Monday, February 24, 2014

This Year

A little over a year ago I wrote a post about next year. Which would now be this year:) [To clarify, I was referring to school years NOT calendar years.] I was anxious about all the unknowns. The uncharted territory (i.e. third year) for our family. I sensed change was coming but I didn't know what it would look like. And being that I really don't like change, I worried. The original post can be read HERE.

So a year later, here is my take on it. This third year of medical school. What I know now but didn't know then. What I wish I had known then, I suppose. 

This year IS drastically different. Joe's schedule IS erratic and demanding. And the kids (and me for that matter) DO see a lot less of Joe. All of which has been hard on us, individually and as family. 

But...and this is significant...we are doing it. One day. One week. One month at a time. Some rotations have been absolute drudgery for everyone. There have been days...nearly full weeks when the kids do not see their dad awake. I have been a pseudo-single parent at times. And then there are times when Joe's schedule is lighter than it was during his first two years of school. And we get extra family time...when we can pull daddy away from his studying. [Because in med school world, free time = study time! They are an odd bunch these doctors-in-training.] There have been times when I feel confident and proud of myself, of Joe, of our kids. Our family.

There also have been times when I wonder if I am going to make it. If I really can keep this family afloat for one more day. Or even one more hour. Joe has received more than his fair share of SOS texts (which he can do nothing about as he has no control over his schedule) this year.  

It has been a wild ride. The highs have been really HIGH and the lows have been really low. But we are hanging on. 

I have learned that we can do hard things. I can do hard things. Even if that hard thing is just everyday life with kids without my husband's help. Another morning of Cheerios and cartoons and a mad rush out the door. Another afternoon of snacks and breaking up sibling brawls while trying to make dinner. Another evening of jammies, bedtime stories, brushing teeth and prayers. More tedious than hard, really.

There are a few things I didn't anticipate about this year. Things I didn't expect and therefore didn't mention last year. Things that I wish I knew were coming because they have been so good. So sweet. I would have looked forward to them with excitement and not dread. But I guess that's why they say hindsight is 20/20. And maybe if I had known about it earlier it would have taken away some of the joy?! Maybe. Despite all my fears there have been some really good experiences during this third year of medical school. 

For starters, this year I have had the privilege of watching my husband discover what he wants to be when he grows up:) To learn which specialty of medicine is his niche. Where he fits in the world of doctoring. It has been so fun watching this unfold from the sidelines. Admittedly, there were a few times I was a bit nervous. Mainly when he discovered his love for surgery. Ok. Ok. Nervous is an understatement. I was terrified. The thought of a FIVE YEAR surgical residency with gruesome hours left me shaking in my boots. Not to mention the fellowship after the residency he was considering! But I knew if that was what he was meant to do, then we would walk that path together. Thankfully it looks as though we will be going down a different path. At this point my husband is planning to pursue a career in emergency medicine. Which has a three year residency. Can I get an AMEN and a HALLELUJAH? More importantly, I (we) think it is a perfect fit for him. He likes to be hands on. He likes to be busy. And he performs well under pressure. I wouldn't say he is an adrenaline junky, he's just calm and collected ALL THE TIME regardless of his surrounding circumstances. It takes a lot to phase him. Plus he likes to find the humor in every day life. And while there is a lot of sad and tragedy in the emergency department, there is also a lot of humor there as well. People do stupid things and need doctors to put then back together:) Joe will gladly be that doctor. 

*As I write this we still have four months (and 3.5 rotations) to complete this year (but who is counting?!). So nothing is written in stone. I am well aware of the fact that Joe could still fall in love with a different medical specialty. This is just where we are at right now.

Lastly, I now believe the cheesy and cliche saying "absence makes the heart grow fonder" is true. Thank you third year for allowing me to have some absence from my husband. Though I never would have chosen it, it has been good for our relationship. We have been together for 14 years (married ten of those). It's good to have a little separation. To have time to really miss and appreciate your spouse. To want to spend time together. Admittedly, third year has changed Joe (and not always for the better...he's more tired and serious...) but I still love him and look forward to being with him. Even if that means watching him study in the evenings while I blog:) And it has made me appreciate the little things he does for me. Like filling up my van's gas tank. Because there is nothing I enjoy less than standing in the freezing cold at the gas station while all three children scream at me through the window. Thank you dear husband for finding the time to spare me that particular misery. You are the best!

Did I already say lastly? Because that wasn't the last one. This is the last one. I promise. This year I have discovered the joy of cooking, but not really cooking. My kids rarely appreciate my home cooked meals. In fact most the time they BALK at them. So this year I have given myself a little slack. A cooking break of sorts. When daddy isn't home I don't cook dinner unless I want to. Instead we eat kid food. Pancakes and eggs for dinner? Absolutely! Don't mind if we do...twice in a week. Chicken nuggets and (instant) mashed potatoes? Yep. Totally counts as dinner when daddy is away. Maybe I am just being a total slacker. Maybe. I call it giving myself a little grace and a peaceful evening with the kids.

This year. The third year of medical school. It ain't so bad....says the girl that drove off into the sunset crying after the first 8 weeks because she just couldn't do it for one more minute....

(But I came back! And we are making it.)


  1. I admire you- your commitment, strength, humor, and most of all, candor!

    1. Thank you...however if you had seen me yesterday...well lets just say you wouldn't have admired me:)

  2. As an almost done with first year wife, thanks for sharing!

    1. Congratulations! Completing first year is a HUGE accomplishment!!!!