Running a startup isn’t easy on anyone.
The glorious trails of successful entrepreneurs are littered with the scars of broken relationships and bitter resentment of cold dinners and missed birthday parties.
It takes a special kind of relationship to weather the storms of startup life.
It takes a special kind of kid too. A kid who will understand that daddy or mummy can’t make it to every school function. That we can’t afford summer camp.
It takes a special kid who will say okay through his tears as he’s torn from his Australian home, his dogs, his school friends, because he knows that what we’re working on isn’t a normal sort of job like his friends’ parents have.
This week we have begun graduation celebrations for Harry as he completes year 5. I got to make a dedication to him the other day at school, as did all the other parents in his class to their kids.In typical startup style, I did this one alone because Jed’s in Silicon Valley at the moment. The Kleenex was really getting passed around that circle.
Why so much Kleenex? It was his teacher’s fault really. She got us to close our eyes and think of when we were having our child, their infancy, and years in elementary school. And then open our eyes and take our turns to speak from the heart to our child in front of everyone (you could pass if you wanted to, but nobody did – this is Boulder, after all ).
Now, I cry at the drop of a hat. I can’t walk into that darned school without automatically tearing up it seems (sigh). But for this dedication, while others were a bit of a mess, I hardly cried at all.
And while it surprised me at the time, I know why.
Harry is an incredible kid. He was made for the startup life. I won’t be a bit surprised if he ends up living it himself. (Good grief, I hope he scores a partner as well as his dad did ). Harry’s adaptability is remarkable. Many kids would have resented the move to the US, and that would have been understandable. Not Harry, even though he misses Australia very much.
He’s no angel though. He has a cheeky side and he’s a daredevil. I was told of his decision to ride a waterfall while hiking, stopping just short of a massive drop – nearly giving everyone watching a heart attack. And we will never forget him barrelling down Eldora mountain on a snowboard without a single turn and nearly hitting a bus in the car park – grinning afterwards.
Everyone who knows us as a family will agree that Harry is the one who most wears his heart on his sleeve. He hugs everyone. Repeatedly.
He is honest and open. But he can’t sleep if he’s feeling bad about something – he has to get up and talk it through. And he has a strength of character and self-belief which overcomes every obstacle. He’s never said “I’ve had enough.” He just keeps going. It’s that tenacity that is so inspiring and awesome.
And I can’t cry about that. I can’t cry about changes at all – for Harry the world is his oyster, and he’s loving the adventure. He doesn’t care that much about stuff he hasn’t accomplished yet – he’s just going to keep trying. And he’s not concerned about being the best at everything. He just wants to give it a go.
Last week his performance on drums at the big 5th grade concert that combined musicians from 3 schools was incredible. He was on time with every beat. He enjoyed it. And he’s such an individual, he wore his lucky hat too
I can’t wait to see what he tries his hand at, and surprises us with, in Middle School. They’re gonna be lucky to have him. As are we.
Congratulations, Harry. We’re so proud of you, and grateful for all you give back to us every single day.