A letter to my daughter on her first birthday

My dearest Elizabeth,

I can’t believe we’re here already. It feels like yesterday that I got to hold you for the first time.

You are growing ever more beautiful, and you’re smart – I stand amazed at how you figure out new things each day. You’re becoming your own little person, and as difficult as it is to admit you’re my little baby a little less every day, that is something incredible to behold.

As the Psalmist said, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

The world has become a bit more scary in the past year, but every day good things happen as well, if you know where to look for them. This past year we’ve embarked on a grand adventure, moving to a new home with new things for you to see and do. I’m sorry for all the stress and disruption it caused you, but you did brilliantly. I’m so proud of you.

You’ve learned what it is to be hurt, tired, uncomfortable, and frightened. But I know you also know what it feels like to be loved, to be cared for, and to be safe, though you can’t name those feelings yet. You’ve learned that if you call, someone comes, and that’s much more than many people know.

You were born knowing how to cry, but you’ve since learned to laugh, something you do every day, and it’s the most beautiful sound that exists in this universe. I understand why that’s the sound the story says gives birth to fairies…

There’s a big year ahead of you. A year in which you’ll learn to walk and talk, and start to take care of yourself in little ways. You’ll learn to make choices, and with that you’ll make mistakes. It will be a while still before you’ll learn about regret, but in the coming year you’ll definitely start learning about consequences, even if you won’t quite understand them yet.

I want you to know that I’ll be there each step of the way. I won’t always do the right thing. Some days I’ll act without thinking. Some days I’ll hurt you without meaning to. But I’ll do everything I can to be there when you need me, to teach you and guide you and protect you.

This parenting thing is very much a case of making it up as you go along, but you seem happy, so I think we’re doing it right. I can only hope one day when you read this that you’ll agree with me.

Happy Birthday, my child, and good luck with the next year of your life. It’s gonna be awesome.

With all my love,

Dad

It’s no secret…

It’s no secret that I’ve been sorely neglecting this blog. That goes against my belief that if one does something, one should do it properly. Consequently I’ve come to a very difficult decision.

Watch this space…

On the road again

Has this been a busy two months. Since you last heard from me we’ve welcomed tooth number two into the world, I’ve bought a house, the wife finished her last day as a teacher, we’ve moved to a different part of the country, and I’m about to spend about 20 hours on uncomfortable airport chairs and even more uncomfortable airplane chairs.

You’re right, that’s way too much for one blog post, to let me focus on the present for now.

One of the drawbacks of working for a distributed company like Automattic is that you don’t get to see your co-workers very often. We’re constantly communicating with each other online, and most teams have a video chat once a week just so we don’t completely forget how to communicate verbally, but it’s not the same as the dynamic you get when sitting in the same room with someone, chatting with them.

So at least once a year (aside from the big all-company meetup in September) each team gets an opportunity to get together somewhere in the world and have some face-time while working on a project to either improve our own skills or do something that benefits our company and our users.

Last week this time I was locking the door of my empty apartment, my home for seven years, to start a new chapter on  South Africa’s east coast. Now I’m sitting at Durban International Airport waiting to board my first flight of three that will take me to Lisbon, Portugal, to spend a week the people I work with most closely every day.

I must confess, it gets harder to leave each time. Due to complications with our house buy (watch this space) we couldn’t move in on the date we’d planned to, so we’re currently staying with the wife’s brother and his family. It’s a tad chaotic, and we suspect the Minion is spawning some more teeth, which doesn’t help the situation much. So I feel bad leaving the wife with all that while I jet off to an exotic location for a week.

And I always have this nagging fear in the darkest corners of my mind that something will happen that will prevent me from coming home to them. I know. It’s silly.

But hey, they just announced boarding for my flight so I gotta run. See y’all soon!