written by Lis – a current graduate wife
I really love when a new month starts on a Monday. In fact, I’d say it’s one of my absolute favorite things!
With August beginning in such a fantastic way, I just knew it was going to hold a lot of my favorite things.
Now, I admit that I am a girl who likes order and routine, so when I am out of that routine, I tend to get grumpy. That Monday’s morning routine was different: there wasn’t one. And you know what? I couldn’t have been happier!
On that first August morning, Tim didn’t wake up and pack his red bag for school. Instead, he was still in bed at 10:00 a.m. He wasn’t sick, he wasn’t working at his desk, and he didn’t have his ear plugs in to help him focus on his studies: instead, the only thing he was studying was the little girl he was giving his undivided attention to. She was giggling, he was smiling, and I was counting my blessings.
We made it. We did it…again. One more semester behind us, and 29 days until we have to face the start of another one.
We spent the past week in Black Mountain, NC, and as I sat on top of that mountain and looked out to the tree-covered peaks in the distance (see attached pic), I was thankful. Even as I was resting on top of that mountain, I was already praying for the ones I know are yet to come. We have climbed three hard, long, and exhausting mountains: one for each semester of classes. We have three times that many still to go, but the point is we have climbed and we have made it. And we can do it again.
The very thing I said was impossible, is proving to be possible.
We can do hard things.
I can. He can. She can too.
We are doing this together. Together, we can get to each mountain top, rest, and get ready for the next mountain.
In my experience, graduate wives don’t realize the amount of stress and pressure that is on them until it’s gone. Until you are no longer living in the midst of the stress of tests, exams, projects, research papers, and finals, you don’t quite grasp how much it takes out of you. Often the graduate students themselves don’t recognize that they are being pulled in a hundred different directions and that while they fully intend to engage in everything they commit to, they really are not capable of giving any more than they already are; at least this is how it is in my home. When he spends time with us, Tim does his best to disengage from school and the pressures that medical school brings, but it’s still there. It’s still on his mind, it’s still a stress, it’s still a pressure or that nagging feeling of, “I should really be studying…”
But now that we have arrived at this mountaintop, the only question that has to be answered is “what do you want to do today?” Sometimes the answer is, “nothing.”
The stress is melting off. We needed this break, both individually and as a family. We needed no time frame, no agenda. We needed a week with no internet, little cell phone service, and a lot of playing on the floor, eating together, playing games, and catching up on the “oh, did I tell you that…?”
I don’t know where you are on this journey of being a graduate wife. If you are only beginning, hear me say this to you: “You CAN do this!” The valleys are hard, exhausting, and will make your makeup run, but the mountaintops are beautiful and well worth the climb. Get some really cute, comfortable shoes and set out hand in hand with the person of your dreams to accomplish the very thing that only the two of you can do.
If you are finishing, hear me say this: “You made it! Great work!” (And I am jealous!) Thank you for your dedication to this journey that we all have set out on. Our individual paths are different, yet somehow the same. You are an example to me and the ones coming behind you. We need to know others have gone before and lived to tell about it!
My goal for this journey isn’t just to survive, but to thrive. Not just to make it, but to run as fast as I can to the finish line saying, “if we hadn’t done this, I wouldn’t have met, done, become, or grown the way I have,” and to say to my husband, “I hated you for making me do this, but now I am so glad you did.”
We can do this, we can survive, we can thrive, and we can eat a lot of chocolate along the way!!
The top of this mountain held other peaks waiting to be hiked, the laughs and screams that only white water rafting can bring, a baby asking to go and swing, and hundreds of lightning bugs that needed to be caught!
As you climb, don’t forget to count your blessings along the way–it is what will get you to the top and make the journey worth it–and when you do reach those vital mountaintops, don’t forget to share the joys you find there.
As a graduate wife, what mountains (classes, jobs, etc). are you currently climbing?