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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thank You

Thank you, Father, for the uncountable and innumerable blessings you've poured into my life.

Thank you Corinne for the love in your eyes and the touch of your hands and your humor and for putting up with mine and for sticking with me even when all seemed lost.

Thank you Lauren for being such a sweet, smart girl and for lighting up so brightly whenever you see us. I dare say I've learned as much from you as you have from me.

Thank you Mom and Dad for raising me, for teaching me the way I should go, for helping me to see the wonder and beauty and hope and humor in this life on God's Way.

Thank you Mikel and Shannon for adopting Corinne and I as surrogate parents, for letting us love you and Richie, Lauren and Sam, for coming home again, for letting Lauren still be such a huge part of my our life.

Thank you Katie for being one of the most wonderful people I know. Come home!

Thank you Ellyn for agreeing to be my only big sister (instead of my aunt), for forgiving me for NOT being there when you needed me a few years ago, and for loving me like only a big sister can. ;-)

Thank you Ben and Mandi for becoming more than "just cousins" to me this year. I love you both.

Thank you also to Lilly for being one of Lauren's best friends!

Thank you Steve for the excellent discussions of the truth and our life in it, for the many hours together on our bikes, for your patient and constant work to reunite something which looks permanently broken to so many others.

Thank you Mark for being there whenever anyone needs you, for always trying to be The Blessing that we seek for our brothers and sisters, and for being one of my oldest friends.

Thank you Darren for keeping me sharp, as David says, "like iron sharpeneth iron!" I've learned things from you, too, that I didn't seem to be learning anywhere else.

Thank you Frank and Bonnie for loving Lauren so much, and Frank for our new friendship!

Thank you Jim and Dee for trying to see past (or ignoring) my foibles, for being our friends, and for always reminding us to keep the Kingdom of God at the top of the list and the front of our minds.

Thank you Eric and Bonny for forgiving me for my temper (which got the better of me a couple years ago) and for everything you bring to our ecclesia.

Thank you Rich for the friendship and the work over the years. 7 ½ years!

Thank you Joseph and Andy for the work and the chance to make something(s) fun.

Thank you Corinne for the love and magic you work in the kitchen, and for how much you love to share it with our brothers and sisters (and anyone else who eats real food).

Thank you Robin for coming back into Corinne's life. She's my best friend, and you've made me happy by making her happier than I could do alone.

Thank you to Kim and Dave and Tiff and Joshua and Jed and Sarah and dozens or hundreds of other people, too many to list, who have brought love or peace or adventures or joy or laughter into my life, who have taught me something, or somehow managed to learn something from me.

Thank you, Father, for blessing us all so thoroughly, and for providing each of us as blessings to each other.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Was a Good Year

The year two thousand eleven has come and gone.

It was a good year. Not perfect, but lots of happy memories. Lots of learning, lots of work, lots of time with Corinne and Lauren, even some solid time spent with Mike, and Richie and my parents. Some very weird stuff happened with a friend who's now gone, and some new friendships were started. I spent less time on the bike and behind the camera, but have more resources to take care of my family and to help out where I see the need.

I've learned I can't do everything, but for 2012 I'd like to shift my personal, work-hobby balance just slightly more toward biking and photography and away from ridiculous and impossible project deadlines. I don't want less work, or even different clients... just more realistic goals that will let me better manage my time. (The cycling was affected as much by the work as it was by going bikeless for six weeks.)

Life with the ecclesia has been good, also. Ups and downs as with everything else. Faith, it seems, is the easy part of spiritual life: relationships are where the work happens. Perhaps that's trite, but perhaps that's why it's easy to forget and let things slip.

I hope 2012 is just as good. Maybe I'll even find a little more time for writing! Hah hah, no silly resolutions, here, sorry.

Happy New Year, everybody.

P.S. This site is in serious need of a redesign. Yuck.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Ten years? Really?

In 2001 my work life was all about Conversant, my personal life was all about Corinne, Shane, and a house full of cats and birds.

I don't remember much about 2002, except that I reconnected with Steve Davis, someone I've known practically since I was a baby. We've always had our faith in common, and found that now we also have our bikes.

Two years later Shane was gone. That's all that year (2004) was about. Nothing else mattered. Hanging on to Corinne, propping her up, making sure she understood how much I love her and need her still, and trying to help her cope with a pain that defies belief.

2005 was a pretty big year. It included the release of Firefox Hacks (my first time in print!), tutoring the Pride kids (Avonlee and Ethan) in math, the PMC and its software auctions, the main author of Firefox Hacks (Nigel McFarlane) committed suicide, Corinne and I met the crew of the Atlantia, Jed moved in with us, I made friends with Jimmy Lehn (morning DJ at a local radio station), and we celebrated Thanksgiving at the Westerly WARM shelter. Finally, 2005 was the year I first started playing with Prototype. (Wow, i can't believe it was that long ago.)

In 2006 I met Greg Pierce years after he had worked for me at Macrobyte, my friend Darren and his wife Angi brought home their adoptees from Nepal, I wrote the "custom events" code for JavaScript that is *still* being used on Apple's web pages, attended the first Rails Conf, and I finally got to meet and begin forming a friendship with Rich Siegel and started working on language modules for his company's main software product, BBEdit. Jed left us, and headed for British Columbia and the woman he would eventually marry. Finally, we met Mike and Shannon late in the year.

