Eighteenth birthdays arrived unbearably soon for twin sons

Dear Sean and Paul,

When I wrote the first of these letters 18 years ago (give or take a week here or there,) I didn’t exactly anticipate that this day would arrive. I have commented on more than a few occasions that its arrival was less than welcome.

I have even openly speculated that refusing to feed you might fend off the inevitable.

Sadly, it has not.

The day that I was hoping to forestall, however, has, with inexorable cosmic precision, arrived. Or will, on Friday, when you guys turn 18.

It doesn’t seem eight years ago that I noted with some consternation you had hit the decade mark, and yet it has been.

Your high school graduation is barely a month away, so it seems time to review and look a bit ahead.

As of now, it looks as though you two will graduate with ease. (Dare your mom and I say 4.0s or better? Yes, we do.)

I don’t mind mentioning that each of you have received some handsome scholarship offers from reputable schools.

Not that we doubted your ability to do well. Sean, you have always displayed a rare ability to push aside all the drama and distraction and focus on the things you need to accomplish your goals. I can think of many a time that I’ve stuck my head in your room to see you curled up with a book or cursing a particularly nasty statistical curveball.

I did want to note, Sean, that you kindly declined the opportunity to rub in too deeply the green-and-gold victory in the Super Bowl.

I have to tell you I’m pretty impressed with your ability to shut out whatever else is going on and concentrate on the stuff you need to do.

Of course, it could just be that you need to get away from the likes of the rest of us. Hey, if it works ...

Or it could be that you just need some space from your bro, who of late has discovered the humorous joys of failblog.org while ostensibly doing his homework.

I say “ostensibly,” but the fact seems to be, Paul, that you get it done. I’d kind of like to know how. Then again, maybe not.

Actually, I’m pretty much aware that while one part of your brain is cavorting somewhere frivolous, another part is churning away on some real issue.

That’s when, of course, you aren’t also mocking up the draft for the Broncos and studying whether the owners or the NFL Players Association ought to prevail in the most recent iteration of litigation.

The upshot is that you two seem to have refined your separate approaches to life, each reflecting your individual skills.

How that plays out from here is anyone’s guess. Your mom and I wouldn’t exactly be heartbroken if you chose to hang around for a couple more years.

There is still so much we’d like to do with you. We never took you to the Alamo, much less the Smithsonian. We haven’t even managed to get to Montana, though we have spent many an hour in the cold waters of the Colorado River and the Grand Mesa and we did frolic in the warm waters of the Big Island and peered from a distance (not necessarily a safe one) at the molten makings of the Earth, a process that is pumping new rock into the Pacific, much as it did right here a few million years ago.

My point is that, while we haven’t shown you the world, we’ve managed to introduce you to parts of it in the hopes you’ll find something you want to explore more.

Not that any of that can’t wait, of course.

We have another summer to come, and the vagaries of the world might keep you at home for another year, maybe two, pursuing the beginnings of your college careers.

Some day, that will change, of course. In the meantime, though, trout still hunger for a well-cast fly in western Colorado streams we know, fairways remain to be trod together (a few bets remain to be paid off to your elders,) and maybe someday you’ll see a ringneck pheasant from an entirely different perspective.

Either way, the back porch also needs to be stained and I could use a hand with the irrigation system.




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