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Family

The Road to Kalamazoo for Daughter #2

Daughter #2, the youngest at age 30 and previously most settled by virtue of how long it took her to get accepted to medical school, will start her potentially more winding road than her sister’s upon completion of her program in 2023.  While #1 was Mini-Me during her youth, #2 was The Devil Child and sometimes also The Velcro Child during the same period of her development. 

From the time of her birth at 2:13 AM her personality and behaviors were hard for me to deal with.  The child refused to fall asleep at night and didn’t even nap in the swing or the car like most other babies.  I distinctly remember the vacation from hell when we left the hotel at 2:30 AM because when she saw me in the same room she thought it was party time!  On another trip she finally fell asleep in the car five minutes before we reached our destination but at least there were other people in the car to keep her entertained. On the one occasion where she fell asleep in the swing we had to take a picture as proof that it had really happened!  Velcro incident, though probably not unique to us, was when she clung to me when I tried to leave her at school and later when I tried to leave her at home with a nanny so I could go to work.

I guess it was fortunate for all of us that when we moved across country it was to a lower cost state so I could afford to stay home and continue to entertain her there while being even more at her beck and call.  This included ferrying her to her favorite fast-food drive-thru restaurants, my mandatory presence watching her favorite reality TV shows and advising her daily on what to do with nearly every minute of her free time, including what to eat during her study breaks!  The ties finally began to loosen when she learned to drive.  I found an hourly part time job just to get out of the house and away from the Devil/Velcro Child.  Our relationship finally and mercifully and surprisingly improved during her college application process. We took short trips to check out schools.  She requested only minimal advice from me on her essays.

The Velcro bonds loosened a bit when she went back across country for college. I helped furnish her dorm room to her exquisitely limited though broadly vague specifications.  The main exercise of her long-distance diabolical cling remained in our circular discussions around a new set of decisions she wanted me to help her make. By the time she graduated I think she really knew what she was going to do most of the time but maybe Satan just wanted to show that he hadn’t released control of our relationship quite yet!

The official last straw came when in her devilish indecisiveness she tried to talk us into letting her stay in college a year longer than necessary because she couldn’t decide which subject she wanted to get her degree in and then tried to blame me for telling her to start with an undeclared major!  As it was, she got an additional semester and degrees in two subjects.  That’s how long she kept me confused!

Devil Child’s degrees in Psychology and Neuroscience basically were preparatory for med school, at least in her mind.  We told both our kids a couple of things re their educations: (1) We would only pay for Bachelor’s degrees and for anything beyond that they were on their own and (2) they should get a job when they completed those degrees before deciding if they wanted or needed additional schooling to continue in what they thought would be their chosen professions.  The latter advice grew out of our painful and unhappy experiences after finding ourselves stuck in the jobs we’d trained for but didn’t really like doing!

So, wishing I could fast forward from college graduation to medical school acceptance, here’s the way it slowly went down.  After finding herself for a very short time in a job where she wasn’t happy, #2 made a lot of progress towards deciding she might really want to be a doctor.  She worked for a dermatologist to many stars she couldn’t tell me about in an office on Rodeo Drive, studied a lot for the MCAT, made some new friends and submitted her first applications for med school.  The result of that last effort was a series of painful rejections but, bless her heart, she didn’t give up and went back to work (for a different dermatologist who treated some of her grandma’s – my mom’s – friends), made some better friends, got her first boyfriend and some coaching to improve her interview performance. 

She also decided that she didn’t really have to go to a top tier medical school, which is probably why the second round of applications was moderately more successful than the first.  She had more interviews but only one acceptance:  The Homer Stryker School of Medicine of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo!

Categories
Family

The Road to Kalamazoo for Daughter #1

Daughter #1, the eldest at age 31 is currently the most settled by virtue of (1) her pre-pandemic marriage to longtime boyfriend (though shorter time fiancé) in October 2019 and (2) their purchase this year of a home in Portage, a suburb and “bedroom community” on the south side of Kalamazoo.  Prior to this recent full attainment of adulthood, I (and some other family members) thought of her as a Mini-Me.  I guess our main commonalties were our shared love of and interest in (American) history, the close relationship enjoyed and/or endured with our mothers, and our general straight arrow Girl Scout based behaviors and attitudes displayed and developed over our formative adolescent years.

She met her hubby, whom I have affectionally referred to as The Evil Genius since about halfway into their relationship of approximately 10 years now.  They were both digging up stuff, in an archaeological manner, in St. Louis. His parents and her parents both were living in East Tennessee at the time – his in Chattanooga, hers in Oak Ridge. This was a fortuitous coincidence, especially in light of the many interim stops they had separately and together before their current happy incarnation as Michiganders. I bestowed the title of Evil Genius on my now son-in-law (SIL) based mostly and initially on his appearance. 

Mini-Me
The Happy Couple joined in the Smoky Mountains
Evil Genius

As the years passed after he met my wonderful daughter, SIL evolved into a bit of an evil genius intellectually, too.  To paraphrase part of his mom’s wedding toast, his parents wondered what he would do with his anthropology degree, which again was coincidentally the same degree Mini-Me obtained in nearly the same year.  (Another amazing coincidence between them was that both had been uprooted from their childhood homes as high school juniors.)

After their “meet cute” on a dirty dig site, their career interests started to diverge.  He got a second bachelor’s degree in Psychology from a private university in Peoria, IL, while she got her Master’s Degree in Archaeology from a public university near where they lived in Bloomington/Normal IL. Like her mom, Mini-Me settled on her career choice sooner rather than later.

After she got her second degree, he decided to pursue his third degree, this time in Human Factors (sounds to me like a good field of study for a budding Evil Genius) at a public research university in Dayton, OH.  Over the three years he was working on getting his Masters (which he got for free through acceptance in a PhD program, a degree level neither of them wanted to achieve), they put a lot of miles on their vehicles traveling back and forth between Dayton and Mini-Me’s professional though short-term and/or itinerant positions in Virginia and back again in St. Louis, among other places.

They finally ended up, together, in Kalamazoo in 2019. He had a summer internship there the year before that took longer than it should have to turn into a real permanent job.  Both families, and this was post-engagement, were overjoyed! Now the Evil Genius analyzes and evaluates competitor products, usability studies and anthropometric data to provide dimension guidelines to the cross-functional industrial design and studio engineering teams. Sounds evil to me!

Mini-Me, was happy, too, though it was tempered a bit since it then became incumbent upon her to find an equally good and equally permanent job there. That took a while though not too long a while, in the grand scheme of things and certainly not within the timeline of their relationship.  Just prior to the wedding, she was hired under contract to work in the archives and records department of Kellogg’s of Battle Creek. 

They told her at the time she’d been hired because she already had some management experience and that she also had the requisite education and experience to replace their company archivist when she retired.  The latter was really the carrot by which she was drawn in and the icing on the cake (do you love my food metaphors?) was that the archivist did actually retire!

This is how I learned the location

This came from my daughter. One of her duties is to digitize all of this historic moving media, even in foreign languages. I’m hoping she can help me do the same with my dad’s old home movies!