Monday, March 23, 2015

Robotics Second Round

    William got to go with me to see this competition. He wasn't feeling so good on Friday night when I picked him up from daycare. He told me that he still wanted to go. We made it back to the competition for the last three matches of the day. William was laying on me most of the time. He told me that he was glad he got to go.

2015 West Michigan District Finalists
    On Saturday we went back for the completion of the qualifying matches and the playoffs. William was feeling much better. Our last three matches were great and we moved back up to fifth place. Our robot was working well and our autonomous mode was 100%. In the alliance selections we were picked by the #2 alliance captain. We did OK in the first rounds of qualifying and made it to the semi-finals. This was the best two teams with the average of the three matches that we played. The first match was OK but the next to were great.  This catapulted us into first place and then the last match happened and the #1 alliance moved past us by one point to take over first place. We made it to the finals. We ended up loosing to the first place team but what a great time we had. William was very excited and was cheering as loud as he could. When the last match was over William told me that "we need to score more points". He was very disappointed that we didn't win.

    We got our letter in the mail today. We have done well enough to qualify for the state championships. We are planing and working out what we need to do to improve more for the state championships in just three short weeks. We have a lot to do but I am looking forward to it.

    I love being involved with the kids and seeing them learn and get excited about engineering. I especially love seeing William get excited. He tells me that he wants to be able to help more with building the robot. He will get his chance to help. I have no doubt of that.

I am glad you were with me,

Your Loving Dad

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Letting Him Take Over

    It has been said many times in many different blogs that William's diabetes and celiac disease belong to him. I read a story about a family that had a girl with type 1 diabetes. The mom and the dad had done everything they could to keep the daughter from having to worry about diabetes as she grew up. They wanted to protect her from the relentless onslaught of worry that comes with this disease. The constant disappointment when you do the same thing over and over again but get different results every time. The stress of knowing that no matter how well you do you may still have problems later on in life because you didn't do well enough. As a parent I can understand these feelings. I would do anything to make sure that William never had to think about diabetes. I guess that is impossible since everything in his life revolves around diabetes. The story continues however that one day this girls parents were both killed in a car accident. They had never taught her how to take care of herself and she was now a teenager with no idea what to do. Is it better that she had all of those years of not worrying about diabetes or was it a terrible thing that she never learned and was never taught?

    William has shown for a while now that he wants to be involved in his care. He has told caregivers that he knows how to use his pump and they have let him. Sometimes he has gotten it right others not so much. I am proud and sad at the same time that he is learning to take care of himself. I am proud that he is becoming independent but I am also sad because I have to give up the protection that I can give him in order for that to happen. I now let William check his blood sugars. We are working on the wash your hands before checking stage. He is seven and a boy so a little dirt doesn't matter to him. I am wondering how much longer it will be before he is doing it all with some supervision. Then he would be doing it all without help. I guess it is positive that I can see a future with him at all. Not too long ago he would have had a short life with no hope. Medical advances have given diabetic people a chance to live longer lives. I am looking forward to the first centurion. We are starting to see diabetics live into their eighties. There is hope that new advances will make diabetes a thing that you do not have to think about except when something fails. I can't wait for that day. I also can not wait until they have a cure . I hope I am alive to see that day. The last day William has to worry about how much he is eating. A day when he can eat pizza or a hamburger bun without all of the bad blood sugars that follow.

    My little man is starting to take things upon himself and I am proud. I want to hold his hand and snuggle on the couch with him forever. I do want to see him grow up to be a man and to have a family that he can care about too. I hope there are many things that he doesn't have to worry about in his life that have hurt me. I hope that he finds joy in his life and that it lasts.

Here is to you little man,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

One year later

    It has been one year this month since William's mother left. Things have changed for us a lot. William tells me all of the time that he misses his grandpa. He also tells me he misses his cousins and his sisters and brother. He does not get to see his older sister at all any more and doesn't get to see his other siblings as much as he did when they lived with me. He also tells me that he doesn't get to see grandma as much anymore either. I try to keep things as normal in my house as I can. He still takes care of his dog Lucky. They are really starting to become buddies. Lucky follows William downstairs to play XBOX now. He just lays down there and watches him play. William always invites him to go with him to play. Things have gotten harder and easier over the last year. There is much less pressure then before and I can just have fun now. I am not worried about taking care of everyone because that was a lot of pressure that was not appreciated by some. I have someone in my life now that appreciates the small things that I do and makes me feel wonderful because I do them for her. I have learned a lot over the last year about not knowing the people that are close to you and the lies that they tell to make themselves feel better. Having someone in your life for such a long time to find out that they were a convicted criminal. Trust is a fragile thing and once broken can not be repaired easily especially if the other person doesn't care because they found something else to focus on.

