Dad takes ‘appropriate measures for sons’ emerging independence

Dear Sean and Paul,

It has been 19 years now and this is the first time you guys, your mom and I have been apart on your birthday. I have to tell you that it’s strange, to say the least, not at all pleasant, but it’s a fascinating metaphor for the nearly two decades of your time with us.

Nineteen years ago today you two, well, you didn’t exactly walk into our lives. Maybe marched. Maybe insinuated. Maybe all of those. In any case, you weren’t exactly a surprise. We had some warning of your arrival and took appropriate measures.

Then we kept you around until last August, when you eased your way out of our daily lives. We had some warning of course, and took appropriate measures. Not that it made much of a difference, sort of like the last time.

You’re now at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, which we thought would be really close. But, duh, this is Colorado and there is this impediment between here and there known as the Rocky Mountains. In short, you’re a long way off, especially in the winter, which is when some genius decided that classes needed to be conducted. Spring isn’t much better, maybe less predictable, and you guys have moved on to schedules about which we know little. In short you have begun your own lives, and we’re on the periphery of them.

We do know a few things, though, starting with the obvious. Sean, you’re a business major moving toward a computer-information system concentration. Somewhat frighteningly, I can write those words and have no idea what they mean. Presumably, you do. We suspect as much, especially since you seem to have an aptitude for setting the curve on tests over this kind of stuff. Whatever it is.

Paul, you started off as a statistics major with a minor in economics, but after a letter from the dean it looks like you have been persuaded to double major. We’re told these letters are on the leading edge of unusual.

Thanks to the modern miracle called “texting,” we have been able to keep up a bit better with you than our parents did with us when we were in college. We have enjoyed the occasional peek into your lives, so we know that you have played in an indoor football league. As I recall, the result of the closest contest was roughly equivalent to the fate of the Light Brigade, but you enjoyed yourselves and learned to appreciate the small victories, an interception, a first-down catch, that sort of thing.

For everything you learn at college, those lessons on the indoor football field, where you guys were grossly overmatched and undersized, are probably every bit as valuable. Still, you have pumped iron and worked out with the best of them. From what we could tell, you guys might not have struck fear into the hearts of the opposition, but they came away appreciating that you gave your all. There’s nothing wrong with that, and they might remember that some time later.

It won’t hurt you guys to have long memories, either, no matter how that plays out. Guys who would give you a hand up after beating you straight up are worth remembering. Likewise for the ones who won’t.

I’d like to tell you more about yourselves but, as your mom has observed on more than one occasion, you are growing away from us. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but there’s nothing wrong with boiled vegetables either. Doesn’t mean we have to like it, or them.

I’ve talked with some other twins or their parents and I’ve been surprised that so many have split early on, headed in such different directions as to take them to opposite sides of the continent. We chose to encourage you guys to hang together and we think it’s working. We hope you agree. You guys are learning much about partnership and independence at the same time, no easy lesson.

You’re just freshmen, so there’s not much use in trying to predict what the future holds, for you and for us. What we can so far is this: We’re looking out as far as we can to prepare you whatever awaits and help you take appropriate measures.

Happy 19th birthday.



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