Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, everybody. As you may know, Mother's Day has a special meaning to me this year: Cindy, my wife of ten years, just gave birth to our first child, a son, two weeks ago.

Yes, I was there for the delivery, holding one of Cindy's legs and yelling "Push!" Was it the greatest moment of my life? Well, it was certainly the most anticipated moment of my life.

Cindy and I first met in a Burger King in the summer of 1978, about the time we both turned 15. The event was short and insignificant; Cindy doesn't remember it.

We were both attending a two- or three-week summer debate camp at the local university in Lafayette, Louisiana, our home town. I was eating lunch with my debate partner, Matthew Sobek. He recognized two girls eating at another booth as the new girls, our age, who were going to be joining our high school squad that fall. He suggested that we should introduce ourselves.

We picked ourselves up, threw away our trash, and started towards their side of the restaurant. Before we could get there, though, they had also gotten up and were making their way to a near-by trash receptacle. So our awkward introductions took place with all of us standing in a narrow aisle-way, me behind Matthew, Cindy behind Michelle. That may have been the only conversation we had until our sophomore year started two months later.

It was another two and a half years until we were dating, but by 1982 we had picked out a name for our someday son - Christopher. I don't remember how we came to this, but I know that this was around the same time that I decided I would get a Master's degree in geophysics from UT Austin. Those were two components of our master plan; the third component was that Cindy would have her own CPA practice, so that she could work out of the house while she raised Christopher and his sibling.

We both graduated from college in the spring of 1986. At the end of that summer, we got married and moved to Austin. Once there, Cindy started studying for the CPA exam, while I started working towards a graduate degree in geophysics. I was offered an assistantship at the UT Institute for Geophysics; Cindy worked part-time jobs so that we could make the bills. To fall to cliches, money was tight. Cindy's paychecks came to less than my monthly stipend.

Austin is a beautiful place, and it hosts several colleges, including the 50,000 student University of Texas. The competition with local graduates for entry-level jobs is fierce. After two years in Austin, Cindy took and passed the CPA test, a three-day examination. Six months later, she finally found an entry-level position with a local accounting firm.

In the fall of 1990, the opportunity presented itself for me to work at HARC. Even living on a shoestring, we had grown to love Austin, so it was hard to tear Cindy away. Fortunately, The Woodlands is also a beautiful place, even if it suffers from its association with Houston's weather.

Unfortunately, the closest job Cindy was able to locate was 20 miles outside our new community. Although she was now working at a significantly higher salary than she had been receiving in Austin, Cindy and I were both unhappy about her forty minute commute over Houston highways and surface roads. After all, we still had a boy's name to fill, and this lifestyle didn't fit with our master plan.

So at the beginning of 1994, having accumulated several years of accounting experience, Cindy started her own practice. Since moving to The Woodlands, she had been active in various community activities; in fact, she chaired the South Montgomery County Fourth of July parade in the summer of 1994. Cindy had developed a network of friends who liked her energetic personality and the way she worked with people, and who respected her ability to organize and carry out a project. She didn't have any problem collecting job referrals; after a year, her practice was doing comfortably well.

And now, finally, Christopher. Through the years, I've had several lapses of good judgement during which I've confided our master plan to friends and acquaintances. In every case, I'm sure, my audience was greatly amused that Cindy and I thought we could stick to a ten year + plan for our lives.

But here we are, fourteen years later, finally entering unchartered territory. The ambitious goals of a couple of teenagers have been achieved. This is my ode to my partner, the girl with whom I planned a life together, and the woman who worked so hard to make sure that everything went as planned.

Happy Mother's Day, Cindy.


Walter Kessinger

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