“If I tell you something, do you promise not to get mad?”
Sigh…I hate questions like that.
“Ummm, no. I don’t promise, but I’ll try really hard not to get too upset, ok?”
“Well, I just won’t tell you if you’re going to get mad at me.”
“Just say it.”
“Not if you’re going to get mad at me.”
“Fine. I won’t get mad. What?”
“You sure you won’t get mad?”
“Yes. I’m positive. If I do get mad, I’ll make sure you don’t realize it, OK?”
“OK. Well, do you remember a long time ago you were looking at different schools to go to? It was a few years ago…”
“Well, you told me you wanted to go to school to be a pharmacist, right?”
“Well, you never became a pharmacist.”
“Uh huh. Is this what you wanted to tell me? That I never became a pharmacist?
Nervously chuckling, she replies “No, not exactly. It’s just that you have to really not get mad at me if I tell you. I don’t want to upset you.”
“Just say it.”
“We were talking in class the other day about what our parents do for a living…” her voice trailed off.
“Well, it’s just that mommy has a really good job, and everyone else’s parents had a really good job, so I kind of told them my dad was a pharmacist. BUT…I didn’t totally lie, because I told them you’re also a bartender part-time on the weekends. Please don’t be mad…”
Wow. That one hurt. When I was a kid, I was ashamed of my dad’s occupation (he fixed appliances). My dad has also had the same job since his sixteenth birthday, and has taken care of his family for many years doing that job. It used to be embarrassing though, as a kid, to have his appliance van parked outside our house. My mom held numerous jobs while I grew up, from being a waitress, to working at a convenience store, a babysitter, a bank teller, a personal banker, etc. I was never embarrassed about her jobs, because in my eyes my dad should be the one with the good job (because he was supposed to take care of us).
I’m not a kid anymore, and I have worked numerous jobs since my sixteenth birthday. I can honestly say that I can’t feel that embarrassed about my parent’s job(s) anymore. It’s true that my ex-wife does have an extremely “good” job, and it’s true that I am now a bartender/waiter. I can’t sugarcoat that for my kids, but I can encourage them to find something they like to do. Hopefully, when they get older, they will find a career doing something they like (love, ideally), and hopefully they will be compensated well for it.
In hindsight, there’s a lot of things I would have done differently since graduating high school, and completing a college degree would be a top priority. My wife has just started school again, and it’s a very exciting thing for our family. I am so happy for her, and I cannot wait to see her succeed. I want my children to see her succeed in her dreams, and I am looking forward to following in her footsteps this fall.
I haven’t stepped foot in a college classroom since 2002, and it’s now 2011. I have to be honest, I’m kind of nervous. I’ll loathe myself forever if I don’t take this step to better my life, however. It’s an important decision my wife and I have made (our New Year’s Resolution to each other, if you will). I no longer wish to be a pharmacist, although it is a very noble profession. I hope my daughter won’t be too upset if I get a degree in journalism, communications, or something of that nature.
I guess I’m not really mad at her for lying to her class. I mean, of course I’d prefer she didn’t lie because she’s embarrassed about her dad’s job. I see where she’s coming from though. Kids have a strange way of bringing out the best in us, don’t they? I think we owe it to ourselves and to them to do our best in every aspect of our daily lives. I hope one day I will make all four of mine proud of my accomplishments (and vice versa).