Sunday, October 18, 2015

On my son's 30th birthday

Old people tell young people all the time that life is short and passes fast and young people don't believe it. It's been that way since the earth started turning.

My son, Sean, turned 30 today and while it seems like it was only yesterday, more reflection reveals how much has been packed into those 30 years.

When he was a baby, Sean wasn't really into being held and rocked. As a toddler, when you picked him up to hold, he'd go limp so he'd slither back down. Sean was always in a hurry to be on his own.

Of my 62 years, I've spent almost half of them now thinking about Sean, off somewhere being on his own, and worrying about him and his brother. As I've written before, the Collinses come from a long line of worriers. It's what we do, even though it accomplishes nothing.

But your children are capable of constant surprises.

Like this one that occurred at Oshkosh this year (the picture above was taken at Oshkosh).

The night Sean and I flew over for the second half of AirVenture (his brother, Patrick, and I had flown over for the first half), we walked over to a restaurant on the other side of the airport, for which there was along line. We were invited to cool our heels at the karaoke bar outside; and so we did.

Sean, who I think is the type not to put himself "out there"(like his father, to a degree), grabbed the list of songs and searched for a proper victim.

I told him I was surprised he'd get up in front of people and sing. But he said he had a friend who took him to a karaoke bar not long ago and got up to sing. And he said if she could do it, then he could too.

And so he did, and while the Doors' People are Strange might not have been exactly pitch perfect, it was perfect, nonetheless.

And that's the way our children are. Like the rest of us, they are not perfect. And yet they are.

Friday, February 27, 2015

When times are perfect

Back when my two sons were very young (10 or 11 or so), I shared a pair of season tickets to the Minnesota Timberwolves with some people at work. It provided a good opportunity to spend some time with each kid.

At the time, the Timberwolves were a pretty good team, thanks primarily to a 19-year old kid named Kevin Garnett.

The games were fun, but incidental to the goal -- time. Good times.

On several occasions, the times were perfect. I'd be sitting watching my son -- both of them at different times -- full into the moment, late in a game, standing and cheering with the rest of a sold-out house.

"This is perfect," I would think to myself. "I want this feeling to last forever."

It didn't last forever, of course. Perfect times are few. We do the best we can, we deal the things life throws our way and we move along.

I've had season tickets to the Timberwolves for many years since, although I gave them up this season because the quality of the product hasn't been very good, even though the goal stayed the same -- spending time with my kids.

But last week, the Timberwolves made a trade, to bring Garnett, now almost 39, back to the city. And Sean, and Patrick and I had already made plans to attend the game on Wednesday night, days before we knew that for the first time in more than a decade, the good times were possible again.

We struggle to explain these moments -- and the Garnett return in particular -- to those who don't follow sports. Yes, it's about a game, but it's also about moments.

My oldest son, Sean, almost 30 now, dug out the foam finger with "#23 KG" scribbled on it. Garnett had given him the autograph when he was 19, when Sean was 10. Patrick, soon to be a 27 year old, brought his passion, which he's brought to every day since the day he was born, I think.

And together we went back in time. And as Garnett lifted the crowd for more than two hours, the crowd lifted us.

At various times, I watched my 30 year old and my 28 year old stand and cheer with the sold-out house. And I sat and thought, "This is perfect. I want this feeling to last forever."