At Home with Tech

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Category: Tech Diary

A Father’s Reflections after his Son’s Bar Mitzvah

Yesterday reflects a course adjustment for my family that’s three generations in the making. Here’s why.

Our son had his bar mitzvah yesterday. He was amazing, even if I am a little biased.

He was prepared. He was relaxed. He hit it out of the park. For someone who doesn’t exactly crave the spotlight, he appeared relatively Zen.

My wife and I are so proud of him. This was his day in every way.

A Return to a Family’s Tradition
It also represented a major shift in the timeline for my family. It’s the first bar mitzvah in my immediate family in three generations. I didn’t have one, and neither did my father. But both sides of my family came from observant Jewish ancestors. So yesterday was a definite reset.

I couldn’t be happier.

Our son now has the foundation that I never received growing up. And as a young adult, I began to recognize the gap. That choice my parents made for me to not have a bar mitzvah is part of a much larger conversation about their perception of Jewish identity during those decades.

Suffice to say, it’s usually best to fully embrace who you are so you can fully become who you are meant to be.

I’m the bridge. My son is the future. What he decides to do with his foundation is up to him. But now he’s got it…

Seven Minutes of Pure Joy
At our son’s party, my wife and I wanted everyone to dance the traditional hora with us and lift up our son on a chair like you often see at Jewish celebrations. And that’s exactly what we did.

Watching him float up there was glorious. Then my wife went up, and finally it was my turn.

It was magical. I felt weightless. Time slowed down as I spun around in the clouds.

Family and friends were laughing, clapping and smiling. All of that love and support flowed around me and through me.

I will never forget the feeling.

Taking It All In
Yes, the feeling of an entire community’s warm support at our Congregation Beth El earlier in the day.

That knowledge that you were participating in one of the happiest days of your life.

And the love of family and friends, some who drove far through an all-day pummeling rain storm to be with you.

It was a special day.

Positive Momentum
Oh yes… Did I mention that we got an inch of rain yesterday? And of course, it derailed our outdoor plan A for the evening party. But we had a great indoor plan B.

There was simply too much momentum going. There could be no wash out.

As the evening party rocked inside, I occasionally glanced at the torrential rain outside.. And I smiled.

It was exactly as it was meant to be. And it was perfect.

My Message to the Universe
I don’t think you get many days like yesterday. So when they come along, it’s important to be as present as you can be to take it all in. That’s the advice I received, and I followed it!

I’m also finding it useful to write about it a bit to help seal in all of that joy.

So, I sat at my desk during my magic hour this morning. I reflected with my cup of Joe to the left of my keyboard. And the above is what flowed out.

And now I upload my story to the universe. I send it to the past. I send it to the future.

Everything feels right.

Why You Really Have Multiple Mothers

You’re more than the sum of your life experiences. The past has a way of traveling forward through generations and affecting your existence in ways you can’t possibly know. Think you‘ve been influenced by just one mother? Think again…

The love of a mother is unique and irreplaceable. My mom’s been gone since 2006, and of course, I miss her. She was the quintessential Jewish mother. Doting. Over protective. Always there for me. I am at home with tech, because she bought me my first audio cassette recorder for my 7th birthday.
(My father thought my sound-collecting interest was a passing fad, but my mom had her x-ray mom-vision that could see deeper into my heart and ultimately my future.)

Even after I had grown up and moved out, she still mothered from afar. She clipped and mailed news articles on topics she thought would (or should) be of interest to me. She was only a phone call away, and yes we talked often. Of course, I had my standing dinners with my father over the years when I was back in town, but I’ve reflected a lot about him lately.

Today is about mothers.

Multiple Mothers
Usually, you think of having one mother or person who served in that pivotal role during your early life. And that was certainly the case with my mom. But I believe the superpower of mothering is partially fueled by the past through a form of time travel.

As I look at old photos of both my grandmothers, I definitely feel a distant influence from both of them… as mothers.

And even though I never got to meet them, they influenced how my parents grew up and ultimately how they parented me. So, in a way, both of these women were also there with me through some of my parents’ unconscious behaviors.

If we extend this logic further, I am inevitably the result of a long line of mothers who stretch way back into my family’s history.

Aren’t we all?

All the wisdom. All of the unconditional love. All of that warmth.

Each of us contains all of this timeless ‘mom collective.’

