UNT Union: So who are you on campus with today?
E: I’m with my son, who is going to be a Freshman this fall and is doing early start, so he starts July 9th. My empty nest is going to start earlier than I planned and I’m okay with that. It’s very exciting, it’s a good thing. They’re supposed to grow up and leave home. My husband and I both met at A&M, and we both remarked about how much this campus reminds us of what A&M was like 25 years ago. I love it here. We have a really good feeling about this.
UNT Union: What do you do?
E: I just retired from owning my own professional services firm in December, and now I teach yoga and pilates full time. I also blog at My Life Between Coffee and Wine and I’ve just been picked up by two large syndication opportunities that are happening in the next two weeks. So I’m on my second chapter of my career, as my son is embarking on his first. It’s very exciting.
UNT Union: Tell us about your children.
E: My oldest is in upstate New York–he was obviously more enthusiastic about being further away from his overbearing Catholic mother than my youngest. My oldest son is 21, so he’s going to be a senior at RPI in Troy, New York. He is pursuing game science design. Which, if you ever thought I’d be paying all this money for a liberal arts degree, I would’ve thought you were a liar… but I am!
My youngest is pursuing forensic science, and they’re both doing it because it’s what they’re passionate about. Both are very competitive fields. You can’t just skate by–you’ve really got to give it your all and I think that’s invigorating. It’s scary, but it’s also the right thing for them.
UNT Union: What are your hopes for your sons?
E: I really hope that they both pursue their passions. My career was more focused on getting out and having a job day one. It ended up driving me into accounting, which actually ended up being fantastic for me, but my passion was always in writing and art and other things. But since I had the uncertainty of understanding how that would pay the bills, the more secure opportunities were higher up on my priority list, just from a survival perspective.
I’ve tried not to keep my kids in a bubble, I’ve exposed them to a lot, traveled a lot, they’ve worked on service projects. But the reality is, they were two white males growing up in a nice middle-class suburban area, and not all the world is like that. My biggest fear is how they go out there and they be part of that. Even when they may not be perceived as part of what’s good, because they have had a fortunate upbringing. That said, I think my biggest fear is that adjustment, and figuring out their place. It’s a whole lot more than holding down a nine to five and having a house in suburbia and repeating what they had.
UNT Union: What are you most proud of?
E: It took a lot of guts to leave home at 18. My best friend’s daddy backed up a horse trailer and I threw what little I owned in it and just left home. I never spent another night in my parents’ house after I left for college. I’m proud that I was stupid enough not to realize how hard it was going to be–maybe I wouldn’t have done it and taken the chances if I’d known. My mother actually tried to talk me out of leaving for college a few weeks before I left and I still went. I’m really glad I went ahead and left.
Leaving home and going to off to college was the best thing I ever did. I stumbled along the way–who doesn’t? Right? The scars are where the light enters you, so you have to get some scars, you have to get hurt. It can’t be all perfect. You can’t wrap your kid or yourself in bubble-wrap and try to go through life avoiding anything that’s going to be painful or uncomfortable. That’s not what it’s about.
UNT Union: How do you define success?
E: I think it so critically important that everyone creates their own definition of success, as long as your definition includes being a service to other people, and being independent, and doing what you can to lift other people up. It doesn’t matter how you define it.