June 28th was Mark's residency graduation dinner! People kept asking me, "Can you believe that he's finally done with schooling and training?" Well, yes!...and no. Yes because it's been a long road. We've known nothing else in our 9 years of marriage...and he'd been at it for a couple of years before we tied the knot. And no because things always seem to have gone by more quickly once you're at the end of that journey. In some ways it seems like Mark just barely took the MCAT...or just recently interviewed for schools...or that he and I were just snapping pictures together in our caps and gowns after finishing our bachelors' degrees. Wasn't it just yesterday that we arrived for our first hot & humid Iowa summer...or just got done bouncing from state to state during his 4th year of various medical school rotations...or that I cried after graduation when we left Iowa (which I never thought I'd do)...not to mention the last three years of residency!
And then people ask me questions, and I find that things from the years have already begun to blur together. I start thinking things like..How many rounds of boards has Mark taken over the years? (or) What month is match day in anyway? (or) What the heck did SAA (med student spouses organization) stand for? (or) How much was tuition per year? (it's just one gigantic number nowadays)...Things that I used to have concrete answers to as I ticked days off. It's times like that when I realize that we really have been at this for a while. Things that used to be of ultimate importance to me, I hardly am remembering anymore. And then I realize that's life. How quickly the things that are so much of your focus can become unimportant as life goes on. Plus - like these last 11 years...There's always something to plan towards, and to think you'll be more happy once you reach that monumental next step. And while those milestones should be celebrated, another real accomplishment is how well you enjoy things along the way, I guess.
Did I enjoy life or did I hold my breath during Mark's training? I'd say some of both. Maybe that's why we were given so many opportunities to keep things in perspective during med school (infertility struggles, apartment being robbed, car vandalized, my job problems, an adoption falling through, Mark's surgery, our apartment burning down, etc, etc). However! During this journey we have also been blessed to bring two beautiful boys into our lives. We've made lifelong friends, and built memories with family along the way too. This journey has been a balancing act and a trick to keep things in perspective. I'm realizing that lesson (while we did learn it intensely at times over the years) carries over nicely into the rest of our lives...and I have a feeling I'll be relearning and refining it forever. And, speaking of perspective...Mark's current schedule (around 50-55 hrs/week with weekends off and no call) feels like a cake walk! Especially because Mark comes home so happy. Love it! Anyway...back to June 28th. Here are Mark and I at the dinner at Tiburon.
And while this has been "our" journey, and Mark has always spoken of it as such...I don't want to take anything away from this being his accomplishment either. While there have admittedly been sacrifices made on my part...at the end of the day Mark was the one taking (and passing) the tests, pulling all-nighters, answering pages, refining his surgical skills, and trudging through wound care Wednesdays at the VA! And, while doing this, Mark managed to actively participate at our church, help out a ton at home (whenever he was there), and to spend time with both sides of our families. Even during busy rotations when Mark wasn't around much, he never made the boys or I feel like we were 2nd on his priority list. He always called when he could, and was a part of things when at home. We've always known he's a husband & daddy first and a doctor second. Knowing that made it easier to share him. So, here's to you, sweetie! Congratulations! Congrats on finally finishing your medical training, and for everything you managed to do and be along the way. I love you so much.
Here is a picture of all four awesome third-year residents: Mark, Paul, Mike, Jeff.
My good friend Danielle (Paul's wife) and me.
Wahoo for residency graduation! Now here's to us, Mark...and the life we're building together here in Arizona! How many times have we been surprised with the unexpected turns our lives have given us? Moving to Arizona is sure one of those, but I feel good about things. I'm so proud of you for landing this awesome job here, babe - and I'm over the moon happy that you enjoy what you do. I know you're good at it.