I’ve been dreaming about this moment for a long time . Yesterday, I put on a silly outfit, they read my name out loud, and I got to walk across a stage while people applauded politely.
(We will not talk about the part where I almost forgot to turn around for the picture).
(Or the part where I did turn around, but I was standing in the wrong spot, so our department chair had to hiss at me to move).
I forgot to go pick up my diploma from the administration building. I’m assuming that they’ll send it to me later. Because if they don’t? Well, that sure was a waste of five years of my life.
This is what my life is like these days: I spent Lilian’s morning nap watching youtube videos that teach you how to put short hair into side buns. I think I did a pretty good job with it. Unfortunately, I did not do such a great job of taking pictures of it.
Along those same lines, I very carefully charged my camera battery this morning… and then didn’t pack an SD card. Because, I am simultaneously awesome and completely incompetent. Kristian was able to use the built-in memory to take a few photos, one of which was this one:
I think it really captures the fact that I’m several inches taller than the other girls in my cohort. It also captures the fact that only three of us showed up yesterday.
(Psssst. I’m the one in the middle)
If you want to feel special, I highly recommend getting a graduate degree from a department that has a decent number of undergrads (in this case, I would guess about 50) and very few graduate students. We stood up for our part of the ceremony and you could really see the look in everyone’s eyes as they turned to each other and said….. “This department has grad students? Huh, I guess you do learn something new every day.”
Lilian was a little angel. Possibly because she had her Dad and two sets of Grandparents to look out for her. It really was a proud moment to hold her afterwards.
(She’d better be wearing one of those for realsies in about 20 years).
This picture pretty much sums up the past year or so of my life.
Beans graduated yesterday as well (yay!) and her brother threw her a BBQ to celebrate. It was right near campus, so we walked over after my ceremony. It was f-f-f-f-reezing by that point, but we stuck it out for a couple of hours. Good food, good friends, good weather. Two out of three ain’t bad. I had both a cupcake and an ice cream. Because all of her friends from nutrition school had left by then, so there was nobody there to judge me. And because I just wrote a goddamn 80+ page thesis while taking care of a human baby. And I wanted my cake and eat ice cream too.
This has been a long journey for me. (We won’t talk about the fact that you can often earn a doctorate in five years). I wasn’t always sure that I’d make it. But, with a lot of help from family, friends, and my husband, I did it. And I’m really proud. It wasn’t always easy, but I almost always enjoyed it. You know you’re a history nerd when you finish your thesis, go “yay! I can read for fun now!” and promptly start reading… history books.
Visiting with family? Check.
Breakfast in bed? Check.
Using my baby for shenanigans? Check.
(My mom is cooler than your mom)
We also took a nice, long walk along the new bike path near our house. It was nothing fancy, but it was a lovely mothers day.
Late last week, I met with my advisor to have a conversation about the American Civil Rights Movement. Otherwise known as a comprehensive exam. Which also happened to be the last hurdle I needed to clear in order to graduate.
I’ll cut straight to the chase… I passed!
I’ve submitted my thesis online, I’ve filled out my exit survey, and the comprehensive exam was the last outstanding item on my degree sheet. Unless I’ve missed something in the grad student handbook (which is a thought that keeps me up at night, that thing is long ), I’m going to be walking across a stage in a few weeks, and somebody is going to hand me a fake diploma.
Because they send the real diplomas out in the mail.
On Monday, I stopped by the bookstore to pick up a cap, gown, and hood. I should have preordered a set, but I was so convinced that I would never make this happen, I never put my order in. Luckily for me, they had plenty left in stock. I brought my haul home, and I was all set to make my triumphant blog post about finally graduating.
And then my Mom told me Lilian hadn’t felt well that day. And then I realized that I didn’t feel so great myself. And then Kristian called to tell me that his throat was starting to hurt. Dun dun dun .
I’ll spare you the gory details, but this house has gone through a lot of facial tissue this week. And I had to burn two days of PTO. We all went to the doctor together on Tuesday, ostensibly to get Lilian looked at. “She looks great,” she said, ” but you look terrible .” Viral conjunctivitis will do that to you. I’m just glad that LJ seems unfazed. I wouldn’t wish this week on my worst enemy.
I thought I was feeling better yesterday, I went to work and everything. And then this damn thing boomeranged on me and I woke up in the middle of the night last night feeling worse than ever. One eye was so swollen, it looked like I’d been punched in the face. I’m feeling better after sleeping all morning and then chilling on the couch, but I’m just waiting for it to all come back again.
