On Tuesday Colin and I went to our local library to see an actual ASTRONAUT! How cool is that! His name is Mike Foreman and he has been on two shuttle missions and walked in space. He was stationed with the Cleveland branch of NASA and was on an outreach mission in our area. We were his 99th presentation since he started his tour.
He started his speech by telling us what it took to become an astronaut. He first decided that was what he wanted to be when he was eight years old. His dad told him to do some research to find out how to become one so he went to the logical source before the Internet, The World Book Encyclopedia. He got appointed to the Naval Academy and then applied to become a test pilot. He got selected as an alternate on his first try but was not called to attend. They only start these classes every 6 months so he applied again and waited. He did this seven times before he was selected and attended. In the meantime he applied to NASA to join the Astronaut Training Program. You can only apply every two years for that program and it took him eight tries until he was accepted. He was 42 years old before he finally got his dream job of being an astronaut.
There were a ton of school age kids there. He did a fantastic job of showing them that if you persevere you can attain your goals and realize your dreams. He could have given up at any time and stayed in any of the jobs that the Navy sent him to and led a wonderful life, but that is not what he wanted and he never settled. I was so pumped up that I almost thought of going back to school to get a creative writing degree. I then came to my senses and realized that I would lose my ever loving mind if I had to go back to school and be graded again. I am loving to write for fun, but I don't want to do it under pressure.
Mike was a really nice man. I was amazed that he was so accessible and easy to talk to. When I walked into the room, there he was. He looked a little shy and was just standing there in his flight suit. I walked up and introduced myself and we talked for a few minutes. If he was not in his flight suit I would never have known that he was an astronaut. Last summer when we were at the Kennedy Space Center we saw him on one of the displays. They had his bio up and we were all excited that he grew up about 30 minutes from here. Who knew that a year later he would be at our library and I would get to share such a unique experience with Colin. It was a very good night to be a mom.