I just got home from C’s 2 month check-up and left realizing just how much I like our pediatrician. Not just as a Pedi, but on a personal level. She happens to be an Aggie, but I liked her before I found out that little gem. Once I found out though, it was like, well duh, no wonder I like her! It got me thinking about this Aggie family though…
I didn’t grow up in an Aggie family, most Aggies do. I can clearly remember the person that turned me on to A&M though. It was my mom’s boss, an attorney who graduated from A&M with a degree in Business Administration and attended Baylor for Law School. For years I was going to follow in his footsteps, wanting to be an attorney and everything. While those dreams faded and eventually disappeared, my love for and desire to attend A&M didn’t. I worked hard, but not hard enough and wasn’t accepted to A&M right out of high school. I worked my butt off at a community college before finally being accepted and transferring to A&M where I graduated with a BS in Psychology. It’s always been in my blood, and to this day, I consider my graduation one of my greatest accomplishments. You see, it’s part of my identity; part of how I define myself. I don’t view “Aggie” as simply a noun, it’s also a verb. When I meet a new person, it always comes up. I’m proud of it, like to tell people, and almost everyone knows someone or has a family member that has also attended. We have a stigma though, a certain air about us. If you’ve met one Aggie, you pretty much know what to expect from another. There’s a saying and it’s true: From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it. From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.
We love our families, love to have fun, respect our elders, have a strong appreciation for our military personnel, love our country, expect hats to be removed at the dinner table, men to hold the door open, use “sir”, “ma’am”, “please” and “thank you”, and most of us expect our children will follow in our footsteps. There is no family like the Aggie family and there is no network like our network of Former Students. To start with, pretty much all graduating Aggies will purchase and proudly wear their Aggie Ring. The Association of Former Students eats a lot of the cost to ensure most if not all Aggies get their ring. To us Ags, it’s a symbol no matter where you are in the world. My husband has traveled the country and has had his ring commented on numerous times. Most people guess he’s from Texas based on his use of “sir” and “ma’am”, but that’s a different post. I’ve heard story upon story of Aggies traveling abroad only to be approached by a fellow Aggie that noticed the Aggie Ring. More than that though, it has always seemed to me that the Aggie family is made up of a certain type of person. We seem to be stitched together with the same thread; cut from the same cloth. I’ve yet to meet an Aggie that didn’t share very similar morals, family values, similar political views and a love of beer (joking, kind of). It really is true that we’re almost cult-like in our traditions. We take them very seriously and they’ve been sustained for decades. There seems to be a “mold” for an Aggie, if you will, and not everyone fits in it.
We’ve indoctrinated our girls from the very beginning. A is particularly enamoured with Kyle Field and the Aggie Band. She knows who Reville is and has attended a few football games, tailgates, wandered around campus and went to her first Yell Practice last year. We took Baby C to her first football game (it was a scrimmage) and toured the new MSC just a few weeks ago. We have 529’s for the girls (well, I’m still working on setting up C’s) and we tell people all the time our money is only good at A&M. They smile and laugh then turn serious and question us, “Well, what if they want to go somewhere else? You won’t actually make them go to A&M will you?” We emphatically reply that if they want their college paid for, they’ll attend A&M. Most people think we’re being unreasonable. The truth is, neither Hubs nor I have ever really worried they’ll want to go elsewhere. Why would they? Maybe if one of them is really into the Arts in someway, but I doubt that will happen. A&M is such a big part of our lives. Our fall is spent focused on Aggie football. We still have our season tickets and plan to attended as many games as possible. We have a group of friends that we keep in touch with throughout the year, but really spend time with during football season. There’s a camaraderie that we feel, especially during football season. As we’ve all graduated and moved away, we can still come together during football weekends and reminisce. Our family has grown over the years and so have the families of several of our friends. We just pack up the kiddos and take them with us, they’re just expected to be there and they fit right in. Outside of our small group of friends, you’re surround by about 90,000 of your closest friends. From college freshman to old Ags that have long since retired but love their school just the same. It’s awesome to stand in the stadium and look around at all these people who are so passionate about the same things. It’s amazing to see the really old Ags, the ones that most likely fought in wars and lived through a time none of us can ever imagine. A lot of them still wear their rings, most of them worn down to a smooth gold band after years and years of working hard, usually with their hands in some way. A&M produces a lot of farmers and ranchers. The truth is, it’s not REALLY about the football for most of them, but about remembering the good old days and putting yourself in a place where you’re surrounded by “family”. So yes, our girls will grow up Aggies in every sense of the word. They will love A&M with the same passion the Hubs and I do. It will be part of their identity and they will be proud to tell everyone who will listen where they are going to school. And when they get that acceptance letter, their father and I will be overjoyed. I will immediately buy an Aggie Mom car decal, t-shirt and coffee mug. We will move them into a dorm/apartment hours away from home in the sweltering August heat. We’ll help them choose what decal they’ll put on their car. We will visit them on weekends, take them out to eat, take them to Target, to the mall and send their dad to fill up their cars with gas. I will stock their kitchen and fridge with food and drinks. We’ll encourage them to get involved on campus, and to find a church in College Station. We will encourage them to LOVE their time in college; to understand that 4-5 years is a long time, yet oh, such a short time. Tell them to have fun at the concert at Hurricane Harry’s featuring the latest Texas Country music star. Tell them to have fun at the Tap and tell them to have fun shooting pool at Yesterday’s, but to be careful driving home. We’ll tell them we hope they have a great time at Northgate. We’ll tell them to enjoy their wings at Wings ‘N More and their burrito at Freebirds. If they meet a boy, we’ll want to meet him, to get to know him, and we’ll encourage the relationship so long as it’s a good one; we don’t believe college is too young to meet your spouse. We’ll go with them to the Dixie Chicken to dunk their rings and we’ll pretend we don’t know what they’re up to on a Friday night in College Station. We’ll pretend we think they attend all their classes, they never turn the alarm off and go back to sleep skipping class. And when they graduate, we’ll be there to see them walk across the stage and to help them apply their Association of Former Students decal to their car. And we’ll do all of this because that’s what Aggie families do. They live and breathe A&M…it’s a family affair; a lifestyle. So yes, our kids will go to A&M too. And anyone who doesn’t believe that isn’t an Aggie because it means they don’t really understand what an Aggie is. Gig ’em.