    I try to do the things that were important to me before I met William's mom with coaching, mentoring FIRST robotics, and habitat for humanity. These things bring me joy and she was always insecure because I did these things. She eventually took them away from me and took a lot of the joy out of my life. I did get some different joy in my life but I should have never had to choose. I now have someone that encourages me to follow my dreams and joys. I still find myself checking all of the time to make sure that she is still okay with me participating. What an amazing feeling to have someone tell me she is proud of me for being a mentor and teaching kids. She told me that she couldn't think of anyone better. Life has changed so much.

Life keeps going with or without you find a way to make a difference today in someone's life.

Your Loving Dad

Monday, March 9, 2015

Things that have happened this week.

    A few things that have happened this week. William was diagnosed with ADHD. He has been having problems listening in school so they asked him to be evaluated by a doctor. Now it is time to deal with another chapter in his life. I guess diabetes, celiac and mom leaving was not enough. Now we throw another chapter into his life. I feel sorry for this little man that he has had to deal with so much so early in his life. I really hope that he grows stronger because of it. I sure hope that we are getting to the end of the surprises with William from a medical standpoint. I sure hope that he has many more surprises in his life but I want them to be ones that he can enjoy.

    William had another good week at school. It is good to see him having success at school. He has really started to change his attitude since we implemented the XBOX for good behavior policy. William gets evaluated every 30 minutes at school and when he get a smile face he gets one minutes of XBOX time. He has been getting more time the last few weeks. He can earn up to 26 minutes per day. I am glad to see that we have found something that motivates him to listen and do well in school. 

    We had fun this weekend. We went to local hangout this weekend. We played laser tag and rode on the go carts. We played the video games and just had fun. I try to make sure that I reward him after a good week at school. We spent a lot of time snuggling on the couch and just hanging out together. Snuggling on the couch is still one of my favorite things to do. William was a little sick this last week so his numbers were a little off. You can always tell when he is getting sick because his numbers go higher for a few days to a week before he actually gets sick. Then when it is all over he is usually low for a week after. Diabetes is so much fun to deal with. We just try not to over react. Things seem to come back to normal if you just give it a little time.

Keep your head up and know that I am always by your side.

Your Loving Dad

Monday, March 2, 2015

The First Competetion is Over

    We had our first robotics competition of the season this last weekend. We were concerned going into this competition that we would not have a good robot. We had to redesign a few of the major parts with only a week left to go. The first few matches were about our drive team figuring out the robot and what we could do well. We had a few rough matches at the beginning but seemed to find our stride. Our average score started going up and continued going up all of the way through the competition.

    We were selected by the second place team as a partner. We went on to score every point for our alliance over the next two matches. It is tough to play one on three and still expect to win. We made it close but could not out score the other alliance by ourselves. We did get close and we only missed moving on to the next round by about 4 points.

    We had a great time and got to help other teams along the way. We gave two of our students to another team that would not have gotten to play without them. We also had the chance to rewrite their software and help them compete. That is what this whole thing is about. This is why I give so much of my time, joyfully, to this program. We have another competition in two weeks. Look out Indiana we are heading your way with a banner in our sights.

    William was with his mother this weekend. He really wanted to get to go see the robots compete. He will miss the next competition as well but should be there for the last one. He has been a big helper and has become part of the team this year. He is willing to give ideas on how to make the robot better and has had some great ideas along the way. I am still proud to see him walk out in front of high school age kids and tell them his ideas. I am also glad that they treat him with respect and make him feel Okay to give those opinions with out fear.

I hope that I can inspire a few of the kids on the team to become engineers but mostly I want to inspire William to reach for the stars and find a way to make them better,

His Loving Dad

A Story by William

William's letter about Lucky     William sat down yesterday an wrote a letter about Lucky our dog. He wanted me to publish it. So ...