Evolution of Family

It always comes to me as a surprise that it is TSQL Tuesday again. I guess time just slips by so quickly these days. This month our wonderful host is Jeffrey Verheul [ B L O G  | TWITTER ]. The writing challenge of this month is to talk about #sqlfamily. If you haven’t heard about or figured out what this Tuesday stuff is all about drop me a line and I will not only sell you on the concept I will convince you to write your first post for next month.


This month I would like to give everyone the opportunity to write about SQL Family. The first time I heard of SQL Family, was on Twitter where someone mentioned this. At first I didn’t know what to think about this. I wasn’t really active in the community, and I thought it was a little weird. They were just people you meet on the internet, and might meet in person at a conference some day. But I couldn’t be more wrong about that!

Once you start visiting events, forums, or any other involvement with the community, you’ll see I was totally wrong. I want to hear those stories. How do you feel about SQL Family? Did they help you, or did you help someone in the SQL Family? I would love to hear the stories of support, how it helped you grow and evolve, or how you would explain SQL Family to your friends and family (which I find hard). Just write about whatever topic you want, as long as it’s related to SQL Family or community.

My first thought on this topic was “oh, we are doing that again”. But then it donned on me that this is a great thing, this means that there are more and more folks discovering the #SQLCommunity. Then I decided that I would go back and find my previous post and see how I feel about that post, #SQLCommunity and #SQLFamily now.

I am starting to think that #SQLFamily has grown to be more like a real family, you know there a few people you just don’t like but you still have to go to Christmas dinner. There are a few people you are closer too, those people that you’d stop everything for and try to help. There are those people you barely know and still think you’d want to help them. Hell in my real family there are some that I would prefer that NO ONE EVER know we were related even if just by marriage. In a real family when someone enters into a relationship the rest of the family gives unconditional support and automatically accepts the other person (you know until something goes wrong). #SQLFamily is no different someone new comes to an event and we just drag them along for the ride. Sometimes we help grow them into speakers and volunteers, sometimes we help them with problems and sometimes we just provide understanding ears.

Sometimes I think that #SQLFamily has grown to be like High School. Watching the, as I like to call it shit storm after Summit 14 speaker announcements.  You see some of the popular kids making public comments that seriously hurt feelings, even if unintentionally there is damage done. Nothing that was said was directly aimed at me yet I have taken this very personally. I may not submit sessions for next years conference because I would not want to any part of a repeat shit storm. But much like a family there isn’t a lot that can be done. In an extended part of my family 3 siblings and their families are not talking to the youngest (4th) sibling and family and refuse to show up to events together. Right or wrong there is no way to repair the damage, force them to be civil to each other and there is no going back.

Sometimes #SQLFamily is like the divorce of your best friends. You have to choose which person wins the opportunity to continue on as your friend and the other one looses out all together. Thank goodness that in my divorce my husband and I stayed friends, I still talk to his family and I even show up for some events. But even in my case there are some people that are uncomfortable with this situation and don’t know what to do with themselves. I just say drink your beer and act normal. But when others are in conflict this is exactly what it feels like to me.

Other times #SQLFamily is just like when your best friend or sibling gets involved with someone else. You know they are “married” now and don’t have time to meet up any more. They have another family to tend to. Once my little brother moved to Indianapolis I really stopped hearing from him all that much. Then the marriage and all the new things happening in his life I bet we barely talked 6 times last year. I don’t love him any less I just miss him. But the difference is that I still try to hit him up once in a while just so he knows I am still here and do care, I am however not so good at doing that with #SQLFamily (Sorry Josh, I do miss you).

Wow! That post was from November of 2012 and my how things have changed. I used to say that #SQLFamily was the family you choose, but that isn’t exactly true any more. With the growth of SQL Events, PASS, User Groups and everything else there are just more and more people joining and adopting the #SQLFamily mentality.

Since that post I can say that so much has changed but stayed the same. First I have this core group of friends that were once called #SQLFamily. They are now in my speed dial, on my Christmas Card list and I talk to them regularly. We help each other, we listen to random rants about anything, we hug each other and tell the other it’s okay and we generally don’t ever ask why it’s always “How can I help?” I do not know where I would be right now if it were not for them. I have gained strength and power, along with confidence in who I am just from being around them. I am not afraid of anything because I know they will be there for me. They are the family that I have chose and this won’t be the first time I say it, nor the last but I love them dearly. Every last quirky bit of them. I try really hard to see them regularly, it makes me sad and I feel so alone on those long spells without visits.

So what is the same? Well wasn’t it Google groups or + that allowed you to create like an inner circle and outer circles of friends? Maybe I was smoking rocks. While this was true in 2012 it has grown bigger and deeper. I love that as we get to spend time with each other and as we become connected on social networks that we learn more and more about each other. I do hate to mention names in blog post as I don’t want to hurt feelings and would hate to leave anyone out but I just want to share some things that love about #SQLFamily that have nothing to do with SQL Server. TJ Belt and Steve Jones do wood working, I love this and have made a few things of my own. I love seeing the stuff they work on, it encourages me to get out and do something. Pat Wright takes photos, yeah you all knew that but now that I follow him else where I see some of the non-event work he does and I am inspired to get outside and take a few photos. Mickey used to make jewelry and Pam Shaw is the creator of the SQLSat earrings and bracelet. When my sewing machine broke down over Christmas I made some jewelry to keep me busy, I love that we can chat about these things. Hope Foley’s daughter took a sewing class, we got to talk about that this weekend.  Christina Leo is our kettle bell queen, if I see her at Summit I hope to discuss this as I want an easy indoor exercise without out buying a whole gym. Tim Radney is going to raise fish and grow plants on top, and he’s got chickens. Because I know all these things I feel like I can ask questions on a personal level of these folks. Why would I feel so entitled? Because these people are passionate about #SQLCommunity & #SQLFamily I can only assume they are passionate about the other things they do.

I guess that in the end we really are like a family. Sometimes we don’t get along, sometimes we can’t get together and miss seeing each other and sometimes we just SKYPE to get our fix. I truly would do anything I could to help a #SQLFamily person out.

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