The community around my mom

View from my mom's house

At Microsoft we often talk about "the community." You know, when we have news to get out, or initatives to build, or conferences to attend.

Today Mark Cuban, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks, among other things, says that blogging is personal.

Oh, yes it is, yes it is.

But I'm learning about community in a whole new way. Through firefighters who knew my mom through her store (and the same guys drove my mom on the three-hour-drive from Livingston to Billings and back again). Through church members who shared with me that part of my mom's life. Through customers in her store.

I've been forced to join a community I wouldn't otherwise join this week. It's interesting to see just what my mom meant to a community I didn't otherwise know.

The community of Livingston, Montana is an interesting one. When my mom arrived here in the late 1980s the community had been devastated by layoffs at the local rail yard. The community here was dying. People were moving away. Community members tell me that my mom's store helped spark a return of the community. Folks have been coming through here all day telling stories. (She owned a religious bookstore in Livingston).

Statue of Liberty photo in my mom's house

As I looked around my mom's house this morning I realized that I got many of my values from her. The biggest thing in her home is a huge picture of the Statue of Liberty. This is no mistake. My mom loved her freedom. She wanted to live life the way she wanted to, damn the consequences.

It's why we drifted apart. I didn't get her community. She didn't get mine. Although we both respected each other's community (as I've learned this week, cause she was always bragging about me to her friends).

She also worked hard. She got that from her parents who ran a restaurant in Germany. She also cared about the people she served. Her sign in her store said "you are cherished." And it was obvious from the stories that her customers told me that she did, indeed, live those words.

It's something that I am thinking about a lot. I've been reading blogs while my mom is asleep and I realize just how much you all mean to me and what an interesting little community we've built.

It's also why I reject the whole "numbers game." It's screwed from the get go.

How do you get a million people to do business with you? One at a time.

Dave Winer is right. Saying that 53,651 don't matter is nutty. They are the ones that'll convince the rest of the world that something is worth paying attention to.

Already my blog has gained a whole bunch of people this week that didn't know what a blog was. Family members, friends, customers of my mom's.

Welcome to my community. I appreciate your friendship and support a lot.

And, if you wanna blog your thoughts, just ask how, we'll get you started.

My mom's house

To everyone else, what stunningly beautiful country it is up here. I'll try to post pictures but cell phone coverage is shaky at best (my mom's house is so remote that GPRS signals don't reach it). Update: my mom's house is the brown one in the picture here. The photo of Emigrant mountain is what greeted us out her windows this morning.

I've also decided not to go to Syndicate and really appreciate Eric Norlin and his team's support.

Comments

  1. I’m sure the decision regarding Syndicate was a tough one. Often, the things that appear to be important at the time are forgotten and completely unimportant in retrospect.

    When my son was born, I was in the middle of a big project. I rushed back to work after a few days to work on that project and missed some precious moments with my newborn baby. I don’t even remember now what that project was about or who it benefited. It certainly wasn’t important when compared to time spent with family. Very few things are.

  2. I’m sure the decision regarding Syndicate was a tough one. Often, the things that appear to be important at the time are forgotten and completely unimportant in retrospect.

    When my son was born, I was in the middle of a big project. I rushed back to work after a few days to work on that project and missed some precious moments with my newborn baby. I don’t even remember now what that project was about or who it benefited. It certainly wasn’t important when compared to time spent with family. Very few things are.

  3. Robert, I, too see a lot of my Mum in me. Most of my drive comes from her and when I get down, I can sense that she’s the one urging me to go on.
       On Syndicate, I believe you made the right decision. Please spend the time with your Mom. I truly feel for you and, in fact, I know all too well what you are going through. I hope she knows that you both have supporters as far away as New Zealand.

  4. Robert, I, too see a lot of my Mum in me. Most of my drive comes from her and when I get down, I can sense that she’s the one urging me to go on.
       On Syndicate, I believe you made the right decision. Please spend the time with your Mom. I truly feel for you and, in fact, I know all too well what you are going through. I hope she knows that you both have supporters as far away as New Zealand.

  5. What you just wrote here summarizes what my next book is about. With your permission, I’ll use it in Global Neighborhoods.

    Thank you, Robert.

  6. What you just wrote here summarizes what my next book is about. With your permission, I’ll use it in Global Neighborhoods.

    Thank you, Robert.

  7. Hello again Robert,
    I know it was a hard choice for you to stay and you commented that your mother would want you to go, but you may have never forgiven yourself if you went, who knows?

