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Saturday, November 9, 2013

the biggest thank you ever

I will admit it.  I've been a little crispy around the edges. I am ready for graduation to commence (or I'm ready, as my favorite line from Grease goes:  "for the commencement of commencement to commence.")  I know to anyone else it seems like what is the big deal, you are down to day (days!) but let me tell you these are some seriously slow moving days.  

Maya would agree.  Each morning it is the same: "Where's Mommy?" in an accusing tone.  "At the hospital..."  I answer cautiously.  

"Ugggggghhhhhh!" is the deep, guttural response each and every morning.  

One such morning last week, she got up early enough to say good-bye to Sandi and the pre-dawn dark and watch her pull out of our driveway.    I came around the corner to see her dabbing her tears with her security blanket.  It was the sweetest, most heart-breaking sight.

After a bunch of loves and snuggles, we got up and made a Post-it note countdown on the closet door.    I think it was at 25 days. 

It has felt like we might never climb to the top.
And truly graduation is a momentous milestone for sure but it is really taking and passing the boards that will signal the end of this journey and a return to some normal life when adults get to have real conversation, family recreational time is reborn and the general edge of tension leaves our house.  It is not a guest I will be sorry to see depart.
So it is with a heavy heart that I drove to Beals last week to work all day.  Sandi has Fridays for studying and she was able to schlep the kids so I could go solo.  I was feeling burdened by the last 2+ years, feeling like graduation would never arrive.  I was waiting for relief to pour over me at our closing the gap but instead feeling entirely burned out.  Rather than flag waving victory toward the finish line, I felt like our family was limping along, bruised and battered to the end.

I come home after a 12 hour day and Maya gives me a quick hug and says, oddly, "Did you leave a light on in the office?"

"  I just walked in the door."

"I think SOMEONE left a light on," she says.

Ella looks at Maya with disdain and says, "NO MAYA!"

I'm very confused at this point.  What is happening in the office??

Maya says we should go investigate.  Ella huffs.  Sandi says go ahead. I can hear music playing and, as indicated, there is a light on.

I walked into the office to find my desk, the one normally piled with a mountain of papers and books awaiting my attention, completely empty except for some cards, a gift, a gorgeous flower arrangement and a NEW MACBOOK AIR!  On this lithe, technological dream-come-true was paying this song  (which, oddly enough I had just heard the week before on Pandora and loved).  Maya crawled onto my lap and handed me my cards which were the sweetest, most touching cards I had ever received.  I promptly burst into tears.

Just look at that thing.  It has all the memory I need, it doesn't bring up weird applications when I try to write a capital "R" and it has an attachable cd port so I can use iTunes for audiobooks again!  AND Sandi had spent the day taking all my stuff off my handicapped PC, reformatting it for MAC and loading it all on my laptop.  It is so light and portable and I can use it anywhere in the house which will make accomplishing everything easier!  Now if I can just learn how to use it I will be golden.

(Also, if I can stop saying that I got a Nike Airbook it will also improve my new Mac image.  I can't help it- in my head "Nike" and "Air" are forever joined.  Matt told me he would get me a swoosh sticker for laptop decoration.)

  "Momma thank you for helping us for the past two years.  Momma thank you for being able to work for our family. You deserve it totally! Thank you! Love, your most ever loved Ella."
 "Momma, you're the best.  I love you more than you love me.  Love, Maya.  I love Momma."

Graduation is 2 weeks from today.  Sandi and I had a long overdue date last night in which the only requirement was good food, good wine and no one whining or crying or complaining or rejecting the food while we tried to have a conversation.  Sitting across from Sandi, over all of the above,  I was struck by how much I adore her and how proud I am of us that, despite the toll, we are together and in love.  I cannot believe the sheer effort, labor and dedication Sandi has given to achieve this massive goal. I stand in awe at all that I have managed and juggled, sacrificed and withstood.  I am amazed at the brave and willing hearts of our girls. 

 It is starting to feel real, achievable, inevitable.  The taking (and passing) of the boards will hopefully follow within 2 weeks.  Sandi will begin work and when she isn't working a normal shift in O.R. she will be OURS again.  We have Thanksgiving and Christmas and a long awaited trip to Disney to plan.

 Let the bruised and weary begin to celebrate.


Zoe Kreitzer said...

You both look so glowy and happy! Congratulations on the home stretch!!!

Gretchen said...

When I finished my first degree and got my first real paycheck, one of the most satisfying things to do was to spend a big chunk of that check on a really extravagant thank you gift for Dave, who had supported us through that. It's awesome to be thanked, and awesome to thank, as well! Congrats on the home stretch!

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