When I was younger, I prided myself on how independent I was.  Starting at age 7, I would leave my parents for weeks at a time and visit my grandparents or go to camps and never get homesick.  I loved my parents and my home but I think I enjoyed the fact that I could, to some degree, take care of myself.  Leaving San Marcos to move to College Station to attend Texas A&M was one of the most exciting moments in my young adult life.  Finally, I was being given the opportunity to prove that I was capable of living on my own.

My independent spirit thrived at A&M.  During my 6 years there my parents practically had to beg me to come home for a visit while many of my other friends went home every available weekend, especially that freshman year.  I even took several trips overseas during that time to further punctuate how independent I truly was.  When I studied abroad in Italy for 2 months, it was my mom who couldn’t handle the one phone call a week rule that Dad established, not me.  I was doing just fine. 

Grad school, internship at the White House and moving to Dallas were more stepping stones on my road of independence.  That was, until, I got engaged to Robert.  All of a sudden, I needed his opinion on virtually every decision I made.  I couldn’t commit to dinner or an evening out with friends without first consulting Robert.  And the strangest part was it felt so natural.  My independent spirit that so frequently wanted to buck off any notion of dependency was content. 

I believe it came to rest on the fact that depending on Robert in our relationship, in our marriage, was simply just the next iteration of what it means to be an independent woman.  I had left the umbrella of my parents’ household and authority and had joined a new household with Robert.  WE were independent, together, and while that may seem like an oxymoron I think it’s perfect. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about this independent dependance this week as Robert has been away from Dallas in Maine with our good friend Jim.  I’ve gotten used to having Robert around so much that I find myself not knowing what to do when I’m by myself.  Well I guess that’s not entirely true.  I’ve been a very busy woman this week with two neighborhood meetings for work and a prolonged dinner with a good friend.  I’ve literally only been home long enough to sleep, get ready for work and head out of the door.

And while I enjoyed my independence this week, I am beyond excited that I will be picking Robert up at the airport tonight at 6:30pm!  It will be great to return to the normal state of life with Robert that I now loving call my independent dependency.

The Law School Widow

May 7, 2009

Many of you may see the tag line here and wonder “what do they mean by ‘law school widow?'”  A law school widow can be defined as a woman who has lost her husband to the black hole of law school.  The idea for the term came from a comic “PhD Comics” entitled “PhD Widows” where there is a support group for spouses of PhD students.

phd-widows1

While I am fortunate that my husband does, in fact, know when he will be graduating, there still are times when it feels like this journey of law school will never end.  This feeling mainly arises around finals when I see Robert briefly for dinner before he returns to the law library only to come home after I’m long asleep.  Then we wake up and the cycle starts all over again. 

Fortunately, this round of finals will be over tomorrow evening at 8pm.  At that point we will have successfully survived the first year of law school!  I say we because while Robert may be the only one in the classes and taking the exams, I have found that I am just as stressed out (or sometimes more so) as Robert in the days leading up to an exam or brief.  And trust me, this level of stress is way harder than the stress I was under in grad school because at least then I could study and work to make me feel better.  Now all I can do is encourage Robert, provide him with food and pray.

This first year of marriage and law school has been a good one.  We’ve been stretched and challenged in ways we never expected and have learned how each other responds to the various stresses in our lives.  Two weeks from today we will move out of our first apartment into a condo a mere three blocks from SMU’s campus, in particular the law library and law quad.  We are very excited about this new location as it will allow for Robert to more easily access the resources at the library and it may even enable us to eat earlier on certain nights since he can pop in for dinner and get back to campus for class within 5 minutes!   We’ll be sure to post pictures of our new home once we get moved in and settled, we think you’ll like it too.