I remember the day so vividly, your White Coat Ceremony. I was blessed with a position at the Medical School a month before you began your first year there and though I would typically work the occasion, I got to attend without responsibility since you were an incoming student and I was your wife. The day was filled with such excitement and emotion. I will always remember the speech given by the President of the school as he warned the families of the trials and valleys you as students would face over the next four years - and how we needed to be your support system to encourage and lift up, knowing and keeping boundaries to minimize your stress level. I looked at you on stage, sporting your crisp new white coat, and I beamed with pride.
What would these next four years look like for us? That question ran through my mind over and over and if I could have seen that day where we are right now, I think I would have fallen over.
The first two years were far and away the hardest of the four. The Lord totally went before our situation and provided me with the job at the school and that allowed us to commute together every single day and let us see each other several times throughout the day when you would drop in my office between classes. It was the best possible scenario for that time in our lives. When we got home each evening, we cooked supper, devoured it, and then you retreated to our home office to study for the rest of the night. Remember how I would come in on commercial breaks to visit, bring you a snack, try to coax you out of there, or just give you a kiss? And then there were the times when I would just gather all of my magazines together, plop down on the guest bed and sit in there with you so we could "be together", though neither of us said a word. Those days were long. They were often frustrating. And they were downright HARD.
During that time, I looked at other couples who's husbands came home at 5 every single night and didn't have to do anything after that. I couldn't fathom how AMAZING that must be, but I treasured the two years of marriage that we had when we could do that. And I knew there would be a time where we could do that again. I went to bed alone most nights and the light from our office was the only light burning those late hours in all of our neighborhood. I still don't understand how you functioned on as little sleep as you did, but you did, and managed to make awesome grades.
We made it a priority to get out of town as often as we could when you had a break or a free weekend, just to get away from the heavy stress that you were under. When you finished your first year, we planned a big vacation since we knew it was your last "free summer" from there on out. We traveled to Seattle, WA. and Victoria, B.C. for a week of absolute bliss. It was an incredible trip and one that I will always hold so, so close to my heart. We had the time of our lives and we felt like we were on a second honeymoon!
Soon after we returned home, you began your second year and we prayerfully began trying for a baby. Two months later, we received a positive pregnancy test and little, precious Levi was introduced into our lives. Your second year of school was the same story as the first, hard and long, but it seemed to go by a little faster - maybe because we were used to it or maybe because we had a special surprise coming 9 months later. That year was far more exciting than the first and the "shock" of Medical School had worn off. We kind of knew what we were doing.
Levi was due June 18 and you were set to take your boards on May 31. That gave you plenty of time to get boards out of the way before we welcomed our son, so you could focus totally on him. It was going to be perfect. Except, at my doctor's appointment on May 30, my doctor sent me to the hospital to be induced. That's right, THE DAY BEFORE boards. I burst into tears and panicked. You calmly told me not to worry, that you would figure it out, and you did absolutely that. You were able to help with the delivery of our son and reschedule your boards. It ended up working out totally fine.
All of these mountains that seemed next to impossible to move? You've scaled them.
These past two years, your 3rd and 4th year have been the fastest two years of my life. You have worked a new rotation each month and were blessed with a great schedule (for the most part - though some shifts can't be avoided)! Levi has been here with us during all of it and has grown like a weed. It's hard to imagine that he hasn't always been here with us - that he wasn't even a thought when we began this journey. How is that even possible? We went through many months of sheer confusion and exhaustion as we sought out where you should be for residency, and when the Lord moved, He moved BIG. We are always left astounded by the way He works.
You have shown an awesome balance of a family man and a working man throughout these past two years. You didn't just add "Daddy" to your list of responsibilities, you tackled it with absolutely everything you have in you. When you are home, your time and devotion is dedicated to your little boy and me, and we so appreciate it. Levi lights up when you walk in the door because he knows you are home to see him, play with him and love on him. It's the sweetest little picture. Though he has no idea what you have gone through these past four years, and what is even still ahead of you, his eyes beam with pride for you.
The Lord has been with us, provided for us and blessed us in ways I can't even begin to express over these years. He continues to encourage and confirm his plans for us all the time, and I was reminded of that the other evening when we were out to eat. A middle aged woman approached our table and said to you, "I could never forget your face, though I'm sure you don't remember me. You worked on my daddy a couple months ago, and I just wanted to stop and say what an encouragement you were to him, and how you really really helped him through a very rough time. I can't begin to tell you how thankful I am for that."
You smiled that million dollar smile of yours and thanked her for the encouragement and that yes, you remembered exactly who she was and her daddy also. You were called for this, my love. This is exactly what the Lord has laid out for you and you are doing such an incredible job. Not only are you going to be a fantastic physician, but also a great tool for Christ. People see Him in you. You have a unique ability to calm nerves and give such hope to people. You are His instrument through medicine and you're doing a great job of letting Him use you.
We've been through so much over the past four years and huge life things have happened in the midst of them. We've battled many challenges, sought discernment and have rejoiced over countless blessings. When I look back at the young couple we were when we started this, I smile at what we have become since. I praise God every day for strengthening our marriage so much through these years, when we witnessed several other marriages dissolve around us. Thank you for always keeping God first and me second. You are superman.
I can hardly wait to see you pass through the stage and be hooded this week. I think I'll be whooping and hollering louder than anyone there. You did it. We did it. And I couldn't be any more proud.
I love you with all I am.