I believe that anyone with children will understand why I found these moments, occurring back to back today, so moving.

Venue: tech-centric conference, The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, in partnership with UCSD in La Jolla, with speakers, attendees, and overall crowd having a heavy representation of West Coast-based startups and researchers.

Moment 1: I introduce myself to a big-shot member of a medical-research panel. She says, "Fallows ...  where have I heard that name? Are you involved with ...?" and mentions the company run by one of our sons, of which her institute is a client.

A few minutes later, Moment 2: With someone else I'm discussing how the changes and distortions in the U.S. retail landscape --increasing dominance by Amazon, next-tier troubled dominance of the Big Box stores -- constitute a surprising barrier to small, innovative American manufacturing firms. The reasons this is so are interesting, but they're for another time. For now, my topic is the follow-up comment by the San Francisco tech exec I was talking with. He mentioned an interesting new express-delivery service that might help smaller merchants -- and which as it happens is run by our other son.

In our kids' very early age, when they were too young to notice or understand anything we might be saying about them, my wife and I sometimes wrote about them, their schools, their experiences in Japan, etc. Then as they became print-sentient we stopped, for many years. Until now, when I note the wonderful, touching, moment of being known for those we still think of as our little boys.