The Last First Day of School

Today is a big one. Today is Ryan’s LAST first day of school!

While all the mom’s were posting pictures of their cute kids headed off to their first day of school today, I couldn’t resist posting Ryan headed off to his first day of his last year of law school. Hallelujah!

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The last year. Still letting that sink in.

So begins another year of only seeing him on the weekends. Of being a constant cheerleader and a wizard-like budget maker.

 

When you’re in the depths of law school, with an overly anxious student that also works a full-time job and adds on Moot Court, and research and TA positions, and law journal, you think law school is going to last your entire life. It’s easy to get lost in the darkness and forget that this is going to just be a short period of your life. 

I’ve written about being married to a law student here and here. It’s tough. Many people are telling us these will probably be the toughest years of our lives. There’s still a lot of unchartered territory ahead. Two semesters, bar exam prep, taking the bar exam, and finding a job. 

As a couple, I think our biggest anxiety comes from the unknown. We are stuck in this “in between” patch of our lives. We have no clue where we will be living next year. Where he will get a job. How we will be paying off the excruciating amount of student loans. We’ve put things off. In our home, the phrase “After law school” is used as commonly as “coffee”. 

We made the most of this summer. Worries were but aside as much as possible and we unplugged and made each other a priority.

This past weekend you would think we’d do something fun and exciting to celebrate our last few days of freedom. No, we were out running errands, buying new shoes, hitting up Costco, and doing laundry, cooking meals for the week, and cleaning. Boring old married stuff. But I cherish doing those every day things with Ryan.

People warned me about marrying a law student. They said that the marriage would come second. That many marriages barely make it.

But I can’t imagine married life any other way. This is all I know. We’re a team. I’m happy to be married to a man who is passionate about his dream and is still supportive of mine. I don’t know how Ryan does it, how he slaves away at his job and also manages to put 100% into law school and still get amazing grades and accomplishment. Yes, I’m bragging. 

Sure I dream of the day when Ryan can come home at a reasonable hour, when we won’t be stressing about every bill, and when Ryan will be fulfilled in a career that he has worked hard for. But,  I like to think that these stressful days of pinching pennies, of saying yes to another dinner in while watching Netflix and no to a Saturday night out, of making the most of our time together will only strengthen our marriage. As cheesy as it sounds, love does win sometimes. 

I just need to remember that in the coming weeks when I’m feeling lonely and lost and like no amount of love can diminish Ryan’s stress and anxiety and like the days are longer than the weeks. We’ve got this! We’ve got this! We’ve got this! 

xoxo Katie

Back to School

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Yesterday was our last day of summer. Ryan heads back to law school today. This means going back to only seeing him on the weekends, unless you count the moments around 12:30 am that he sneaks into bed after getting home after a long day. Or, at 5:30 in the morning as he politely shuffles around getting ready in the morning while I’m still sleeping peacefully. See, not only is he a law student, he also works full-time at the DA’s office. I’m amazed at how he manages to “do it all”.

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It is hard being married to an adult student (and that’s coming from the partner who is not doing all the work). I know A LOT of people have it much harder than us– those with spouses in the armed forces or working in separate states or countries. But we face our own small struggles. Ryan is always tired and always anxious. He lives off of 5 hours a sleep a night and goes from 6 am – 12:30 am each week day. We have four more semesters to struggle through and I’m sure they will go fast. In the meantime we muddle through. This means often having to put off a few of our dreams and plans until ALS (after law school). Money and time are tight. I’m left with much time to dive into my work and day-dream about the future. We do a lot of hoping. We hope that his old beaters of a car will get us through two more years. We hope I can keep my current job. We hope we can remain in our current rental. We hope for a job after he passes his bar so we can start to conquer the mountain of student loan debt (his and mine both).

We enjoyed a lot of quality time together this summer. We made sure to really celebrate being newlyweds. Yesterday was our final salute to the summer. It was a good last day to relax and to be calm before the stress of school and work crashes over us.

We took time to enjoy a slow Sunday to take it all in. To slow life down a beat, to remember all that was and all that will be. We sat out all morning on our deck with our dog Maggie and read and chatted about how far we’ve come and what lies ahead this year. It was a picturesque last day of summer that smelled faintly like freshly sharpened pencils and shiny new plastic binders. Which to me were always synonymous with freshly minted dreams of the new school year. The bright green trees simply existed against the clear blue sky – begging to be noticed – to be admired for simply being. As I looked at Ryan and back out at the sky I could only think “this is my life” and it’s pretty beautiful.

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