    You, your brother, family, and mostly your mother will be in our prayers tomorrow in church and each day in our thoughts.

    Regards,
    Anthony Clendenen

  8. Hello again Robert,
    I know it was a hard choice for you to stay and you commented that your mother would want you to go, but you may have never forgiven yourself if you went, who knows?

    You, your brother, family, and mostly your mother will be in our prayers tomorrow in church and each day in our thoughts.

    Regards,
    Anthony Clendenen

  9. You don’t know me. I read you on a hit or miss basis, but I understand what you are talking about. Best wishes to you and those you care about.

  10. You don’t know me. I read you on a hit or miss basis, but I understand what you are talking about. Best wishes to you and those you care about.

  11. Thanks for sharing, Robert. Its amazing to me how much you share your life on your blog, but this is just another reminder of what’s really important. Best wishes to you and your family.

  12. Thanks for sharing, Robert. Its amazing to me how much you share your life on your blog, but this is just another reminder of what’s really important. Best wishes to you and your family.

  13. Robert: I had hoped to interview you at Syndicate for a chapter in my book but totally identify with your pain. My dad died last August after a five-year bout with Alzheimer’s. It’s agonizing to see parents go through this, but it when we most have to pay back to them the hard work and sacrifice they endured to raise us. God speed to you and your mom.

  14. Robert: I had hoped to interview you at Syndicate for a chapter in my book but totally identify with your pain. My dad died last August after a five-year bout with Alzheimer’s. It’s agonizing to see parents go through this, but it when we most have to pay back to them the hard work and sacrifice they endured to raise us. God speed to you and your mom.

  15. We’ll miss you at Syndicate, Robert. But not as much as you’ll miss your Mom.

    My Mom sent me off before she died. We didn’t think she was going to die at the time. She was recovering. She told me to go home. So I did. Three days later she was gone.

    I’ll always regret not staying, and not going back the moment she turned for the worse.

    Be there with her. The rest of us will be with you too.

    Doc

  16. We’ll miss you at Syndicate, Robert. But not as much as you’ll miss your Mom.

    My Mom sent me off before she died. We didn’t think she was going to die at the time. She was recovering. She told me to go home. So I did. Three days later she was gone.

    I’ll always regret not staying, and not going back the moment she turned for the worse.

    Be there with her. The rest of us will be with you too.

    Doc

  17. Robert,

    Sorry to hear about your mom. How fortunate you are to have your wife and the rest of your family to lend you strength in this terrible time.

  18. Robert,

    Sorry to hear about your mom. How fortunate you are to have your wife and the rest of your family to lend you strength in this terrible time.

  19. Robert,

    This will be the sixth Mother’s Day that I’ve been through without my mother. It gets easier in some ways, harder in others.

    One of the best things about saying goodbye to her was finding out the community that was around her, that I didn’t even know existed. We put a sign up at the door of the funeral home that said “No sad faces inside.” Everyone who came understood the sentiment, and agreed that Mom wouldn’t have had anything but laughter and fun at her funeral.

    My only suggestion is to find ways for your family to start now in recalling fun/funny moments with her. Even better, do what we did and start compiling them into a book. We had so many things from inside the family (embarrassing stories, funny quirks, and so on) that we made up a quickie book and put several copies in the funeral home. That helped Mom’s community see the side of her that normally was only visible to the family.

    Best regards

  20. Robert,

    This will be the sixth Mother’s Day that I’ve been through without my mother. It gets easier in some ways, harder in others.

    One of the best things about saying goodbye to her was finding out the community that was around her, that I didn’t even know existed. We put a sign up at the door of the funeral home that said “No sad faces inside.” Everyone who came understood the sentiment, and agreed that Mom wouldn’t have had anything but laughter and fun at her funeral.

    My only suggestion is to find ways for your family to start now in recalling fun/funny moments with her. Even better, do what we did and start compiling them into a book. We had so many things from inside the family (embarrassing stories, funny quirks, and so on) that we made up a quickie book and put several copies in the funeral home. That helped Mom’s community see the side of her that normally was only visible to the family.

    Best regards

  21. Well, this is the first time I have been on your thread, but it has touched me.

    We all have to go through tough times, and I think you made a good decision to not go to syndicate, afterall work comes and goes everyday but family goes only once and you have to make sure that they go knowing that they are still leaving a good part of themselves in you.

  22. Well, this is the first time I have been on your thread, but it has touched me.

    We all have to go through tough times, and I think you made a good decision to not go to syndicate, afterall work comes and goes everyday but family goes only once and you have to make sure that they go knowing that they are still leaving a good part of themselves in you.