2007 was unreal. If not for the pictures, most of it would be forgotten. I helped man the booth for Bare Bones at MacWorld Expo. Mike and Shannon moved in with us. Lauren was born! Mike and Shannon went away for a while. We did our best with Lauren and truly, completely fell in love with her. Visited her parents a lot. Finally met Jim Roepcke and Sean McMains at the second RailsConf (while Corinne stayed home with lauren). Jed married Alycia (and I got to attend, way out there in B.C., while Corinne AGAIN stayed home with Lauren), my grandfather turned eighty, Jed and Alycia came out for a visit (and haven't been back since), Corinne and I celebrated our tenth anniversary, and my sister and brother-in-law had their third daughter.

Shannon came hom again in January of '08. Lauren started walking and talking, and turned one. We got news (on the day Shannon came hom) that the house was being sold so we'd have to move (after ten years). Corinne, Ellyn and Lauren went to FL (Lauren's first plane ride). Richie (Shannon's eldest) came to live with us. My parents came to live with us, for a few months. I went to FL in October with Ellyn and the grandparents to pack them up and move them to Ellyn's house. The year ended with a terrible sprained ankle and a move from Mystic to Westerly.

In January of '09, Mike came home and the family was all back together. Unfortunately, in June they all left again. The relationship slowly thawed, but then in September they disappeared to North Carolina without warning and we thought they (especially Lauren) were gone forever. We got a ten day visit with Lauren in October, but taking her home was the second most difficult and painful thing I've ever done.

2010 started out with a brief visit from the Deanes, but after that the contact (via Skype or telephone) dwindled to nothing within a few months. I entered a serious depression (my first), which I tried to fill or bury with World of Warcraft. In March a rainstorm tried to wipe RI off the map, and in May I was brutally attacked by some blood clots that came from nowhere and landed in my left lung (killing part of it). In June, the Deanes moved back to the area, and we got regular visits with Lauren again. It took her a few minutes to remember us, but once she did it was like we were never apart.

As I write this, Lauren and Corinne are sleeping in my bed, above my office, just a few feet right over my head. I don't know what changes are coming our way next, but right now we have joy and I'm taking nothing for granted.

Happy New Year, everybody.

Monday, August 24, 2009

40 Years!!

As of today, my parents — Mike and Gloria Dillingham — have been married for forty years!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad.

Things haven't been easy for them — ever, really — but that's what makes their marriage, their life together, so beautiful. With all their considerable strength, they've held onto the things that matter most to them, no matter what storms they were forced to endure... and they still love each other as I remember when I was a kid.

I know lots of kids who grow up never seeing any tenderness or affection between their parents. (Obviously I know lots of kids who grow up without two parents.) Jed, Sarah and I grew up watching our parents kiss, hold hands and display their affection in so many ways. Not that they never argued, but the arguments always ended, eventually, with a return to affection and silliness. (Silliness has always been one of my Dad's specialties, a trait that I'm afraid I inherited.)

So again: Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! I'm sorry that none of us were able to be there with you in Missouri to celebrate.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Chaos and Chronology

It feels like everything has changed in the last month. It's thrown me off balance and I don't expect a return to normalcy until January.

The first big change is that Richie came to live with us much earlier than he was supposed to. Richie is Shannon's son, Lauren's half-brother, and he's 2 1/2 years older than she is. For most of his life he's been living with Shannon's mom, first here in CT, and for the last two years in North Carolina.

Richie

He's an extremely bright lad, but he's had very little discipline and, conversely, is afraid of nearly everything. He wakes up every night screaming and crying, and often sleepwalks while crying. An example of the fear: Dad and I took him (and Lauren) sledding on Sunday. Dad sat him in the sled and pulled him up the hill... but he wailed in terror the entire time… going UP the hill. (Going down it was no better, so that was the extent of our sledding.) The lack of discipline manifests itself as him tending to do whatever he wants, even when we're standing right there asking/telling him not to (hit the kitties, throw the ball at the window, jump on the couch, etc., etc., etc.)

We are making progress with him, and I'm very fond of him. His situation is just so different from Lauren's, and we weren't prepared for it. Literally — he wasn't supposed to move in until after we moved to RI. Shannon's grandmother died in November, a couple weeks before Thanksgiving, so Shannon's mom (Brenda) had to come up here anyway... it just made sense for us to take Richie then instead of forcing them to make another trip in late December or early January.

Shortly after Richie came to live here, the week before Thanksgiving, my parents moved out of our house in Connecticut to a house in Missouri. My Dad has a new job out there working for a friend (starting in January), so he's giving up his business here (which had fallen on very hard times anyway). Dad flew back again the following Monday so he can finish up his last few contracts, and will be flying back to Missouri on January 2nd.

Of course, while he was gone we gave my parents' room to Richie so he wouldn't have to sleep on the floor in his Mom's room. So when Dad came back he had to pump up his king sized air mattress… to sleep in my office.

Back in January, while I was driving to Norwalk to pick up Shannon and bring her home, our laandlords told us we have to move. They didn't push it, which is good because the house we're moving into is still occupied by Ellyn and Gary (Ellyn is my Dad's sister), Katie and Tom (two of their three kids) and my grandparents (who officially moved in with them at the end of October). They're all moving to a new house in Bradford just a few miles from where they live now, but it took 6 months longer to finish the new house than was expected. Originally they were going to move in June or July, but I just helped them pack the first moving truck yesterday!

Now that they're moving, so are we. We'll be living in Westerly, RI, this weekend.

Of course I still have lots of work to do in the midst of all this chaos, and my poor, little, pea-sized brain does everything it can to find escape routes from all the chaos.

But wait, there's one more big change coming. A week after my Dad leaves, Mike — Shannon's husband, Lauren's sire — comes home. January 9th.

Please forgive me if you've expected something from me but I'm late with it. Or if I stood you up for coffee, like I did to Joe Cascio *twice* in one week.

Life is total chaos right now, but it should start to settle down in a couple of weeks.

Chaos.


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