My Paternal Grandmother
I’ve been going through photos of my grandmother Rae lately… ever since my father passed away.
Rae looks like quite the force. Smart. Funny. Clever. Daring. Compelling. She could not have been happier as she brought up her young family with my grandfather in the mid 1930’s.

Then, she died unexpectedly when my father was just four years old. It must have been absolutely shattering. My father didn’t talk about it with the same intensity… I’m sure as a long-established coping mechanism.

My grandfather never remarried, and he and his two young sons moved forward in their lives as best as anyone could.

So, Rae’s major influence on my father was unfortunately her absence as a mother after those few short years.

Still, I look at the photos of her, and I cannot help but feel a connection… a beneficiary of all of her strength and goodness. Of course, her love brought my father into this world, and she set him on his young path.

Thank you, Rae. Happy Mother’s Day.

My Maternal Grandmother
Then, there’s my mother’s mom… Blanka. She was originally from Hungary.
She looks much more serious, right? I don’t have as many photos of her. So it’s harder for me to paint my own picture..

My mom didn’t give me a lot of background on what her mother was like. The main part of Blanka’s story was that she had a serious bout of pneumonia when she was young and as a result was sickly across her adulthood. My mom spent a lot of time taking care of her when my mother was a teenager.

Blanka ultimately died young. My mother had grown up by then, but my mom was only in her twenties.

Still, as I think about Blanka’s life, there are two decades of mothering that influenced the person my mom became. (See first paragraph.) I don’t know those stories, but I know that as a result, there’s a part of Blanca in me.

Thank you Blanka. Happy Mother’s Day.

My Mother
Looking at both stories of my grandmothers, there’s the unfortunate similarity that both their lives ended way too early.

Not that one’s life should be singularly judged in terms of longevity, but I feel blessed that my mother lived for as long as she did. And happily, she was my mom decades into my adulthood.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

My Wife
And this brings us to the present.

I’m also blessed to be a parent of a young teenage boy. He is so great. And this is, in large part, due to his amazing mother.
Thank you wife for everything you do for our son every day. I can see your empathy, love of nature and balanced mindfulness flowing in his being.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Generations of Motherly Love
They say it takes a village. I can easily see that using my expanded view across time.

To all of the mothers in my family who have provided so much love, support and wisdom to the generations… you’re all rock stars!

How a Bio Site can Unify your Personal Brand

If there are multiple versions of your personal brand online, maybe it’s time to bring it all together. Here’s how to do that with a Bio Site.

In addition to my At Home with Tech blog, which I host on WordPress, I also have a more professional presence at I built that website using Squarespace. (Of course, I’ve also got LinkedIn for my professional life.)

My thinking has always been to have two parallel but separate paths for my online branding. One for weekdays… the other for weekends.

There is Only One True Version of You
That said, I’m acutely aware that there really isn’t separation when it comes to anyone’s personal brand. So, I’m mindful to ensure my home technology blog stories as a dad are complementary to my professional presence as corporate video production leader.

And whether it’s LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or TikTok, everything we post online molds our identity. So why even try to separate it?

Instead, perhaps we should try to bring it all together with the links in one place. That unification is what Squarespace has offered me.

Build your Bio Site
In fact, Squarespace has been bugging me for quite a while to do this by setting up something called a Bio Site. It’s a free option that creates a new mobile-first, one-page website where you can aggregate all of your social media links and website links.

Think of it as a link-centric, ‘everything you’ profile. (And yes, there are other bio services out there.)

But since Squarespace’s free offer was right in front of me, I decided to go ahead and stand up my new ‘All Barrett’ destination at

My new Bio Site is

My Bio Site is Live!
You can see that I’m still organizing my existence into two pieces. My work life is on the top, and my home life inhabits the bottom half the page. (I’ll continue to work on better integrating a more holistic identity.)

Yes, my Bio Site was easy to create. Yes, the design is flexible. Yes, I can change and add to it as I go along.

But do I really need this?

The Total You
Well, I can certainly add the link to my email signature. It’s also intended to be useful in places like Instagram, where you can only post one clickable link.

It feels a bit like a digital business card, but it’s really more of a digital ‘life’ card to share.

It’s everything that’s you.

Bring It Together
I like the simplicity. It’s one-stop shopping.

Sure, you can unify your online identity in other ways, but if you’ve already scattered your existence across the web, a Bio Site can be a good way to bring it all together!

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