It’s hard to explain medical school to those who aren’t deeply involved in it. The courses are insanely in-depth, the hours are long, the exams are demanding. It is nothing like anything else I’ve experienced, and I’m not even doing it! A chapter, a season, a short time – that feels like a lifetime.
July marks our seven year wedding anniversary. November brings my sixth year as a mother. But the last two years have been the most challenging. We moved to Orlando May 2014 so that my husband could start medical school. It was a long journey just to get here and we aren’t even close to being done. Now we’re adding to the chaos by having another baby!
People at school or in the hospital are always surprised to find out that my husband, Tanner, is married with children. It’s not the norm. He’s not what academia calls “traditional.” His path has been long and serpentine. It has had ups and downs. I wouldn’t call it a roller coaster, but it certainly hasn’t been the Lazy River, either.
Tanner and I got married at 22. He didn’t really know what he wanted to be “when he grew up!” He went to college, became an EMT, tried his hand in construction, got into nursing school – nothing truly fit. We were mere moments away from buying a house and getting a puppy. We just wanted to settle down. So we had the discussion – “what do you want to do with your life?” I asked him. He told me he wanted to be a doctor; not an EMT and not a nurse.
At 23, when most future MDs were already IN medical school, he wanted to start over and basically re-do college. So that’s what he did. We didn’t buy that house. We didn’t get that puppy. He enrolled in pre-med classes. And I got pregnant. He worked full time at night and went to school full time during the day. By the time he was taking his MCAT just to qualify to GET IN to medical school, we had our second son. This was a crazy ride and we weren’t planning on getting off anytime soon.
Fast forward a few years and here we are. I’m pregnant for the third time and basically a single mom. My husband has been working constantly, missing things he hates missing, studying topics he doesn’t always love. But this is why we’re here. This season will pass. Sure the journey has been long and tiresome, but if we live until were 100, what an exciting drop in the bucket it will be.
I’m telling you all this not to scare you away, but to encourage you!
What do you love? Life is too short to be stuck doing one thing you don’t care about. We’re not too old. Or too set in our ways. Or too broke. We can still do it!
I’m so excited about where our path has taken us these last seven years. I love this journey. I love that my husband is working this hard for us. He’s going to get to do something he’s passionate about, and it’s that much sweeter because he’s sacrificed so much to do it. We have both prayed and sacrificed for each other. Our kids maybe don’t understand right now, but we hope that they will one day. We hope that they grow up knowing how much we gave up so that they could have it better. So that we could all have it better.
I shouldn’t say the words “sacrifice” or “gave up”, because those words aren’t an accurate representation of how I feel. I’ve gained so much more than I’ve given up. I’ve gained a view of my hard-working husband that I may not have had otherwise. I’ve gained tremendous life experience. I’ve gained better budgeting skills. I’ve gained a deeper spiritual trust.
In the coming years, he will have more exams, several clinical rotations, many interviews, and one chance to get into his top residency choice. While I know that not everyone reading this has a religious component in their life, we do. And so in our family, we choose to leave it all to God’s will. He could take us anywhere in the country, but we know He has a plan for us.