I started to brainwash my children early. In fact, when I brought my oldest child home from hospital, sweet little burnt orange onesies were neatly folded in the top dresser drawer. I'm a graduate of the University of Texas and did my very best to teach both our kids about my beloved big state school. Since we live in New York, I knew it was up to me to help them become members of Longhorn nation. These were my tactics:
The clothes - onesies, sweatshirts, baseball caps, all of which are a bit unusual and eye-catching in the northeast.
The summer camp - we sent our daughter to Camp Longhorn in Burnet, in the hill country northwest of Austin. She spent two weeks in unairconditioned August heat and, not only survived, but returned for four more years! I took that to be a very good sign.
The football games - Although I have had to settle for watching almost all games on TV, we have taken a few memorable trips to the Cotton Bowl, the Rose Bowl, and Darryl K Royal Stadium in Austin. Nothing like it!
The traditions - Bevo, the tower, The Eyes of Texas, knowing when to flash hook-em-horns. Plus, there were few songs more fun for our kids to sing and clap with than Texas Fight, in my opinion. They especially loved yelling out the slightly-naughty "give 'em Hell, give 'em Hell, the gang's all here" at the dinner table.
As first our son, then our daughter, entered their teen years, I began to imagine that one of my children might have the good sense to apply to UT and the good grades that would swing open the admission gates.
Is was not meant to be for eldest as our he opted for a small liberal arts college in Connecticut where he could play DIII football. AT 6'0, he knew that Texas football was not his destiny.
Our daughter, who greatly prefers flip flops over snow boots, declared that she wanted to attend a college with: 1.good academics, 2.large size, 3.southern locale, with 4.Greek life. We toured schools in North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas and I held my breath until mid January when she announced her decision…..
The University of Virginia, my husband’s alma mater.
This fall, after we drop her at her freshman dorm, I will be checking the listings for both UT and UVA football games. I will continue to sing The Eyes of Texas and will get my horns up. But I will also be learning The Good Old Song and trying to understand when (and why?) one says "Wahoowa."
In the meantime, there is always the hope for graduate school.
Mary Dell Harrington is co-founder of Grown and Flown, a parenting blog that looks at parenting kids, 15-25. She is a homesick Texan living in New York who loves to take off for St. Simons Island whenever possible. Follow her on Twitter andFacebook.