This past weekend, we turned the country music up loud in the truck and sang along to some of our favorite lyrics. We ate ice cream cones, took naps and cast the fishing line into the lake. We enjoyed a Michigan sunset while on the maiden voyage of our new fishing boat, and docked the boat happily drenched from a downpour. We celebrated a new addition with friends, went on a family bike ride with Maizy and finalized a baby name.
To some, none of this would seem significant or important- merely just another weekend in the summer. To us, this was everything. This was the feeling of getting our lives back.
It was the mark of being finished with 2 years of residency, but moreso, being finished with second year itself. The most difficult year of residency is now behind us!
Neither one of us realized just how difficult the past year had been until we sat at Zingerman's, enjoying pork butt and collard greens. It felt as if a huge weight had been lifted, the fog cleared. As if we both were trying so hard to get by and survive for months and months on end. Only to fueled by the few times we were able to rejuvenate ourselves from something as simple as going out on a date night to our favorite tavern.
Now, we have the opportunity to do things together- again. Honestly, to feel a little normalcy again.
I'm so incredibly proud of how hard my husband has worked this past year. He has sacrificed more than most people know (and sometimes more than I knew.) Because he is not one for complaining, I knew he was feeling worn down when he uttered comments that reflected his exhaustion. Yet, there was no solution. Just to endure. It was just a tough year, plain and simple. For both of us. I could count how many dinners with friends or social outings we were able to go to together on both hands, and would probably loose count at the ones we had to miss. I could tell you about endless nights of falling asleep on the couch waiting for him to arrive home, to be woken up at 2:00 am with a phone call that he was finally on his way. I could, at length, describe how fitting in time with friends, family and one another was exhausting, frustrating and heartbreaking because it felt like someone was always sacrificing. I could share how seeing my husband exhausted was painful in itself, and how I was exhausted from just trying to keep everything together. I could tell you how many times I'd talk to my family and be on the edge of a downpour of tears simply because I missed my husband, separate from the 20 minute dates in the hospital cafeteria when it took 20 minutes to park in the first place. I could talk about how many times my work travel overlapped with my husband's one weekend off. But life continues to go on, despite someone's work requirements. In between those long call shifts and work travels lay the moments that kept us going.
It takes effort to make life meaningful and intentional. I can tell you that those difficult times are just a part of the story. Because in reality, no matter how challenging it's been, it has forced us to make what we were given- good. Very sweet lemonade out of some rather rotten lemons, if you will. We've had countless things to celebrate and be grateful for over the course of a work year that hasn't been quick to warrant time for either. We learned how to care for one another, better. We've overcome some incredible heartache and shared first-time joys and experiences. We found strength in ourselves and one another that we didn't know we had. We've been cared for by friends and family and haven't been able to do much in return except say thank you.
Sure, it's been challenging. But what a shame it would be to define this year as simply that.
After all, we are expecting a wee one in 10 short weeks.
On Friday evening, we were driving to the store, making a list of what we needed to get for our fishing boat. Kyle was on cloud 9, giddy about just the thought of being able to sleep in and spend the next day on his new baby. In the middle of discussing how a ladder would be necessary if I ever wanted to get back on the boat (this pregnancy belly really does get in the way sometimes!), these lyrics ran through the speakers and we looked at one another, held hands across my growing belly and smiled.
I've got a ways to go on this ride
But I got a hand to hold that fits just right
You make me laugh, you make me high,
You make me want to hold on tight
Couldn't have said it better myself.