That proud teary eyed feeling

Tonight I was digging through Noah’s backpack looking for his homework book that goes back and forth between school. It wasn’t there, but I found a little piece of paper buried underneath his snow pants.

Apparently a few weeks ago as part of a smaller group of the class they did an exercise where they each said something nice about the other people in the group. Some of the things written made me feel so proud and to tear up a bit.

He likes including everyone.

He’s kind and makes people happy when they’re sad.

On a scale of 1 to 10 if someone is below a 5 he brings them up to 10.

It’s incredibly nice to hear that others see the kind thoughtful boy that I see and know.

Our Team

Our Team

Another post about my work, I know, I know, but this one is a bit different. I talk a lot about Automattic, the work we do, and how much I love it. The people are a huge part of that, and they are all great. This post is about a small group of those Automatticians though, our team, team Jupiter.

These are the folks I have the privilege of working everyday. We're a team of ten including me, and I'm thankful for everyone of them. Each has their own strengths and skills and compliment each other very nicely. When talking about our most recent team meetup I went into a bit more detail about how diverse we are.

We lean on each other for support, we have fun and joke together, we can complain and vent to each other safely. We can also come together to make things happen.

The end of last week I pitched a half baked idea for something I figured we'd be able to try to have a big impact on the work we do. We takes it over, there were some concerns, but everyone was willing to give it a try. It's early on but already it seems to be having an impact. We've found things that could be better as we go and are coming up with a good process on the fly.

I'm so thankful to this hard working group for everything they do, but feeling especially proud this week to be part of Team Jupiter.

Dance Competition Dad

For the past two weekends our family has stepped into the world of dance competitions for the first time. All three of our oldest daughters have been involved with dance at some point. Alexandria no longer does as horse riding has become her main activity. Although Noah loves to shake it around the house hasn’t been interested in following his sisters when we’ve talked with him about it. He’d rather soccer and basketball.

Caile still takes one dance class currently, it’s a musical theatre class as she really enjoys drama and this gives a good mix of that with dance. Ella though I’m pretty sure would dance all day everyday no questions asked.

This year we put her into a dance troupe within her dance company Dance Conxion. They have been practicing and rehearsing a bunch of dances this session and last weekend was the first of dance competition season.

If you had of told me not many years ago that I would be spending my weekends driving to and watching dance competitions I would have called you crazy. So fast forward and seeing the fact that I am actually enjoying myself very much is a shock to me.

I’ve always known dancing is hard and takes a lot of skill, strength, and memory, but these weekends have really blown me away. Watching all these dancers perform dance after dance and pretty much nail it every time is so impressive. At such a young age to be able to do the moves they are doing, remember all the steps for all the songs, and do them in sync and in precision timing, has just blown me away.

I’m still not sure at my age that there is anything in this world I’m as good at as they are at dance at their young age.

Even if Ella and the rest of her fellow dancers weren’t raking in the awards and medals I’d still be proud of what an awesome job they all are doing. I’m very thankful for the dedicated, kind, and creative instructors who have choreographed some wonderful numbers and helped get them to this level.

Proud Father

Today has been an extremely proud day for me. My children never cease to amaze me in all the things they can do and accomplish. Today it was my three daughters who all really out did themselves.

Alexandria finished writing her exams today. When we arrived home after the last one this afternoon she checked online and all the marks were in except for the one she wrote today. Over the past few weeks she has been working extra hard at studying for these exams. We have pushed her hard and she answered by buckling down and keeping with it. Her efforts really paid off and all the marks reflected that. It hasn’t been the easiest year, but she proved once again that when she tries her best she is capable of doing very well.

Tonight Caile and Ella simply blew me away. They have been working hard for a long time now preparing to put on the play Wizard of Oz at there school. It has meant lots of learning lines both at school, during long practice days and also here at home. Today was show time, they put on three shows today starting this morning and then we just got home shortly ago.

They spent most of the play on screen with Caile being Dorthy and Ella right with her as Toto. The whole production and everyone involved did an amazing job, but seeing them up together filled my heart with pride and happiness and at points brought tears to my eyes which doesn’t happen very often.

Caile was always my shy and reserved child so to see her up in front of a large audience shining was almost strange but felt so wonderful. Ella was only given the role of Toto a couple weeks ago but she put everything into it and learned her lines and cues so fast.  The two of them together seemed like naturals on the stage.

Here is just a small clip of them on stage together alone with Caile singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

A Proud and Grateful Son

A Proud and Grateful Son

From a very young age my Mother and I were good friends. We had four years where I was the only child and we grew a strong bond. Even though she was really almost a child herself she spent time with me, read to me, played with me, and talked with me. I’m convinced that anything good in me has come from my Mother. Watching how she handled and sacrificed herself through many trials she never gave up. She always did what she saw as best for her family even if I didn’t always see it at the time.

Being young and a bit rebellious, as many teenagers can be, she found herself in a relationship and married to an abusive alcoholic. Having moved across the Country with no friends or family I can only imagine how stuck and helpless she felt. This whole part of her life could easily be a best selling novel. Thankfully she found a great support system within a Church. Despite the abuse and very real threats on her life if she were ever to leave, and with the Churches help, she found the courage and the strength to take us three kids and get away.

