The end of Sam's first year of grad school is officially over. We did it! We did the first year! Today we are CELEBRATING. Because we survived! It was a really hard year, and we did it!
Here's the thing: we signed up for this. Literally. We wanted this. We made a conscious choice to move our family out of state and sacrifice a full-time income for two years and continue to grow our family during this crazy time. We planned and prepared for this. But still, it's been hard.
So today we're celebrating the fact that it was hard, but we did it anyway.
We survived living so far away from family! Not having someone to call when your car breaks down or your need a last-minute babysitter is tough. We've learned to rely on ourselves and our ward family more than ever before. (Our ward friends are amazing: they've watched Claire, thrown baby showers for us, and even driven us to the airport at 4:45AM one morning. We lucked out!)
We survived the first two-thirds of this crazy twin pregnancy! We were planning on my productivity to be at 100% during the first year of grad school, and most days I feel like I'm lucky to be at 35 or 40%. A lot of things fall through the cracks. But that's okay! We get twins at the end of this! And we're still alive! And occasionally the laundry gets done!
Sam survived being away from Claire all day every day! Sometimes they only see each other for about 10 minutes in the mornings before he leaves. That's really really hard on him. But he did it! Plus we see him more and more each quarter. And we've learned to take full advantage of the time we have together. Somehow he's still the favorite parent, so there's that....
We survived financial worries! Not having a full-time income is really hard. Budgeting and re-budgeting and living in fear that an unexpected expense will pop up is a new kind of stress I wouldn't wish on anyone. But we did it! And we both worked hard and earned part-time incomes this year, which has been SUCH a blessing.
We survived church callings and other responsibilities! Until last week, I was the young women's president at my church. My girls are so incredibly strong and independent and grown-up and beautiful. They've worked hard for every single thing they have, and many of them are already leaders in their home. I can't say enough about the things I've learned from them. It was so sad when I got released last week. But at the same time, it's also a very needy ward, and between bedrest and everything else, I was literally making myself sick trying to do it all. I think I had two weeks (only two out of the whole 9 months!) where I didn't have a girl in some sort of crisis. But I survived, and loved it, and learned so much!
Unexpectedly, this has been a good year for our marriage. Don't get me wrong, we still have days where we never see each other, and when we do spend time together we end up stressing out and snapping at the other person about the dishes and wondering how long it's been since we went to bed at the same time. But still, those days are much more rare than I thought. We've come to rely on each other and draw on each other's strengths more than ever. We're proud of each other for everything we're doing. I was worried this year would strain our marriage, but it's actually been good for us.
(Incidentally, the hardest year on our marriage was the first year of Claire's life, when I had postpartum depression but didn't realize it for the longest time. Bless Sam for fighting through that year with me.)
One quick shout-out to the man behind this blog: Sam is amazing. He works so hard. He's halfway through two masters degrees in two years! And he's doing a great job in his program! All while working! And doing church stuff! And being an amazing, involved dad! Sam is the world's best-kept secret, and I mean that. I'm so proud of him.
And now I'm going to make us go out for ice cream at an absurdly early hour. Because we're halfway through grad school, and we are CELEBRATING!