I hear the warm whispers of the North Carolina summers calling me. I feel wooed by the fast-paced life I once lived in Washington, D.C. and I hear echoes of the intimate and truly precious conversations that I shared with friends on our small street in Arlington. I smell hushpuppies and my Dad’s BBQ and all the warm flavors of the deep south tempting me home. I hear the ancient bells here in Oxford and I savor the fun times shared with dear fellow graduate wives. I remember the glorious sunsets on the Chesapeake Bay and the unforgettable and sometimes painful community that was forged while living there on the Eastern Shore. I feel the Big Apple charming me with the adventures & life lessons that unfolded there, and countless meals at my favorite café near Harlem.
Although my graduate wife journey has only really lead me to two different locations, I feel at times like tiny pieces of my heart are scattered about a hundred different places. Do you ever feel this way? Have you moved around a lot on this journey? Have you watched friendships grow and then had to watch as one of you packed up and said goodbye, or fallen in love with a city and a community, only to have to let go?
At times I feel so grateful for all the pieces of my heart scattered about around the country, and even the globe. At other times I feel the weight of heartache for never getting to have all those precious friends and memories and experiences combined into one perfect place. It’s a blessing and a curse at times…but alas it makes up who I am. A giant patchwork quilt.
I feel that recently I am learning how to relish and treasure all the vastly unique experiences that make me who I am. Each place I have lived and each community of which I have been a part hasn’t been perfect…but each has been incredible and beautiful in its own way. In these places I’ve been loved and hurt and supported and broken down. I haven’t necessarily chosen these communities…they have more or less chosen me.
I feel that as a graduate wife, as a supporter, a mover and a dreamer, I have sometimes tried to resist these changes. I have tried to resist the sharing of my life and ultimately of my heart with new friends and new settings. For some reason it never works though. As a fellow graduate wife once shared, “I tried so hard not to make friends in our new graduate community. I was in denial of the move and thought that by wishing it away and not connecting, it would go by more quickly. And sadly after a season of depression, I realized I was very wrong.”
I know that at times it’s easy to just try and ignore our current situations. To dream of bigger houses and steady incomes for our families and to try and deny the reality of where we are now for this season of life. And so I just wanted to encourage each of you fellow graduate wives today. You might be avoiding your current grad school location and counting down the days until graduation or you might be feeling heavy with heartache over a previous home and community that you once knew. You might be anxiously dreading an upcoming move and new graduate program, or you might be so in love with your current graduate wife life that you never want to see it end. Wherever you find yourself, I hope you are able to step back and soak up all the flavors that make up who you are. Smell and hear and taste the unique tapestry of friends, places, jobs, and experiences that this journey has brought to you. I hope you can open up to a new community around you if you haven’t already. Share bits of your story with others and be open to letting them make an imprint on it as well. I know it’s not always easy … but when you take a step back, aren’t patchwork quilts breathtaking?
On your graduate wife journey how have you dealt with moving and uprooting community, friends, jobs, etc.?