water Boy or just Sugar Boy. When Dan and I took him on his Bar Mitzvah trip we went out for ice cream on our last night, and he had an orange soda ice cream float. Don’t ever tell his mom, but he enjoyed it so much that when he finished we told him just that once he could have another one. Two floats in, he was a happy camper.
Sean’s talents extend well beyond the stage. When he was 11 or 12 he befriended a Rabbi who was a holocaust survivor. For his Bar Mitzvah trip, when he could have gone (almost) anywhere he wanted to go, he led Dan and me on a pilgrimage to the Rabbi’s home village in the countryside outside Krakow, and to tour Auschwitz where he was once imprisoned.
It would take me quite some time to tell you the full role he played in the Rabbi’s life and beyond, but at 13 years old, within the confines of the 10 minute time limit imposed by the History Day competition he entered, Sean made a beautiful documentary http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qlAy2sqo7Y In addition to competing, Sean used the video to raise funds toward a memorial to commemorate a desecrated cemetery in the Rabbi’s home village. Pretty amazing kid, right?
It has been my absolute joy and privilege to be a part of Sean’s life, and there’s so much more to come. A thank you note Sean sent us a couple of years ago said something to the effect of “you’ve stood behind me all this time, and I hope you’ve chosen wisely and bet on the right horse. If you did, the payout on your investment will be 520:1.” We’ve already been paid out 10 times that much (approximately) for having him in our lives.
Happy Happy Birthday Sean!