Marie pondered over her current circumstances of not being able to graduate college when she planned, but she also realized this was a life lesson. Certainly, as much as the missed semesters from college was the fact of her parents’ mandate on grade requirements.
Chuck and Jalene were extremely lenient with their children’s first year of college. The requirement was Chuck and Jalene would pay 100% of all college related financial needs as long as each of their children maintained a 2.0 G.P.A. their freshman year. The following years they expected no less than a 3.0 G.P.A. Of course, they trusted their children would maintain higher than the minimum to receive full coverage of their college expenses.
The only other stipulation on full payment of all college related expenditures was they would not marry until they received their undergraduate bachelor’s degree. If they chose to marry prior to college graduation, they were proving they were adults and didn’t need the financial assistance from their parents.
If they failed any classes, Marie and Christian had to cover the cost of re-taking those lost credit hours. Marie was now frustrated that she must find a full-time job, but also faced the reality of paying for the classes she had failed.
Marie returned to work at Hallmark full time as the assistant store manager. She loved working at Hallmark, but also missed attending the university. However, she also realized she had placed herself in this predicament. Even though it seemed like an eternity now, she would be able to resume her college schedule in less than a year.
Marie had returned home. Christian was beginning his senior year of high school and Jalene continued to spend most of her week traveling out of state with her career. Jalene’s life was filled with mixed blessings. She loved having both of her children home with her, but she was melancholy that Chuck mandated she accept her current position.
Jalene pleaded, “Chuck, this job requires that I’m away from home 4-5 days a week. I don’t want to be away from the family.” Chuck was insistent, “the children are old enough to take care of themselves. You must take this job, knowing my company is being closed and I don’t know how much longer I will be employed.”
Jalene’s words of assurance were not accepted by Chuck. “Chuck, you know God will provide for us. God will also supply a job for me which allows me to remain at home.” Chuck would not relent, “no, you were offered this job. You must accept it.” Jalene spent many hours at night in hotel rooms, crying and praying, but realizing “for now” this was her life.
As the months passed, Marie experienced another heartbreaking “life experience.” Doug had found a new love. Marie could not be consoled. For her, this was more traumatic than realizing she had to “sit out” of college for a couple semesters. Marie had other “loves” whom moved on, but Doug was special. He was a great boyfriend. “Why did he leave? What had she done? Who was the other girl?” All of these were questions which Marie struggled with for the next few months of her life.
The seasons changed and so too did the Wood family. Spring of 1992, Christian was preparing for his high school graduation as Marie had done only two years prior. He continued to excel in his academics as he had for the duration of his middle and high school years. Christian had entered the gifted program while in grade school, participating in countless scholastic programs and competitions. His senior year was the grand finale for him, as he graduated with honors, earning numerous awards including that of the State Debate Champion.
Now, as with Marie, these fleeting years with Christian were memories. Being Christian’s homeroom mother, assistant Cub Scout leader for the year he participated with the Boy scouts, the tennis lessons and tournaments, playing golf (and the numerous times Jalene drove Christian and his buddies to the tournaments), the pride with his awards from debate tournaments, the many nights of having his golf and debate buddies fill their home with great laughter and yes, some frustration, were ending.
Like the memories for Marie, Jalene’s scrapbook of Christian’s accomplishments during the previous 18 years of his life was a source of pride for her. She was blessed with her two talented and lovely children. Now each were young adults; beginning their own lives. Marie was home again for a short duration, while Christian prepared to head off to the University of Oklahoma in the fall.
A repeat from two years ago, there was the freshman moving day. Christian’s new home for the next 9 months was the O.U. honor dorm. Marie had chosen to remain at home and enroll at the University of Central Oklahoma while she earned money to re-take the classes she had taken at O.U. less than two years prior.
Please continue to follow Jalene’s journey. Her autobiographical blog began in April 2016 from her childhood.