Over the years I've shared bits and pieces of my life with you all, and today I'm going to share quite possible the biggest and most important one.
When I was younger, my mom and I had the typical mom/son relationship. I wanted to sit around and play video games and she wanted me to read books. I wanted toys, she wanted me to do something useful in my life. When you're younger, you don't really understand the importance of something like that, I know I didn't.
We fought a lot during my early teenage years; I'm her only child and thus you can imagine she'd be a little protective, which when you're a teenager isn't what you want, although now looking back, I wouldn't have it any other way.
In the early days of AnandTech, even once the site was making money and I genuinely had a job, she always made sure I did my homework before I could even so much as start a benchmark. She was proud of what I'd done, but my mom has always viewed education as one of the most important things in life. Even today she continues to encourage me to go back for graduate school. I think I will at some point, I just don't have the time right now.
We used to argue about AnandTech vs. school so much, at least in the early days. If I brought home a B on my report card she'd lock my "lab" (a tiny bedroom in our first house in Raleigh). I eventually learned to pick the lock and sneak in some testing but that's beside the point.
The older I got, the more I began to understand and the better our relationship became. One day, I remember walking to class at NCSU and it all just hit me. Every little thing she had ever done for me or showed me finally clicked. I've always loved my mom, but on that day I finally understood her.
She always did everything she could to make sure we had a good life. She dropped out of graduate school to take care of me, she would never even let me have a babysitter, she lost countless opportunities because of me and she never made me feel guilty about it. She did it out of love. She did it because she is my mom.
There's not a single aspect of my life that she hasn't played a significant role in. I've always given credit to the readers for why AnandTech exists, but there's also her. When the site needed it, when I needed it, she was always there to lend a hand without asking for anything in return.
It was easy for me to call my mom overprotective, but that was a youthful mistake. To understand her and to comprehend the sort of love she had for her son, that took age. The younger me knew that age doesn't mean anything; you can never be too old or too young for something, it's a matter of your own readiness. The older me learned that while specific age may not matter, some things do improve over time. The older I get, the more I understand that there's very little I know about life.
People can be real funny about success. While I do believe that hard work is an important ingredient in being successful, in my opinion it only gets you half way. The rest is pure luck. What makes me believe that more than anything is the fact that I didn't get to choose my parents or their situation. No one does. I was very lucky to be raised the way I was and I can't begin to even express how thankful I am to have a mother like my own. If you ask me why I think I made it this far, I'd say it's because of her.
My mom has always shown me that you really can do anything in this life, you simply have to learn and try. She used to speak 6 different languages, she played volleyball, basketball, and badminton. When we lived in New Hampshire she learned how to install a shower, tile a floor and build a bathroom. She started a restaurant when we lived up north, even when others said she couldn't do it, she did. She basically built my house while I lived in Connecticut. She's managed the finances for AnandTech She has never had any formal training in anything she's attempted, she majored in math, and I've never seen her give up.
The only thing she admits that she can't fix are computer problems. But leave it to my mom to find a solution: she made me.
She's shown me that you can do anything, and she's been an inspiration to me all my life. I've always known that I can do anything, but it's because she's always been at my side. Without her, I wouldn't be able to do what I do for a living. Over the past 11 years my job has become a pillar of my life and I can guarantee you that without her help, I wouldn't be able to have that.
Her whole life she has worked to make me happy, and I've always wanted to work so that she didn't have to. It's this constant struggle between us. I'll look outside my window and find her doing something silly like trying to take care of my yard. I've stolen her wheelbarrow and gardening tools on numerous occasions :)
I'm just scratching the surface here. For the past 11 years I've written about countless products, technologies and even some people, but it was about time that I wrote about her. There's a part of me in everything I write, it's my passion. She's never asked for anything and there's no way I could give her what she has given me, so today I give her a part of me as I write this for her.
To my mom and mothers of geeks everywhere: Happy Mother's Day.