  23. Hi. Sorry about your mom. God bless you for your strength and courage.

    I’ve been following your blog on and off for a while now, which is somewhat ironic since, being a Java developer, I consider myself on the “other side” of the MS-Java/Linux fence. I just happen to like your balanced take on things, and how you sometimes even give Microsoft grief when it does things you think is wrong. It encourages me in turn to remain a non-zealot in anything, whether it be Java or Linux, and to try and keep a balanced view of things too.

    Anyway, again, sorry to hear about your mom. I think it’s great that you still have the strength to write, and write well at that, in this trying time. God bless you and your family.

  24. Hi. Sorry about your mom. God bless you for your strength and courage.

    I’ve been following your blog on and off for a while now, which is somewhat ironic since, being a Java developer, I consider myself on the “other side” of the MS-Java/Linux fence. I just happen to like your balanced take on things, and how you sometimes even give Microsoft grief when it does things you think is wrong. It encourages me in turn to remain a non-zealot in anything, whether it be Java or Linux, and to try and keep a balanced view of things too.

    Anyway, again, sorry to hear about your mom. I think it’s great that you still have the strength to write, and write well at that, in this trying time. God bless you and your family.

  25. We here at the Syndicate show think it was no choice at all, Robert. ;-)

    There are always other conferences (hell, there’ll be another syndicate conference) — but this mother’s day will be a truly singular day for you and your mother. All the best.

  26. We here at the Syndicate show think it was no choice at all, Robert. ;-)

    There are always other conferences (hell, there’ll be another syndicate conference) — but this mother’s day will be a truly singular day for you and your mother. All the best.

  27. Thinking about you, Robert, and your Mom on mother’s day. Keep posting – it seems like it’s helping you and you never know who you may help out there.

  28. Thinking about you, Robert, and your Mom on mother’s day. Keep posting – it seems like it’s helping you and you never know who you may help out there.

  29. I love your blog, I have always loved how raw you are here, from technologies you love, to when you hate something about your own company, to this.

    My prayers are with you. I am approaching 10 years since my father passed away just after Father’s day (weirdly enough it was the year I gave up trying to get him gifts.)

  30. I love your blog, I have always loved how raw you are here, from technologies you love, to when you hate something about your own company, to this.

    My prayers are with you. I am approaching 10 years since my father passed away just after Father’s day (weirdly enough it was the year I gave up trying to get him gifts.)

  31. He who made us knows we are human and knows our feelings, He also holds our hands on times like this. Being there you know who you are love is the only way to feel his love he is with your Mum , We are with you be strong . the Ghaemmaghami family

  32. He who made us knows we are human and knows our feelings, He also holds our hands on times like this. Being there you know who you are love is the only way to feel his love he is with your Mum , We are with you be strong . the Ghaemmaghami family

  33. Robert, the thoughts and best wishes of your friends in the MacBU are with you. Thank you for giving so much of yourself here. You make a huge impact on alot of people and communities.

    It’s easy to forget how important relationships and family are, and to be consumed by the excitement and opportunities which abound around us. Thanks for the reminder to go deeper.

    Sheridan

  34. Robert, the thoughts and best wishes of your friends in the MacBU are with you. Thank you for giving so much of yourself here. You make a huge impact on alot of people and communities.

    It’s easy to forget how important relationships and family are, and to be consumed by the excitement and opportunities which abound around us. Thanks for the reminder to go deeper.

    Sheridan

  35. I’m moved by your blog. I’m so not a tech-chick, but I’m envious of the support you’ve found.
    My mother – a candidate for sainthood – was diagnosed with Alzheimers a few years ago and was recently told she has cancer. I moved back to the coast to see that her wishes for ‘death with dignity’ would be carried out.
    How do I go about setting up a blog? I wrote a column for over four years that was published in a newspaper. I’m almost embarrassed that I have to ask!
    Thanks and God bless and support you as you make your way through this difficult journey.
    ~Lori

  36. I’m moved by your blog. I’m so not a tech-chick, but I’m envious of the support you’ve found.
    My mother – a candidate for sainthood – was diagnosed with Alzheimers a few years ago and was recently told she has cancer. I moved back to the coast to see that her wishes for ‘death with dignity’ would be carried out.
    How do I go about setting up a blog? I wrote a column for over four years that was published in a newspaper. I’m almost embarrassed that I have to ask!
    Thanks and God bless and support you as you make your way through this difficult journey.
    ~Lori