Christmas is a time to be with the ones you love. At least, that’s what all the movies and sentimental WhatsApp messages everyone keeps sending me tell me, so it must be true.
Anyway, my work includes some amount of travel, and every time the hardest part is saying goodbye to the Missus and the Minion. I usually go drop them off at the in-laws, so I know they’re not alone at home and that both sets of grandparents are close by to help out in a crisis.
But it doesn’t change the fact that I miss them like crazy, and that from the moment I wave goodbye to them before going through airport security I’m aching to get back to them.
My trip to Orlando this September was no exception, and was probably worse – how can one not dwell on family if you’re literally across the road from Disney Springs? How can I walk past a Princess Boutique and not want to take my little girl there, or visit Diagon Alley and not wish I could apparate my wife, who is as much a fan as I am, there with me?
Then I found the Lego store in Disney Springs, and decided to find my family…
I have many old books in my house, collected from second hand shops, flea markets and church fêtes over the years. Today the Minion discovered this in a dusty old copy of Black Beauty (publication date unknown)…
It seems pretty old. I wonder how it made it all the way across the Atlantic.
Was it a love letter from a soldier to his sweetheart back home?
A letter to a little girl from her pen-pal on the other side of the world?
A secret missive smuggled across the ocean in a children’s book?
Okay, okay. That third one wouldn’t require a stamp. But still. If this stamp could talk, I wonder what tale it would tell.
Yesterday, three years ago, I started my Happiness trial at Automattic.
Today I’m at the start of my third Automattic Grand Meetup.
Over the past three years I’ve visited the US and Canada twice, as well as Scotland and Portugal. I’ve given a talk at a WordCamp that inspired someone else to become a Happiness Engineer. I’ve learned stuff I never thought I would, and I’ve made hundreds of new friends from all around the world.
Thanks, Automattic, for letting me be part of making the web a better place!
How time has flown. Once again it feels like I last wrote a letter to you just the other day, but it’s already been an entire year! Two, now, since the first time I’ve held you.
Since the last letter you’ve learned to walk, and run, and crawl (in that order), you’ve learned to talk, you’ve learned to throw a ball and catch it, and to jump and to skip. It is amazing to see how fast you learn and pick things up – your mum and I have to watch what we say around you these days, as you’re starting to repeat everything you hear. You give the best hugs ever.
You are fearless, in a way that both awes and terrifies me – I constantly need to remind myself my job is to teach you to get back up when you fall, not to prevent you from falling. Seeing the way in which you seek out new experiences, the way you go off exploring on your own without us holding your hand…I wonder if I was ever that brave. Never lose that. The world is there for you to conquer.
One piece of advice – when you don’t succeed at something, take a deep breath, and try again. Frustration is natural, but that way lies the dark side. Don’t give in to the dark side. One day we’ll talk about when it is okay to quit and walk away for good, but for now, keep calm, keep trying, and figure it out. You are unbelievably smart. I’m sure there’s nothing you won’t be able to master as long as you set your mind to it and keep at it.
You’ve made a phenomenal success of your second year, as I knew you would. The next one will be even better, and I’m glad I can be a part of it. Happy birthday.