The last post that I did was a Review of the Year picking out the highlights of the 2009. Last year was a very busy, but very enjoyable year and a culmination of the hard work that we have been putting in over the last ten years really. This has led me to dig out the old photo albums (life before Flickr) and remind myself what has sculpted the journey so far.
The main events of the last decade have been surrounding the kids and the business but when I have looked back it was definitely the first 5 years of the last decade that were the ones that have put us where we are today and sent the challenges along the way.
The year 2000 started with the fear and worry that the Y2K virus was going to put a stop to all computers as the clocks ticked over at midnight .. but nothing of the sort happened and the world continued. This was a good job really as at that time I was a few weeks pregnant with our first child. Dave and I got married back in 1998 (we “eloped” to Gretna Green) so we were very excited about starting our family and this was a great start to the decade, with a Millennium baby!
Miles was born in August 2000 and from that moment our lives changed and my focus and role switched to being a Mum. It’s a strange feeling that you can’t explain when you are a parent, and I think especially a mother, that you have this feeling that you must protect at all times your children. It’s this maternal feeling that only strengthens as time goes on. But even though I love my kids to bits, I still have a strong need to have a career and work, so Miles started nursery at 8 months old and I went back to being a Purchasing Manager at a local company.
In July 2001 we moved from our 3 bedroom semi detached house in a village close to Ripon, to a 3 bedroom Edwardian terraced house in Ripon. I then got pregnant for the second time and in April 2002 along came Ethan.
I had kind of decided that I wanted 2 children close together and was delighted that I had 2 lovely little boys. When Ethan was 6 months old I returned to work and gradually got back to full time work and spent as much time with the kids in the evenings and weekends.
2003 had two major events for us that shaped our future. In the February of 2003 on a very foggy day one of our best friends, who was going to be Ethan’s Godmother at his upcoming Christening tragically died on the A1.
Alice McLeary was a gorgeous person and coping with the loss of good friend took its toll on us and other friends around us.
Going to a funeral of someone your own age is something that brings it home to you with a big thud that life is truly precious and so delicate. We have learnt from other events to never take anything for granted and this experience makes you realise even more so that you have to make the most of what you have and appreciate everything that you have and the people around you.
We pressed on with our plan to buy the small ISP and web design company called Bronco and the plan was that Dave would become self employed running the new company and to bring his Internet and SEO skills into the company that he had already been utilising “on the side” at home for years. This was a big decision for us and meant that we had to remortgage the house to buy Bronco and it was a big risk especially with having 2 little kids. I carried on working as a Purchasing Manager with a steady salary coming in, and was helping where I could at Bronco.
In our spare time over the next year or so we spent it decorating, knocking walls down in the house, replacing fireplaces and generally busy with work and the kids. We didn’t really have a plan as such but just getting on with what needed to be done. We made sure that we had a few holidays with the kids but money was a bit tight. We started to go to Centreparcs in 2004 where we decided that having long weekends away was really important and when you owned a business a feasible way to have holidays without being away for too long.
In February 2005 we made the major decision that I would leave my good job of 9 years, with a good salary, to work full time alongside Dave running Bronco. I was needed to come in to organise the business from staffing to clients to project. From that point Bronco was able to grow in a controlled and steady way while having the right systems in place to be efficient. Dave was then able to focus on the SEO clients and not have to worry about the day to day running of the company. Many people have asked us over the years how we manage to live and work together…. but I wouldn’t have it any other way and we love working for ourselves.
Then in April 2005 our world turned upside down when Ethan was struck down with Meningococcal Septicaemia and Meningitis. Dave and I were having a weekend by ourselves in Ripon while the kids were in Northumberland with my Mum. Ethan went from playing happily in the garden in the afternoon to being really ill through the night with a temperature, sickness and coughing, to being on a ventilator in Intensive Care at St. James Hospital in Leeds the following afternoon. It was a terrible time that happened without warning and we were literally told that we had to look at things hour by hour.
I am not being over dramatic when I say that Ethan nearly died … as he did … and it was especially critical when the emergency ambulance crew from Leeds spent 3 hours trying to stabilise him to be able to transport him from Harrogate to Leeds, after a blue light ambulance journey from Ripon to Harrogate that I will never forget. Scared is nowhere near a big enough word to describe how desperately worried we were, and the 4 days we spent sat at Ethan’s bedside in Intensive Care were just terrible.
Thankfully Ethan made a full recovery and was home after 2 weeks in hospital … and thank you to whatever greater being that there may be that gave our family a helping hand, as well as all of the hospital staff and doctors that were there for us.
This was the turning point, it took something as massive as nearly losing a child to reaffirm so solidly that we only get one chance at this, and we need to make everything count and appreciate absolutely everything. It didn’t take us long after this to find the house that we had always dreamed and talked about but had never dared to buy.
We moved into the 5 bedroom, detached house with garages and a big garden in October 2005 and have since then transformed it into our home which we love to bits.
During the last 5 years we have grown Bronco, taking on new staff, more clients and bigger projects and even during the recent recession we have grown significantly. Dave and I have a strong belief that we want our company to be the sort of company that we would like to work for, and hopefully we have achieved that. We have a great team of guys working for us that I feel are my extended family as we always look out for each other. We moved the company in August 2007 across the business park to a larger unit which in itself was a massive feat especially moving the internet pipe and the servers, but it allowed us to double the number of staff. We have been looking for new premises for the last 6 months or so, and another move looks imminent if we want to continue to grow.
As the kids have grown up it has allowed myself and Dave to go to more conferences together in the UK and abroad, so that we can do the necessary business while we are there and bring in new clients. It’s great to get some time away from the kids but I always miss them and worry about them. I suppose I will never lose that feeling, but the older they get I will maybe feel more comfortable that they are ok. With the kids that bit older we have in the last 2 – 3 years travelled a lot. Whether it is hopping on a flight to London for the weekend, getting the train to Edinburgh, a quick trip to Dublin or staying in a hotel for whatever reason the kids are no trouble to take away and we all enjoy visiting new places. The future will bring hopefully more weekend trips and the ability to go on longer flights with the kids to new places.
I think that is pretty much it … the events of the last decade. I’m not one for making New Year’s Resolutions as you tend to make ones that you’ll never keep, but I will still be carrying on what we decided 5 years ago that we have to make the most of what we have and appreciate everything that we have, always. Never take anything for granted …ever!