Monday, May 10, 2010

Bigger than the Wedding

I thought about writing a mother's day post yesterday, and as much as I love my mother, what I really wanted to do was sit down and talk about both of my parents and the rest of my family and what they have done for me, because today I do something big, scary and life-altering.  It is scarier than our marriage and it is bigger than our wedding and it is something I could never have done without my parents and my sister and my fiance and their unwavering love and support. 

Today I graduate from law school. 

I think that my parents, from the very beginning, when my personality began to develop, knew what I was capable of.  They pushed me to try harder, to be better, to be stronger, and to develop all those pieces of myself that I would need throughout my life.  They believed in me when I didn't believe in myself.  They knew what I was capable of, and although I know I could never exceed their expectations of me, they are fiercely proud of me.  To have their support as I have gone through law school has been incredible and I have not forgotten for a moment how lucky I am to have them. 

My sister has been my rock through all of this.  She never once complained when law school got in the way of my maid-of-honor duties, celebrating her birthday (I always had exams around her birthday), or fulfilling family obligations.  She supported my moving in with Mark, gave me relationship advice, and encouraged us to move in down the street (and now across the street) from her.  She listened me freak out about exams and helped me forget my failures and celebrate my accomplishments.  I also cannot forget her husband, who took me in when I was stranded on the first day of law school, in a strange city, with no bus fare and no cell phone and no idea how I was going to get home.  Who helped me print my first outlines when I compulsively color-coded them by subject.  Who came over to our apartment the first day we moved in when I got home from work and found a bird flying around our office and helped me chase it out the window.  They have been amazing and encouraging and have made moving forward in our relationship and moving to a new city so much easier for us. 

And then there is Mark.  Mark, who held me as I cried, helped me get through my first year even when I was crabby, depressed, distant, and messy.  Who never complained when I turned down plans on a Friday night with his friends.  Who went to bed at 10:30 every night and helped me get up at 6am every morning.  Who was halfway to work but came back and got me the day my car wouldn't start and I had a midterm.  Who read Law School Confidential to understand what I was going through.  Who celebrated the end of my first year with me and then got ready to do it all over again the next year.  Who, whenever I wavered, reminded me of what I was working towards and helped me get there.  He has shared in my triumphs and helped me shoulder the pain of my defeats.  He has never made me feel, in this terrible job market, like my inability to find employment is failing him or failing our relationship.  He challenges me every day to be my best, but has seen me at my worst, and still looks at me everyday and tells me how excited he is to be marrying me.

I am incredibly grateful to these five people, not to mention my extended family - my cousins who loaned me textbooks and took me shopping and out to dinner and sent me regular facebook encouragement, my aunts and uncles who gave me advice about law school, legal careers, and higher education in general.  My friends who never stopped loving me no matter how many times I flaked out on plans because I had too much homework.  My law school friends who gave me outlines or fed me answers in class when I got called on and blanked. 

I am also grateful to you, our readers.  I know that some of you are fellow graduate students, also poised to complete your journey of higher education.  Some of you are just starting.  Some of you were smart enough to not do it at all.  I know that you are all very busy and I want you to know that when you have taken the time to add a comment of encouragement or commiseration, it has meant the world to me.  I started writing this blog 15 months ago to chronicle our engagement, and to give myself something outside of law school.  It has given me so much more than that, and so thank you, for letting me honor those pieces of myself that didn't quite fit into law school.  The parts that wanted to craft, that wanted to think complex things about gender roles in every day lives, that wanted to admire pretty dresses and beautiful photos.  Your positive comments have never failed to make me smile and I genuinely appreciate them, so really, thank you for all your support. 

Thank you all, really and truly, from the bottom of my heart. 

13 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Ellie!! What a wonderful tribute to your support group. Grad school isn't possible without them, it's true!!

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  2. A big fat congratulations to you (and yours!); what a fantastic accomplishment! Hope someone's planned a kick-ass graduation party somewhere . . .

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  3. Congratulations! This is a big accomplishment and you have a lot to be proud of!

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  4. Woohoo! Congratulations! I love that you're so openly grateful to all those that helped you through. I know you put a lot of work into getting to where you are now - you should be proud!

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  5. Congratulations Ellie! I'm so happy for you and proud to be your blogging friend. You are going to go on to big things...I have no doubt. Hope your graduation day is absolutely wonderful.

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  6. Congrats! My fiance sends his envy that you are done and commiserates with the shitty job market.

    I may not have been reading from the beginning, but I have really enjoyed your blog as well. Of the many that I've been reading for the past few months, yours is probably my favorite. I am very glad that you found the time between surviving law school and planning your wedding to share your thoughts and ideas with us.

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  7. Congratulations! It sounds like some very wonderful people cheering you on! Enjoy it! Every minute of it!

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  8. Congratulations Ellie! I'm so happy for you - for the graduation, yes, but even more so because it sounds like you have an amazing family and support system. I'm looking forward to all the post-grad and post-wedding musings from over this way too. I'm glad you carved out this non-law school corner to share and discuss with us all. But todaym, congratulations on the law school part of it all.

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  9. Congratulations again Ellie, and I am looking forward to you and Mark living a loud yell away :-)

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  10. CONGRATS a thousand times!!! I can't even imagine law school AND anything else, nevermind planning a wedding!

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  11. So thrilled for you. Congratulations x

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