Thursday, August 17, 2023

Twenty years ago today

 I had a former colleague advised me to not put my family website blog in an email footer if I wasn't updating it on a semi-frequent business. That's not why I still have it. I've long opted out of the attention economy and kept this as part of my personal journal to be online. Originally I did it to showcase my technical prowess with web applications. Now I keep it for sentimental and landmark reasons. Some of those items may be worth a follow-up blog post, but not today.

Today I want to state how proud of am of my two decades old son. Twenty years ago on a very hot August day in Kansas this happened:

It was an amazing event for everyone involved. 

We moved this little one, now taller than us, across county a dozen years ago and he's made as much of a way as he can out here in LA. We didn't know it until several years in, but he's not mentally wired like most people and struggled with academics in our school system. He is smart, just not in a way the standardized testing is geared for. He's currently figuring out where to go with his life from here and we're supporting whatever decision(s) he makes. 

It has been such a gratifying and learning experience for myself and Janet. We have been pleasantly and unpleasantly surprised in many ways as I expect most every parent is or will be. There are no safety straps on this ride.

But getting back to my pride in this young man. Let's consider my self-evaluation of when I turned 20: 

I had been on a fruitless quest to hook up with college girls and spent more than my fair share of time in seedy bars of my college town. I had moved out and moved back in with my parents and I was more than a bit sullen, angry, and stuck. I was deceitful and unkind in many ways and I'm amazed that anyone stuck with me at all. I had some support networks but most days I was angry and hostile, especially to those I lived with. My father was in the process of dying but I didn't realize what a big deal that was. I was in college but not applying myself. The person I was wouldn't recognize myself now. I had maxed out the credit card the industry vultures had supplied college students in those days. I was aimless and many things felt hopeless.

Let's compare that jerk with my son. 

He's not in college. He's also not wasting his money or time being somewhere he doesn't want to be. He is kind and welcoming to people. He has a close group of friends that really enjoy his company. He's not in any debt. He is enthusiastic and willing to share his interests. He helps willingly and cheerfully helps with the house chores we've assigned him. He's a good driver(in LA that's huge!). He doesn't drink, or drink and drive. He doesn't lie - like at all. He likes being in our home. He asks me to cook for him and has enough pride in his father's cooking that he shares it with his friends.

Comparing those characteristics with my own at the same age, he's a far better person that I was at his age.  Matt, I'm proud of the person you are. It hasn't always been easy for me to think or say that, but it is true. As I look at where you are and who you're becoming, I would not have imagined it could come from that person I was at 20. I love you very much and I'm going to enjoy seeing what you become.