Monday, July 6, 2009

"You're doing what?!"

When we made the announcement to our parents and families that Wally would be returning to school they were full of support and excitement over our decision. No one felt the barn was a good fit for him and his talents and they knew that now was the time for us to go ahead in our lives to do this.

SIDE BAR: I just want to explain to anyone reading this who's thinking 'Big deal you wanted to go back to school, people do it all of the time'. We were raised to grow up get married settle down and have a family. Do the job you first get when you are young and don’t quit until you retire. The fact that we were putting a lot of this on hold was looked at as different, especially in the place we grew up. A place where you were born, raised, educated and worked your whole life only to continue the cycle on and on.

The first year Wally would be going to school for 12 months straight – the plan was that I would work him through. It would be a hard year for us but we would do it and then after that he would have a co-op term after each semester of school until it was done. The co-op terms are paid job experiences so that would ease the financial strain and definitely help get us through without having to give up our home that we had been working so diligently to update and repair in the most cost efficient ways we knew of. That was ‘the plan’ …

Until the day I went to Wally and shared my desire to get an education too. You see I had actually been the one that had wanted to go back to school from the start, but it didn’t make sense to us to do that. I wanted to stay home with our kids someday, so why would I be the one to go to school? Well I had been doing a lot of thinking and was challenged to consider the idea of BOTH of us getting an education. Initially when I brought this up with Wally we decided that when he was done school I would then go back. That way we could keep our home and not mess up ‘the plan’.

By July of that first year the longing to go back to school was so great that I almost couldn’t handle it anymore. I really felt we were being called to take a risk, make a move. When I shared this with Wally he was supportive (shockingly so – he later admitted that deep down he was thinking ‘Oh my goodness! You can’t do that!!!’). He thought about it for a while and soon agreed that I too would join him at school exactly a year after he went back.

This time when we sat down with our families it was a different story though. First we told my parents. I was so nervous. I figured my pop would be good (he is a great promoter of education and himself went to night school for 10 years to get a diploma), but I knew my mama would be a different story. When we broke the news about our plans for me to go back to school, rather than the elated voices and excitement that was shown to Wally, I got a silent reading of my acceptance letter – with furrowed brow. The first question mama asked was “Do you really need to go to school to do this job?” followed by “You are still going to work full time though, right?” Needless to say I was crushed at the lack of acceptance from my own mother but tried to let it go. Why did it seem that it was totally ok for me to support my husband to follow his dreams but it was completely selfish of me to follow mine – even after the 12 months of school I would be putting him through? (Not to mention unemployment in years gone by, once again another post for another time).

Smoky mama and Smoky pops (Wally’s parents) were far more accepting of our decision, which did make things easier for me to allow myself to get excited. The only catch was ‘the plan’ was now void. We had some thinking to do…

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