I’ve been following Sean, the Average Supermom, on Twitter for as long as I can remember, but finally got to meet her in person at Blissdom this year. And I am so happy I did. She’s completely down to earth, gorgeous, funny, real, and FUN. She’s a Texan, a wife, and a mom to her own sassy pants girl. She’s practically a rocket scientist (at least in my eyes), working in the space industry. Just wait, you’ll see!
Thanks SO much for stopping by with your story today, Sean!
All throughout high school my expectation was that I would go off to college. I spent hours slaving over SAT prep books in the counselor’s office. I took college catalogs home for leisurely reading. UC Santa Cruz and UT Austin were my ideal campuses with their laid back lifestyles yet stellar education programs. I expected to be an architect. With a perfectly balanced left and right brain the combination of art and engineering were a perfect fit.
In the spring of my senior year, I crammed for the SAT every chance I had. When the test day arrived, I aced it with near perfect, equal scores on both math and comprehension. My dream was so close that I woke up some mornings expecting to find myself in a dorm.
The counselor at my school helped me fill out college applications. We even threw in a few lame schools (Sul Ross and Southwest Texas State WTF?!) to appease my dad. With my test scores and my straight A’s I knew it was a done deal. And it was. It was too easy.
My acceptance letter to UT arrived in February of 1993. My nerves were so shot that I fumbled to open the envelope. When I saw the word ‘congratulations’ my heart screamed. I think I screamed. It was an out of body experience. But I was quickly brought back down to Earth.
“You didn’t get in, did you,” my dad snarked. He was always so positive.
“No, I DID! I got in to UT! Do you know how hard it is to get into UT as a freshman?” my cheeks ached from smiling.
“Huh, well, no daughter of mine is going off to a big school like that,” he snidely mused. “I’m not paying for it and I’m not going to sign any of your financial aid forms for you to be able to go.”
Dreams, expectations, whisked swiftly away.
“You’ll go to community college and we’ll see what happens.” Decision made. There was no changing this dictator’s rule.
And that’s where my life took a drastic turn.
Within two weeks, I was dating the bad boy in school. I dated 100’s of guys in high school, but this was my chance for a ticket out. He was going to be a Marine, after all, and we’d live the military life – happily ever after. But, soon after we started dating seriously, my dad forced me to move to Houston (actually packed my belongings while I was out of town one week and moved while I was gone!) and to go to community college. I felt betrayed. I felt small. I felt helpless. But I wasn’t. I knew he wasn’t in control of my future and it was up to me to make my life my own. So, naturally, I ran away in the middle of the night and got married that October.
It was a bold move. And it was a complete failure. We separated the following June, though I wish it had happened much sooner. From there, my only option was to move back in with my dad and go back to that damn school. So I made another bold move – I enlisted in the Air Force.
My only goal for my enlistment was to leave for Basic Training as soon as possible. I didn’t care about my job or anything else. The sergeant at the processing center wasn’t feeling it.
“You aced the ASVAB and you can pretty much pick any job you want,” he told me.
“What leaves tomorrow?”
“Ha! Seriously? You can pick any job – why don’t you look through your options and we will see what the departure dates look like.” He wasn’t amused by my urgency.
“No, what leaves tomorrow? Or as soon as possible? My only goal is to leave.”
“Well, if you want to leave in three days, you can go to dental hygienist training or something called space systems operations training,” He still wasn’t amused by my urgency.
“I hate teeth. I’ll take that space job.”
And that’s how I went on to spend the past 19 years working on various space programs from the Air Force to NASA to commercial space companies. I met my husband in the Air Force and we have a beautiful daughter, a beautiful home and a great life. I’ve made this life for myself under no one else’s terms. I guess when it comes to my happiness, I’m pretty fearless. We are given one life to live (as far as I know) and the only terms you should live by are your own.