Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Week 2: The Parental Units

I like to think I am a lot like my parents. I like being a lot like my parents. Because they are pretty flippin' fantastic.

For those of you who don't know, my mother grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Yes, she glows at night (she totally does not, but it's fun to tell people that). Her parents worked for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (I think that's what it is/was/could be called), socialized with Dr. Oppenheimer (yes, that Oppenheimer) and her neighbor was the foremost  expert on ball lightning (no idea what that is). If you can't tell, yet, she has some pretty amazing stories. Her mother was a Cornell graduate from Rochester, NY and her father was a Purdue graduate from Buffalo, NY. They were pretty amazing people, so long as they were not together... Or so I am told. I wish I had gotten the opportunity to know both of them better than I did, especially if my mom is any example of their awesomeness. My mom ended up taking a scholarship to Florida State where she earned 2 degrees in Dance and a minor in English. She was a professional ballet dancer for many moons, and now works for a Ga university. She has a much younger sister and brother (they are closer in age to me), and was an older child until she hit 16.

My Dad grew up all over. When he was young, his father, an Alabama alum, joined the FBI. They moved to all sorts of fabulous places such a Detroit, Michigan and Delmar, NY... Yeah. That was sarcasm. There are all kinds of fabulous stories about my dad getting shot at and my uncle asking to be dropped off at the nearby orphanage. My grandmother is an artist--she does beautiful water colors and oil paintings--and stayed home with my Dad, uncle, and aunt (and when they became too much for her, she hid behind the furnace in the basement). My dad graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (you get a gold star if you know what/how amazing it is) with a degree in bio-chemical engineering (bio-medical engineering? I don't remember) and does absolutely nothing with it. He now works for a company that does insurance adjusting, but I have no idea what it is he does... Sorry, Dad.

Like I said, I think I am a lot like both of my parents. Education was clearly important to both of their families, and it's very important to me, too. I took my education very seriously, and I think my accomplishments speak to that... I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty proud of graduating with honors from one of the best academic institutions in the world! My academic competitiveness comes from my mom, I think.... I wanted to be top in my class. But when I wasn't the very best, I was able to live it--thanks, Dad.

My dad and I have very similar senses of humor. I'm not sure I can really describe it, because, well... no one else really gets it. I was lucky to find S, who has the same rare gem, but I think even he gets a little taken aback when my dad and I get started. My mom has a terrific sense of humor, too, but it isn't the same... She and my brother have their senses of humor in common.

My dad and I are also the introverts of the family. We don't like people much, but do fine when around them. We're much happier sitting and listening/observing than being in the center of it all (although this does not hold true for family gatherings in which politics come up). My mom, on the other hand, is a social all-star and type A personality. I love her for it, but her comfort zone far out-reaches my own.

I think the one thing that baffles them about me is the fact that I married someone in the military. They also think I am a little weird because I want to adopt... Not because they are against it, just because it isn't something they had a desire to do. But the most important thing is something I got from them, which is the power to think for myself, have an opinion, and being able to express it.

And... that's all I've got. Pretty mushy, huh?

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