June 21, 2017

The Gray Area

If you have a child over the age of 17, you have lived in the "Gray Area". How do I know? Because I am on child 2 in the Area Gray, and it hasn't gotten easier. What the hell am I talking about? Let me explain.

Doodle turned 18 the day before she graduated from high school. During (and the summer leading up to) her Senior year of high school, I have taken her to visit colleges, helped her fill out applications, stalked the mail box for acceptance letters, paid deposit after fee after deposit after fee.

During this whole past year, Doodle has made it clear that she wants some sort of degree in Education. At least that is what she has decided for now. We all know college kids can and will change their minds on the direction of study in that first 2 years at university.

I have been vocal about the college choice I had for her, however I have ultimately supported her goal to go to the college SHE thinks is best. Why is all of this backstory important? Hang on to your panties, because I will explain.

Over the weekend, I was at a high school graduation. Afterwards, when we all went out to celebrate together, the topic of career paths came up. The people I was sitting with had some different opinions about college, so we dove in to a spirited conversation about it.

Here is what it boiled down to: the general consensus from the others was that you should not encourage your child to go with the career/education path they choose, especially if said path will not be something where they will make a lot of money.

And that is where I lost it. Shocking, I am sure.

We all agreed that it is the responsibility of the parent to shape and mold the child in to a good person: with goals, respect and self reliance. However, that is where the agreements stopped.

They all thought that teaching is a noble profession, but didn't understand why I wouldn't tell Doodle to go in to something that could make her more money. And that is where I felt I had been punched in the gut. I am sure it was not supposed to be personal. And I recognize that logically.

But emotionally? All I could think was FUCK YOU. I make today (after having been in my profession for 16 years) what Doodle will make once she is done with her student teaching and internship. Apparently, even though I supported 2 kids on that income, that is not enough to LIVE ON.

Did I have a new car? NO. Did I scrimp and save where I could to ease the monthly tightness? YES. Do I feel I deprived my children anything while they were growing up? HELL NO.

What if my child said they wanted to be a farmer? Or a missionary? Do those make a lot of money? Hell no. Are you they "noble" professions? Absolutely.

So, maybe I am just being too sensitive. Would love to hear somebody else's take on this. I will sit back with my vat of wine while I wait to hear from you.