Sitting above my home desk, viewable with the slightest glance up, are two images that provide all of the inspiration I'll ever need. When life gets frustrating or I'm feeling particularly lazy, all it takes is a single look and life immediately pops into crystal-clear perspective. Colin, of course, is featured prominently in both.
One of the images, shown above, was taken at Ristuccia Arena, the Boston Bruins practice facility, sometime during the 2003-04 NHL season. We were occasional visitors to the team's open practices, with Colin being the recipient of many ice-cold pucks from Bruins players. Those visits, I believe, planted the seeds of our hockey adventure.
The other image is this mock front page from the Boston Herald (my employer at the time), commemorating his birth. I'd waited a few months to create the page, wanting to capture the first few months of his life in photographs to use as pieces of art.
Beyond the main photo (another one of my all-time favorites), I get the biggest kick out of the main headline. I must admit, it isn't mine. It came from a Herald colleague, who used it for the newsroom announcement. It was simply too good to pass up.
I'm getting nostalgic today because it's Colin's 11th birthday. Right now, we're getting ready for his party at a mall rink and then we'll catch a movie. We'll cap his day attending a Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer game.
As a daddy, all I can say is just how quickly the days have passed. It doesn't seem all that long ago that he was just a toddler, looking up at me with his curious eyes, bouncing on my knee, as NHL players went through practice less than 50 feet away.
These days, we're both wrestling a bit with his transition from a little boy to a 'tween. As much as I'd like for him to stay a "little boy," and I get the sense that feeling is mutual, I'm noticing he's growing more mature every day. I know, too, that his teenage years, and all that can entail, await.
We wouldn't have it any other way.
With any luck, and we know it will take a ton of that and skill, Colin will find himself living out his dream. As a daddy, I'm sure my eyes will fill with tears of joy should that ever happen. If it doesn't, it won't be for the lack of trying. As his father, though, I can only hope he shares our love of hockey with his children.
All things considered, I'll be proud of either accomplishment. No matter his age, he'll always be my little boy.
And, really, I wouldn't have it any other way.