One on one with Nathan

Nathan at the Moda Center.

Nathan at the Moda Center.

A day after Christmas, I had an early birthday celebration with Jordan, my youngest son. We went out for burgers and beer, then saw the Blazers crush the Philadelphia 76ers, the team with the worst record in the NBA.

Last night, I had a belated birthday celebration with Nathan, my oldest son. We went to a hipster bar at happy hour, then saw the Blazers squeeze out a win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the glamour team that’s fallen on hard times.

Two father-and-son outings 10 days apart, affording one-on-one time with each of my boys. Good grub, light conversation and pro basketball. What more could I wish for? Other than to do this every month…

Seeing the Lakers with Kobe Bryant is one thing. He is, after all, one of the two biggest stars in the league along with LeBron James.

Seeing the Lakers without Kobe Bryant is another thing entirely. Without him to root against as the visiting villain, you actually feel a little sorry for his overmatched teammates. The Lakers came into the game with 11 wins and 23 losses and with their injured superstar unable to play, they left Portland with their 24th loss.

The Blazers’ two All-Stars carried the team, with Damian Lillard exploding for 39 points and LaMarcus Aldridge chipping in  21. The two scored Portland’s final 24 points as the Blazers pulled out a 98-94 win.

Damian Lillard, left, and LaMarcus Aldridge carry the Blazers to another victory.

Damian Lillard, left, and LaMarcus Aldridge carry the Blazers to another victory.

The game was the icing on the cake, however.

Time with our first-born child was the real treat.

Even though Nathan lives just 10 miles away, we don’t see him as often as you might think. He’s got a lot going on as a café cook and a DJ, and with his girlfriend Sara, he leads a busy social life.

Just last week, he was in Seattle to DJ a ’90s dance night on New Year’s Eve. This weekend, he and Sara are off to Phoenix to spend some time with her parents and sister, joining in a belated Christmas celebration.

The mandatory selfie.

The mandatory selfie.

We talked about our resolutions for the new year, both involving a desire to slow down a little to nurture friendships, and found common ground last night in exercising restraint on our menu choices. No double-patty burgers for us. Just a couple of small salads, shared orders of sliders and a single basket of fries. That was in keeping with another resolution of mine to practice portion control.

Nathan will turn 35 this year. It makes me happy to see him gainfully employed, in a relationship with a woman we love, and to have him living in the same city as us. All the better to enjoy his company on an evening where we could leave work behind and just chill.

Blazers photograph: Bruce Ely, The Oregonian

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