July 18, 2010

Not Playing by Life's Rules

In my life I feel that I have always been in the wrong age category.  I have either been too old or too young. 

My youngest son was born when I was 34 years old.  I was the oldest mother in his kindergarten class and frankly I suspect I continue to be the oldest mother in his grade.  When he was young I attended a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting and I definitely was the oldest mom there and I was the age of one of the mom mentors. 

Now I am home full time when most of the women my age are off to work.  The women that are at home right now are not my age, they are about 15 to 20 years younger than me.  We have little in common I have come to find out. 

This has probably been the hardest part of my change of being a professional career woman to being a stay at home wife/mother.  I don't have a friend my age that is home, with a child the age of my son.  When I decided to be home full time I was meant with a lot of weird looks from other women.  Some looked at me as if I had frogs coming out of my ears.  Nothing new to me - after all I have never lived my life playing by the rules. 

I graduated from a junior college when I was 20 and my parents fully expected me to move back to my home town in New York (I was attending college in Kansas at the time) and get a job and never move away.  That was the summer of 1979 and I made a decision that changed my life.  I decided to follow my boyfriend back to Kansas and find a job while he attended college.  I would work, he would go to college and we would get married some day.  So without my parents blessing I moved back to Kansas in August of 1979.  One week later my boyfriend and I broke up.

I had very little money and I wasn't going to call my parents for help.  I was determined to make it on my own.  Perhaps it is just being 20 years old and having a feeling that I could make it work that made me push on.  My former boyfriend moved to a different town and I was left alone in Ottawa, Kansas.  But, the story continues.  Ottawa is the home to a private liberal arts college named "Ottawa University."  I walked on the campus and into the admissions office one day before school started and enrolled.  I explained my situation. They called my Junior college to verify my g.p.a.  I was given a Presidential scholarship, obtained two part time work study jobs and was given a room on campus. 

I had a rough financial road ahead of me.  My work study jobs covered the expense of books and some of my tuition.  I had about 5 dollars left per week for any of my personal expenses.  I remember trying to wash all of my clothes in 1 load and hanging them to dry.  I also grew my hair out as I couldn't afford a haircut. 

The following spring I met a guy who was getting ready to graduate from Ottawa.  Two weeks after our first date he proposed.  We have now been married almost 30 years.

So, yes,  I have not played by the rules but I am so glad that I never did the safe thing and stayed in my home town and lived there for the rest of my life.  I am also very happy to be home full time at my age even if it goes against the rules.

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