Through the last three years of dirty dishes, general clutter, the legal internships and the give-me-attention appeals, we made it. And I have to say that for everything I read online and everything that was told me about How Hard Law School Was Going To Be as the spouse not attending, I can let you all in on a little secret: Everything "they" say is nonsense. If you're married to a law student or an MBA student or anyone pursuing a graduate degree you will be fine. "They" will try to scare you at the beginning, and tell you that divorce rates are exponentially higher for law students, that you'll never see your husband/wife once the law books get cracked, that there will be a higher chance of infidelity (yes, I actually heard this) because of all those late study nights spent at the library or in study groups. Don't believe it. If your significant other was going to cheat, they wouldn't need a library or law school to do it in. As for never seeing your better half, that's a bit of an exaggeration. You will see them...maybe not as much as you'd like, but it's only three years.
Looking back on the last three years, they surprisingly weren't as hard as I anticipated them to be. Before we started this whole law school thing I was a little worried. Not because I didn't believe in us, but more because of all the myths I foolishly began listening to prior to his first semester back in 2007. Suddenly everyone was an expert, espousing wisdom about what life was going to be like for us once he started. I'm here to report that none of it is true. The best thing you can do if you're married to a law/medical/mba/etc. student is to block out all that outside noise.
It is true that certain chores like washing dishes or grocery shopping aren't always so 50/50 when married to a grad student. Unfortunately I'm terrible with chores so most of the time our kitchen sink always had dishes piled in it, and even when I had time to wash them all I still refused since the way I saw it I'd only made half of them dirty, so why did he earn a "get out of jail free" card just because he was a student? Yes, this was my rational. Back when I was a grad student
My mantra: "I didn't marry you to be your maid. Either help me or get used to the mess." This was repeated frequently and when he'd eventually finish studying we'd take turns washing the dishes (and came to the conclusion after about semester 3 of this that once he got a well-paying job we were definitely getting a part-time housekeeper).
That's not to say I didn't take into consideration Special Circumstances like an especially debilitating few weeks of finals, crunch time when J had dozens of articles to approve and edit for the Law Journal, or when he'd miss dinner multiple times in a row because he had to stay late drafting some motion for a judge. In special circumstances like these I wouldn't bother him about picking his clothes up off the floor or leaving dirty dishes in the sink. Why? Because I have the exact same habits so really, who am I to judge (oops, did I just admit that out loud?), but also it was just easier picking up some of his slack on my end since he was working his tushie off for the good of our future.
It took me 1.3 semesters to see that J was a special breed of law student: the I-came-here-because-I'm-enamored-with-law-so-I'm-going-to-take-advantage-of-every-opportunity sort of law student. These are the best and worst kind. Best because who doesn't get a little randy at the thought of such ambition and passion for a particular subject? But worst because when your ambitious tigerlily is out interning for judges and on mastheads of law journals and flying across the country to compete in mock trial competitions and sitting in on Supreme Court hearings in his free time just because "it's fun"... life as the law school wife can get a little, well, lonely. Especially the first year of law school, which also happened to be the first year of our marriage (we were literally married two months before he started classes). But that's why I had Lola, good friends, kickboxing, and the neverending task of writing that kept me up many nights long after he'd finished studying and gone to bed -- when he saw I couldn't spend time with him. And even with his schedule, I had to hand it to J. He still found time to spend quality time with me, no matter how full his plate was, and for that I thank him. It was a dance he perfected well over the last three years.
"But what about after school is over," some have asked. "He's going to be so busy in his Real-Life Firm Job. Won't that bother you?" Not at all. I figure if J and I could handle the long periods of time each semester when he'd be gone for 12 hours a day, then his "real-life" career is going to be a walk in the park. Why? Because I recognize he is helping to set the foundation of our family's future and, well, nothing can compete with the stress of a full course-load, internships and extracurricular activities every semester. Nope, not even a Big Law litigation career.
I feel like law school has broken me in and our relationship is bullet proof now. If I -- I mean "we" -- can survive this, then we can survive anything.
Congratulations to my Hoya Lawyah!!!
Commencement is on Sunday; we head out west two days later. Lots more pictures to come.