Two decades of letters don’t relieve angst of sons’ absence

Dear Sean and Paul,

It has been two decades now that I’ve written these letters to you, documenting how you have grown over the course of 7,300 days.

Your mom and I have changed little over that time, as I can easily see by looking in the mirror and squinting real hard.

You, though, seem to change every time we see you, which is probably not surprising because we see you on limited occasions now.

As you see this letter for the first time, we’re all in Fort Collins celebrating your 20th, which is Monday. A year ago today, your Grandpa Wilson died, and I was unable to mention that in the last letter, but I wanted to make sure he was remembered.

That wasn’t terribly long after we got to celebrate Tim Tebow hitting Demaryius Thomas across the middle to give the Denver Broncos a playoff victory, their first in many a year. We won’t discuss what happened a year later, but I know your grandfather thought that moment was extraordinary. He also enjoyed his lunch at Hooters some time before then — almost as much as the two of you.

Of course, that was back when you two lived in Grand Junction and those were the days that your mom and I knew, or thought we had reason to know, everything about your days.

Now you are sophomores at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, which your mother and I describe as “hell and gone over there.”

You’ve taken advantage of the opportunities in the metro area, catching Rockies games, for instance. Paul, you’ve become a Rams fan and were in Moby Arena to see much of CSU’s run to March Madness.

Sean, you aren’t much for crowds, so you’ve put your evenings to good use, as well, cracking the books. I’m pleased to recall for you that you were invited this year to join the honors program at CSU. We’re pretty excited about that, your mother and I, having the two of you in the honors program.

In your time at home, we went pheasant hunting, which I have to tell you was a fascinating sensation for me. Paul, you carried your grandfather’s 12-gauge shotgun and Sean, you had your great-grandfather’s 16-gauge.

I like to think their original owners were pleased as well to know they were being carried through the fields of fall and being shouldered to the whirr of pheasant wings.

Of course, I wasn’t as affected by the moment as that chukar that got up between you two. I think four, maybe five feathers were intact once the smoke cleared. In any case, we ate no chukar that night, though we did have pheasant.

Our memories of your last visit sustain us as we go along these days. That and texts.

It’s nothing for us to have more than a thousand texts to clear off our cell phones every few months. I’m not even sure how we get them all.

They do, however, let us stay in unobtrusive contact with you, or so we think.

It’s not the same thing as being there, however. We’re frequently assured by acquaintances that this is all part of life and overall a good thing, a necessary step toward your certain independence as you gain more control over your lives.


OK, idiot savants. So what if they’re right? So what if I’m one of them on occasion? That will make it no easier to pile back in the car and head hell and gone home.

So remember: Study hard, get plenty of rest and text your mother. I’ll catch up as we go along.




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