How has life been different than how you imagined it?

I’ve always been looking for Mayberry.”

When asked why, she responded, “I pretty much grew up in the ghetto. My mom was single, and our budget afforded us a small apartment in a crappy area. While I couldn’t change the family I was born into, I always wished I came from a ‘normal’ family, the kind where a mom bakes Christmas cookies and a family sits down together for dinner. Instead, I lived on food stamps, I heard at age 7, ‘we don’t talk about those things’ after telling my grandma someone had touched me, and my mom forced me to leave the house for college.

Thankfully, I had a good group of friends during middle school and high school. That group and their families positively influenced the course of my life. And while I didn’t want to pursue higher education, I ended up earning both my bachelor’s and masters. Today, I have my version of Mayberry; I am a college professor, a wife & mother, and a homeowner in a ‘white picket fence’ town.