It is done. Three years. Three of the hardest years of my life, even without school.
I applied for grad school on a slow day at work, when I had an orientee that was doing most of the work. I applied for one school, one program. I figured it was meant to be or it wasn't. It was the last master's class before they went to all doctorates. All of my eggs were in one basket. I didn't even tell my husband, I just applied.
I found out that I got into school at Chipotle. I let out a whoop and confused little Lewie, who was three at the time and could not really understand why I was so excited about my lunch - I mean, I would totally whoop for Chipotle too, but this was extra enthusiastic. It is mind-blowing that he doesn't remember this or any time before Mommy has been in school. I have been working at this half of his life now. My heart broke a week or so ago when we were going back to Chipotle to eat inside for the first time since the pandemic hit. My kids did not remember that you could eat inside there. We used to go all of the time. For some reason that hit me really hard, that we have been through so much these past few years and my kids do not even remember the "before."
Three weeks after orientation, hubs was diagnosed with kidney cancer. We thought he had hurt his back at work. He did not want to take the pain medicine they had sent him home with from the ER, so I told him to make a primary appointment and lie, saying that his knee was tingling. You will get an MRI then, I tell him, and then we will know if you need physical therapy or just rest. It was a tumor instead.
So my grad school hurrah began with cramming a ten-week statistics class into three weeks, to try to get done before his surgery. Insanity. One other classmate that was having a baby did it with me, and our programs took off with a bang. Hubs got through surgery. It was a long year. We decided that 2020 would be "our year." It wasn't.
Two more years of chaos that I have written much more eloquently about than I will now. It was brutal and tested every ounce of stamina that I had. I found peace in the small moments, the tiny bits of sunshine in the rain. I shrunk my bubble of Things I Can Give a Fuck About to the bare minimum. I survived on To Do lists and sheer will.
But this weekend it ended. We made it. It honestly feels like one of the biggest triumphs of my life. Taking that stage to give that speech was the culmination of three years of hard work and gumption. It was finally a moment to breathe, to step back and say, I did this. I have never been prouder to have my kids watching me. So thankful.