Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Graduation Day is Here!

Aaron has graduated at last! His grad school education has been a long haul for all of us, starting with the moment he E-MAILED me about this time three years ago to let me know he had signed up to take the G-MAT - "just to see" how he could do. I knew it was over. Almost 7 months pregnant with Drew, I was livid. We talked about him going back to business school once before we had Cade and again before we got pregnant with Drew and both times he decided to put it off. Didn't the final decision warrant at least a discussion/phone call as opposed to an email?!?! I mean, do we or do we not live in the same house!??!

From that moment on, it has been a 3 year long rollercoaster ride. First it was the stress of studying for the G-MAT and squeezing the actual test in before the baby's arrival. I constantly fretted that the baby would come early (or worse, come ON the day of the test), but Aaron kindly reassured me that as long as I went into labor after 7 am on testing day, the testing room would be locked and there would be no way I would be able to disturb his testing anyway. Nice. As it turns out, Aaron took the test on a Saturday and Drew held out until early the Tuesday morning following.

Then came the application process. Applications, letters of recommendation, and essays for five schools. Then the agonizing waiting process. Then the acceptance process (two of which came with scholarships - a nice bright spot in the whole ordeal!). All with two children under the age of two in tow, during what was probably the most difficult year of my life. Or so I thought.

We ended up accepting at Emory, which alleviated the need for relocation and its associated hassles. It would definitely turn out to be a blessing for me, although poor Aaron has suffered a brutal cross-town commute for the past two years since the school is literally about as far away from our house as it could be and still be in Atlanta.

Then came the moment of truth - Aaron quit his job and started his school adventure. The first semester was a struggle for all of us, as he balanced the heavy school workload with his responsibilities as husband/father. Throw in his innate desire to be 19 years old for the rest of his life and the ample social opportunities associated with school and it was a pretty explosive year. In fact, we have still a dent in the living room wall to commemorate the book I threw at him in the moment that it all became too much.

But Aaron survived and so did our marriage. The second semester was better, despite the brutal interns hip interview process, and it was followed by a super fun summer in California for all of us while Aaron interned at Google. By the second year, the brutal job interview process and waiting game was old hat. We all took it in stride and celebrated when Aaron's top choice job offers came through. The spring semester of the second year brought a different pace as Aaron realized that his days as a student were coming to an end. He held down the fort academically, but really focused on making up for as much lost "fun" time as possible, including a spring break trip to the British Virgin Islands. This time, when the socializing became too much, I was able to simply point to the old dent in the wall instead of throwing a new book at him. He got the message.

Which brings us to today - and graduation at long last. We've still got an entire summer to survive before he starts his new job, but I can't help but be proud of him and of us for surviving the past two years. Although I think it would have been easier and more fun had we done this BK (before kids), I'm not sure that Aaron would have been as focused or have gotten as much out of it. So, like most major life changes, it worked out for the best. And now we are looking forward to the next two major life changes: a new baby in August and the return of a steady paycheck in the fall.

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