We got news this morning that Ryan’s internship placement will be here in Utah at Primary Children’s Hospital. He’ll begin a year-long internship in August doing research and clinical work with sexually abused children. This was his first choice for placement, so he’s really happy with the result. That’s right, he smiled for at least seven whole minutes this morning about it before saying, “I thought I’d feel more relieved.”
We’re both having a certain amount of subconscious anxiety. Our lives feel very much up in the air, because after internship comes a Real Job. We’ve done well throughout this lengthy journey by not focusing on the finish line, figuring that it would make everything seem longer. But now that it is so near, and what lies beyond is so foggy, it feels incredibly weird. Within weeks of beginning his internship, he’ll start the process of applying for all those Real Jobs. I think we’re both trying to bolster ourselves up for the possibility that the best offers might be out of state. We’re both very tied to Utah. We have family and friends here that we would miss terribly. For one thing if we move away, Rhonda is going to have to drive a long way to bring me seven layer dip on my birthday and I would hate to put her out like that.
The other thing that feels funny is that we will soon be giving up practically the only way of life we’ve known since we’ve been married. Ryan goes to school, has crazy hours, makes a hilariously tiny income, is constantly scrutinized, frequently believes he’s dying, while I work my butt off to keep a roof over our heads and the laundry folded. That’s our gig and we’re getting pretty good at it. It’s what we do. Although I imagine the next phase of life to be less stressful in many ways, it’s always hard to leave your comfort zone.
The value of our experience is that we have had a rare opportunity to share almost all of the roles in our household. Ryan has been as much of a “mother” to our children as I have. During the past seven years, I’ve been at work before he and the kids wake up. He had to feed them, dress them, comb their hair, and get everybody out the door on time. When I would get them ready on the weekends, flustered and running late, he would stand in the doorway of the bathroom with his hand on his hip like a typical housewife and say, “It’s not very easy, is it? May I remind you that I do this every day?”
I, on the other hand, have all the respect in the world for the (typically male) household breadwinner, feeling the responsibility of providing for an entire family, dreading the gas bill, the lunch money, and often wondering out loud, “Where does it all go?” I know what a 10 hour day at the office feels like. I know what it’s like to simultaneously want and not want overtime work. I know what it’s like to find the tender balance between giving your all to your family, and enough to your job to keep you eligible for a raise. As I’ve said before, single parents have my complete and absolute awe. We barely pulled it off between two of us.
Before I get too ahead of myself, I’ll end. The finish line is still further down the road, but these hurdles that once seemed an eternity away are driving the point home that we’re actually going to be done someday with this phase. And the butterflies I have in my stomach? I think they’re a good thing.