Edited to add: I wrote this a few days ago.
There have been some updates or changes to our plan, but I wanted to post this just as I wrote it. Education is a huge issue for me and my kids. But I recognize that what we are looking for is not what everyone is looking for. Which is 100% ok.
I hate not having a college degree.
Like, ridiculous amounts of shame and ugly feelings, I hate it. It doesn’t get brought up very often, because in my crazy, perfectionist mind, it lessens my worth. Lessens what I have to offer. Which is ridiculous. But, in the corporate world…a degree is important. It gives you a leg to stand on.
So here I am. Legless.
I’m sure there is a joke there about having freakishly long legs and being legless, but I’m afraid I cannot connect the dots at this time of day.
Deep down, I know I have importance. I know that I am very smart (brilliant!) and I have a lot going for me. But that doesn’t take away the fact that it’s hard for me to promote myself, my skills…my obvious brilliance (kidding) without that piece of paper that proves that I’ve done the work and the necessary ass-kissing. (Kidding again! Of course you get through college without any ass-kissing!)
I knew it was more important for me to get a job and get benefits when our family was first getting started. It was more important to be able to survive as teenage parents than me getting a college degree. Timing is everything and of course a college degree would’ve helped us not struggle quite so much in the beginning. Maybe. And eventually, we were able to get The Dude through school. But I made a choice. My family needed me to do something different. And I made that sacrifice for my family. Because they are more than worth it.
But that doesn’t mean I still don’t hate not having one. Like always, I have a seriously problem wishing I could have it all.
I’ve spent the better part of motherhood worried about my children’s education. I’ve sacrificed lunch hours and spent so much time driving all over the place to make sure my kids have gone to great schools. I’m ridiculously lucky that my kids’ grandparents could help us so much with after school care and help with some of the driving, too, but we’ve always worried about where our kids go to school. A constant thought process and worry. Thankfully, The Dude and I see eye to eye with regards to schools and the importance of working our ass off so that our kids can have the best opportunities possible.
This may or may not explain why we are in the process of completely rearranging our life and location, in part, for a better education for Ramona.
Currently, we drive Beezus across town every day to the high school that, we felt, would be the best choice for her. That kid is a brainiac and an athlete, so we tried to find a high school for her that would fit her needs and get her into the best colleges possible. And it worked out better than we thought. We lucked out and she is absolutely thriving there. The next step for her is college. (And I will write more about that because DAMN.) We’ve done what we can to get her to the next step. I’m proud of her. And I’m proud of us.
And I want the same opportunities for Ramona. But I want it in a situation and a school that’s right for HER.
Now, I would hate to give the impression that schools where we currently leave are trash and awful. It’s not that. But they don’t offer what we’ve always looked for. And I don’t want to settle when we’ve already come so far. So we’re looking at our options in other areas. Areas where they happen to have schools that fall in line with what we hope for Ramona. Where, hopefully, she will thrive and be successful, too!
Because here’s the thing: I want a better life for my kids. I do. I want them to have the college experience I didn’t. They deserve that. And I don’t want all these years of sacrifice and hard work to be for nothing. Yes, of course they have a say in their life choices. But in our family? College is part of the plan. College isn’t a maybe. And maybe you think I’m projecting this choice onto my children because college is so important to ME, but that’s ok. I’m not telling them what they have to be when they grow up. They just know that college needs to be part of the equation. So that they have that piece of paper. And they can have the options I don’t have. These kids of mine can be whoever the hell they want to be because their hard work and our hard work has paid off.
It probably sounds crazy to a lot of people. But this is important to me. Because I made a promise to myself long ago that I want to make good on. And I will. I’ll continue to work my ass off and run around like the craziest of all the crazies to make that promise happen. There’s just no other option.
3 Replies to “Making Good on the Promise of a Teenage College Drop-Out”
None of this sounds crazy to me at all. I really want my kids to go to college. I really value not just the piece of paper, but the actual education, too. Not everybody should go to college. And I think it sounds like you made the right choice at the right time, though you would probably not otherwise have been one of the people who doesn’t need to go. Your kids can understand that you value it, but that it was not particularly attainable for you when you were younger.
Thank you for this…it IS so important to me. And I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to explain it to my kids in a ways that they truly understand. Because how could they? I just hope and pray that we’re teaching them the value of it. I so want that experience for them. The education, the piece of paper PLUS all the life skills they (should) learn during that time.
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