Did I mention that Gracie got skunked again over the weekend? Because she got skunked again over the weekend. Every time my breathing clears up, I get a nice whiff of eau de skunk. If my eyes didn’t hurt so badly, I’d say that this illness was a blessing in disguise.
I know it’s a fairly common phenomenon to soldier your way through a stressful situation and to get massively sick when it’s all said and done. Grad school took five years of intense effort, so I suppose it makes sense that I’d get the head cold to end all head colds when it’s all said and done. I just keep reminding myself that I won’t feel like this forever. Graduation is in a few weeks, so I should be feeling better by then. We’ll probably have a party later in the summer, after we’ve fixed up our backyard. I might be sitting on the couch, but I have the back door open and a nice breeze is blowing through the house.
Plus, I have this little cutie to snuggle with.
And the very best husband in the whole, wide world.
I was feeling pretty wretched when I started this post, but now I’m feeling pretty good.
I’ve written here before about how Patriots Day, Marathon Monday, is the best day of the year to be a Bostonian. It is, it really is. I’m sitting here trying to think of a way to describe the energy downtown along the marathon route, and I don’t have adequate words for the task. It’s a joyful day, a positive day, a day when everyone is looking out for each other. Whole families trek down to Boylston Street to cheer for strangers. Everyone is laughing, cheering, smiling. It’s an entirely positive experience.
Sometimes, in the face of unspeakable tragedy, people have the tendency to get a little bit maudlin, maybe overly sentimental, maybe even to start looking back on things with rose colored glasses. I can assure you, that is not the case here. Patriots Day and the Boston Marathon have always been a special day around these parts.
Judging by the number of people who have written similar thoughts on Facebook, I’m not the only one who feels that way.
My Mom usually watches our daughter on Mondays, but she was going to out of town, so I took the day off. I haven’t had Patriots Day off since I left academia, and I wanted an excuse to go downtown. I thought about getting Red Sox tickets. I had ambitions of cheering for a coworker who would be running the marathon. It was my favorite day of the year, and I wanted to share it with my daughter.
Over the weekend, Beans invited us to hang out with her and some friends instead. And I will be forever grateful to her for the invitation. Instead of going to downtown Boston, Lilian and I drove out to Concord to watch Revolutionary War reenactors carrying muskets and 4H girls in hoop skirts in the world’s most earnest parade. It wasn’t the marathon, but it was a very sweet morning.
I thought about driving downtown after we left Concord, but I’d stubbed my toe the night before and it was still throbbing. For once in my life, I did the smart thing and went home.
I have never been so happy to have tripped over my own feet.
And I trip over my own feet a lot .
LJ and I snuggled up on the living room floor and I absentmindedly glanced at Facebook on my iPhone. “Did anybody else hear a rumble downtown?” “Holy crap, what just happened?” “OMG, explosion at the marathon!” At first I thought it was a manhole cover or transformer blowing. It pretty quickly became clear that something horrible had happened. I turned on the TV and watched with horror as events unfolded. We’ve been fairly glued to the news media this past week.
I’ve always been proud to be from Boston. Even when we were getting our asses handed to us by the Yankees. But Boston did itself proud on Monday. And I think we’ve done ourselves proud over the past week. I’ve seen a lot of hurt and anger, but I’ve also seen a lot of love and positivity. This entire city has really come together. We’ve reached out to each other. We’re taking care of each other.
I love that Boston’s chief of police talked in a press conference about how we need to live our lives and not let fear turn our city into a police state. I love that Governor Patrick reminded everyone to avoid rushing to judgement, and to avoid stereotypes. I love that our focus has been on how we can honor the victims, help out the injured, and move forward.
This past week has been insane. But I don’t feel like it’s “changed everything.” Boston is going to keep being Boston. Because that’s just what we do.
This past Friday, we drove down to CT to visit with my grandmother (Lilian’s “Gigi”). It was a lovely, low-key weekend. My sister, Allison, even drove up from her job site in Scranton.
There was plenty of tummy time.
And we took Lilian to the park and let her eat dirt and swing on the swings.
We went out to dinner and Lilian cooperated by behaving herself. She got a little fussy before our food showed up, but then we smushed up some of my sweet potato for her and she was a happy camper. I could really get used to this whole “eating solids food” deal.
We stayed up “late” watching the Artist.
(“This movie is pretty good,” my sister kept saying, “it probably should have won some awards.”)
Sunday morning, Lilian made friends with a bunch of giraffes.
This weekend was just what we needed.