Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What If?

Do you ever play the "what if" game? What if my childhood had been different?

When I was a pre-teen I used to get in the somersault position and look at the ceiling. I would imagine it was the floor. In order to walk from room to room you would have to step over the doorway. It gives you a whole different perspective. As I was thinking about this weird view of the house I remembered from childhood (no I am not in the somersault position looking at the ceiling!!!) It made me think "what if?"

What if my childhood had been different? My dad is a PHD chemist. He is very smart with some astronomical IQ. He does not have as much common sense though. He is and always has been obsessed with being a farmer. After graduating from college with his PHD in Missouri, he got a job in east Texas. I was in 1st grade. We moved to a house in a town of 60,000 people. It was not long (2nd grade) before we moved again. This time we lived in the country, so my dad could have a few acres of land. Then in 4th grade we moved again. This time my dad and mom bought 62 acres. We lived in a 2 bedroom house on the property. Then my dad leased some more land, so he could bale hay. My sister and I spent many gratis hours in the hay field during high school. We were helping him make his dream come true. 

When I finished at the local junior college, I moved to Texas A&M. My dad and mom paid my expenses and provided a car. College was so hard. I studied all the time. In April of my third semester at A&M, my dad quit his job. He had been with the company for 15 years. He was now going to bale hay and farm on a full-time basis. He called me at A&M and said I would have to move home after the semester was over. I was devastated.

I came home and decided I would attend UT-Tyler. I visited the campus. It was so small. It was so not A&M. I decided I would go back to A&M and get a job. I moved back to A&M at the end of summer and got a job at a motel. I worked as a desk clerk on the weekends and also worked one day during the week. However, the engineering program was so difficult that I got on scholastic probation. I changed majors and entered the business school. I continued the computer programming classes offered in the business school. I took 12 hours a semester. I worked and I went to school.

Eventually after 5 and a half years in college I finished my BBA at Texas A&M. I graduated in December of 1986. I had done it. I had put myself through school and I only took one loan of $1800.

Reflecting back on all of this, it may seem that I am disappointed in my dad and mom. I am not. When my dad quit his job, I began to see him as he really is. He wants his life to be about farming and will do anything to get there. It took time for me to understand that.  If my dad had not quit work to pursue his dream, I would never have been given the opportunity to put myself through school.

What if? For me, the opportunity to put myself through college was a great advantage. It allowed me take classes at my own pace. It allowed me to succeed in something that was really important. It allowed me to grow as a young woman and realize that even when things are difficult, they are still achievable. It changed me for the better.

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