I’ve worn my share of caps and gowns. First there was high school. Then, three days later, there was junior college (long story). Then, there was undergrad at Westmont College, 3 years after that. And finally, there was my master’s at the University of Vermont, in 2005. And oh, it was nice to know that I was done wearing caps and gowns for awhile. It wasn’t so much the graduations that bothered me, it was all that work leading up to them that was the problem.
But then there’s my husband, Dr. Dan, who seems to wear a new one every couple years. I wish we could recycle the things, but at least he’s getting a nice collection of them for Halloween costumes or wall art (a.k.a. Edward Cullen’s, “We matriculate a lot.”).
Awhile ago, we were trying to figure out the Seattle bus schedule, and neither of us could understand it. Finally, Dan said, “Between the two of us, we have a bazillion years of education. We should be able to figure out this thing.” But we never did. We drive everywhere.
This week, he’s adding another diploma to his wall, and we’re praying that it’ll be his last one for a very long time. He’ll finish his residency, which has been three years of hard work, taxing beyond anything I’ve ever seen anyone go through. I thought med school was tough. And before that, I thought college was tough. And before that, I thought junior high was tough (notice the glaring omission there?). But nothing prepared us for what we were going to go through in residency.
Sure, Dan was the one pulling the long hours at the hospital. But we very much consider this a team effort. Somebody had to pay the bills, pack his lunches, clean the blood (not his) off his clothes, and prop him up long enough to poke food in him when he came home after his second 30 hour shift in a week.
I’m wondering how in the world single people manage to make it through residency? Okay, and maybe I’m congratulating myself a little bit for surviving as well. Because this is my graduation, too.
Marriage is a team effort. And your spouse’s successes are your successes. His failures are your failures. It’s not a popular notion, especially when the wife is the one at home, doing the domestic duties that are the less glorified “behind the scenes” work. But they’re important. God knows the job is important. And my husband knows it too.
One of the greatest compliments I’ve received during Dan’s residency was when one of his female colleagues told Dan that she wanted “a wife” (she’s not a lesbian, so THAT’S not what she was talking about). But by serving my husband, I’ve ministered to others, well beyond the four walls of my home.
So when Dan gets his diploma this week, I’ll be earning a piece of it as well. If it were my own name written on it, I couldn’t be more content. We both accomplished this, the whole way through, starting on that second day of college when we met. And I plan on seeing him through the rest of his goals, which hopefully don’t include any more school and graduations. I need a break!