Sunday, April 04, 2010

Family First

Naturally I have heard the expression family first before, but recently, a bright and wise young woman reminded me how important the meaning really is. No surprise she's a Robotics alumnus... Amy K. you are smart, and friendly.

In that spirit, family first, I want express my love and gratitude to some dear family. We have been immersed (such an appropriate word) in robotics. As you may have noticed, I went a bit bonkers with the love, leaving my personal comfort zone to pump up a program I believe in. I am not apologizing for my enthusiasm, but I do want to acknowledge that the heavy focus on robotics did take away time and energy from at least two young men, who are not actually on a team. William and Max were in scripted into robo immersion, and though I asked them to step out of their comfort zones, they have never complained. They have missed Alex, and Geoff. They have filled in around the house and taken care of a certain little sister. They have spent long days traveling to FRC events, and longer days in huge and boisterous arenas. They have contributed as much, perhaps more, than some certified team members, and they have done this with quiet humility, and endless patience.

William, thank you for being kind and dependable, for caring so deeply about each of us, and for doing your best each and every day. I appreciate your intelligence and humor. I appreciate that you have been sincerely supportive of Alex's dreams, and his well being, and that in your own way, you have been a Gracious and Spirited team player.

Max, thank you for being patient and supportive. In our home, in school, no matter the challenges and distractions, you stay true. You work diligently, steadfastly, and you give us every reason to be proud of you. If it wouldn't make you terribly uncomfortable I would do a “cheer” just for you. You Inspire me to be ethical, reasonable, and to do my best, and better.

Geoff loves robotics too... well, just about anything Geek gets him charged, but I do want to thank him. He was happy to be a programming mentor, to extend his time to the build team, to build a mini-robo world in our home, so he could extend his hours even more... but, when things got extra intense, when Atlanta become an option, I asked him to take it to the next level. We certainly did not need to put off domestic duties, like moving in to our home, or repairing the roof, but I basically implored him to ignore all the *homeless* whining I did for the last six years, and turn all of our reserve energy and focus on Atlanta, the team and robotics. I promised not to make a single complaint about boxes, leaks, and domestic perils, because I felt such drive to see this through, for the team to get to the next level.

Thank you Geoff. You taught me that dreams can come true, that it takes work to make it so. Thank you for being a mentor, for being a father, for being my partner. Your time away is never easy, and volunteering to be away from home is a bit nuts, especially after your “regular” office hours, but I love what I have seen. I love the programmers you mentor, the talks about design, the energy and dedication, the metal shop industry... the teamwork. I love when ideas are made in to creations, and creations are tested and run... succeed or fail, the pleasure and rewards are in the journey and the learning. Thank you for the pleasure of being a witness to your grace and professionalism. (I love your mind)

Maria. Maria, you spirited, smiling, dancing, inventive robo-princess. Thank you for wanting to be in the arena, for stuffing plushy wings, for sitting through long meetings, and longer FRC events... actually, you hardly “sat” at any FRC event. Thank you for cheering, and building alliances with your chocolate eggs, for walking to the pit to “check on the robot,” for learning the songs, dances and cheers. It's such a joy to witness your Team Spirit.

Alex, thank you for bringing us in to this exciting world. Thank you for sharing your passion and excitement for robotics, for design, for build, for engineering, for creation. You have some sweet skills, and more importantly, you have challenged yourself to learn more, try harder, and push yourself. Thank you for letting me nudge you onto the “dance floor.” You are a quiet thinker, a reserved young man, and I greatly admire your willingness to delve in to high school, this new social world... it's a big world, and I know you are going to find a welcoming and appreciative place in it. Thank you for appreciating me, for welcoming me in to math, science, sportsmanship, and engineering... you are an inspiration in so many ways.

We are in Las Vegas on this Easter morning. And we will be heading home soon. Thank you Mom and Dad for flying here to meet us, to cheer! What Time is It?! I know we always have your support, but it made me extra stoked to share the event with you guys. It was fun for me to turn and see your faces, to know you were keeping score, waving pom-poms, tracking our Maria-Mini-Paradox, and sharing in our joy. Thank you-thank you-thank you!

And back home? Ruth and Holly have been our pit crew, feeding Betty and the Ratty-Rats, chasing cats, and keeping the peace at the Bird House. No team is complete without all of its supporters. Thank you Ruth, for bunking at the Bird House, for waiting to welcome us home. Thank you Holly for your support too. We'll see you all soon.

Overflowing with gratitude, and spirit... what a wonderful way to begin this Easter day.


tara said...

What a lovely and heartfelt acknowledgement.
My husband and I were talking about just this topic last night. How we need to recognize people and their hard work and what a difference it makes when you dont.
Happy travelling

judy in ky said...

We love hearing your enthusiasm for Robotics. Happy Easter!

mtnchild said...

Lovely, lovely post! Happy Easter to the whole team, pit crew and family.


nikkipolani said...

What a thoughtful, meaningful wonderful way to celebrate your family. Hoping with you in your hopes.

helen said...

Just why I love each and everyone of you!!!

Amy said...

I have learn that through robotics. If it weren't for my family's endless patience and infinite support, i wouldn't have been able to be the team member i was back in high school. My mom always said. You first. never really understood her until the end of senior year and college. >.< Gotta love moms!!!

BordomBeThyName said...

I believe that one very important family member was left (mostly) unmentioned in this post.

Allow me..


Starting Team Paradox, I really had no idea what was to come. I expected the robots and sleepless nights in the shop, I hoped for enthusiasm from the students, but never did I dream of such excitement, care and support from the parents and families. Of all the supportive Team Paradox families, yours stands out among them. As a parent (and a mentor now, I hear?), your constant passion for the team works wonders.

Personally, when I'm having a less-than-wonderful day, I can reliably come to this blog and remember that my baby (the team) is having an amazing effect on people, and it's something that I can be proud of. You show us that our influence carries far beyond the comfortable walls of the SDA shop. You remind all of us that what we're working towards is more than a competition or a robot, we're changing opinions and lives. The stated goal of FIRST is to change the culture surrounding science and engineering. On this blog, I see supportive comments from people I don't know (friends of yours, I assume), and I can see the ripples of change.

On behalf of Team MESA and the founding members of Team Paradox; for you unwavering care, dedication and spirit for both the Team Paradox family and your own;
Thank You.


Tracy said... much we do need to give thanks each day...I am always humbled by the simple joy of taking a moment to count my blessings, to say thank you for the many dear people in my life and the great things they do. Your family celebration here is beautiful, Natalie... Hope you & yours had a lovely Easter holiday weekend :o) ((HUGS))

Natalie said...

I'm crying.
I am here for family, for
learning, for FIRST,
and for the vision
that you and the founding
members lived by
and demonstrated with true grace
and team spirit.
Thank you for reminding me
why I love robotics.