It took lots of planning and one day while he was away at work we packed up what we could and flew away. The actual leaving was only the first part though. We were essentially in hiding. We couldn’t move close to family for fear of being found, so we moved close to friends she had made within her Church community. I’m still amazed at the strength this had to take. It’s not hard to understand that after an experience like that, and the support received, she would then become deeply involved with the Church.

We spent most of my child hood living on social assistance with my mother doing what ever she could to make ends meet. Knowing how much money we lived on blows me away. How she ever kept us all fed and housed let alone with the extras we managed to scrounge is almost unbelievable. Although I didn’t always see it this way. There were many times I was angry at her when we couldn’t do things like other families, or I couldn’t get something I wanted because there wasn’t the money for it. The way my mother handled this though taught me how to work hard and how to manage money.

For the next seven years she raised three kids on her own. I get overwhelmed with my four kids and I have an amazing wife and the support of all my family around. Knowing that you weren’t going to have anyone show up to give you any sort of break had to be demoralizing at times. It’s no wonder that when she finally met a man who recently started at her Church she ended up rushing into marrying him.

Unfortunately he didn’t really share the values she was looking for, and he certainly didn’t want to be a family man. He was still a step up from her last husband as there wasn’t physically abuse. But things like lies, unfaithfulness and lots of fighting are certainly not the building blocks of a healthy marriage. The one good thing that came out of this short lived union is my youngest sister. He showed his true colours even more after she was born by not being a part of her life at all.

It was about this time that I started falling away from the beliefs of the Church I had been brought up in. Although I very much appreciate the people who supported my family I can separate the community side of things from the religious side. I love the community aspect just not everything else that came with it. This falling away partly caused me to rebel against my mother and the beliefs of the Church, this put a large strain on mine and my Mothers relationship.

A few years later she was introduced to a man who had been a long member of her Church but not from our local area. He was also divorced and they met at a single adult event the Church put on. This man truly held the same beliefs my mother had and is a kind a gentle man. He worked hard to to get to know all of us and was completely fine with the fact that my mother was a single parent of four children and that we were a package deal.

When he proposed I was happy for her and I knew he would treat her the way she deserved to be treated and be a faithful and loving husband. However I was not happy for myself. After moving around a lot in my early years and struggling to make good friends I was finally in a place where I was happy. Being only a couple years away from graduating from high school this would mean I would have to once again pack up and move away. By telling my mother that I was not going to move with her it almost caused her to call off the wedding. Thankfully I had the good sense to set aside my selfishness and told my mother to go ahead with the wedding and that I would move with her.

Once they were married, and the move was complete, it didn’t take me long to make my way back to my friends leaving my family behind. This put even more stain on our already rough relationship. In fact long periods of time would go by where I wouldn’t even talk to her. Although I feel ashamed at the worry and grief I must have caused her, almost throwing my life away by dropping out of school and not having a fixed address, I feel I learned a lot about myself and gained experiences that has helped me become who I am today.

Eventually I moved back with my family but I was still head strong to go my own way. I’m quite certain the birth of my oldest daughter is my what saved me, putting me back on a proper life path. No matter what I did or the pain I must have caused my Mother still was always there for me when ever I needed her. When my relationship with my oldest’s mother came to an end she welcomed me to move in until I got back on my feet again, no questions asked.

My mother has spent the last 18 years raising her kids and turning the 200+ year old house that she had moved into with her husband from, what my youngest sister described as a haunted house, into a warm and loving home. A few years ago though my youngest sister left home and this left just the two of them. Recently my mother has also fallen away from the Church. With no children left to worry about, and their diverging beliefs, it was just a matter of time before the marriage would come to an end.

Just like the rest of the Church community, I will always be grateful to her husband. He played a great role in all our lives over the years and helped raise my sisters. When ever I needed anything he was always there and happy to do what he could to help as well. During their lives together my Mother was able to grow from a single parent on social assistance to an even stronger and more brave woman than she already was. She actually works two jobs where she will be able to provide for herself and one of them is an absolute perfect fit. She works at a shelter for women and children. Her personal experience and her grace under pressure give her the ability to make a difference and help people the way she was once helped.

Yesterday I went and helped her move out of this home she had built. The whole time all I could think of is how proud I am of her. It has to be a scary thing to move out on her own and leave a home and a marriage she as put almost two decades into. Let alone away from the safety of a two income home and the Church community she has dedicated so much of her life to. It won’t be a popular decision with everyone and I’m sure there is going to be hurt feelings and eventually sides chosen. I hope that isn’t the case, however it seems inevitable in times like this.

I’m proud of my Mother, and I’m extremely grateful that we worked through our rough times so we are once again friends. She is finally going to have the opportunity to live her life for her. She has dedicated so much time sacrificing for other people she has earned the right to do what ever she wants to be happy. As her son, and friend, I will do what ever I can to help her achieve that.