I’m coming up on the end of the fourth year of my PhD program (oh my GOD) It’s been a rough-ass four years. Lotta ups, lotta downs. Not sure which outnumbers which anymore, to be honest. Getting into this program made me a wreck. Finishing my MA made me a wreck. Getting through my comprehensive exams made me an incredible wreck, to the degree where I’m still in recovery from it.
But here’s the thing.
Five years ago I got into this program. It meant moving out of state, something that I frankly didn’t want to do. Rob and I were living together, we were engaged, but we weren’t married. We had no formal legal ties. Both of our families were in Pennsylvania. We loved where we lived. Rob had a job he liked. It was wrenching, leaving. It was terrifying and a lot of work. There was crying on my part, and perhaps on his. There was a lot of sleeplessness.
Here’s the thing.
He would have been entirely within his rights to choose to stay behind and send me off on my own, and follow after when he felt like it was safe to do so. He would have been entirely within his rights to ask me to deal with things mostly alone for a while until things were more stable. And he didn’t. He plunged right in with me. He left his job, his life, his family, in the middle of a terrible recession and with not very much in the way of savings, with precious little safety net, to come here with me. To be with me. To take care of me. When nothing was certain, when nothing was safe. He had that much faith in me. In us.
Here’s the thing: This is what he’s always done. He’s propped me up, kept me sane, kept me grounded, taken care of me when no one else would or could. We don’t have a lot of endearments for each other (except, perhaps perversely, in annoyance) but there are a hundred thousand ways that he proves he loves me, every day. When I doubt everything else I never doubt that.
He and I don’t think much of Valentine’s Day. I think most of us can agree that it’s kind of a silly holiday, even an offensive holiday, or at least it’s been made so, at least in as much as it’s become a placate-the-women-folk day, a male-obligatory-feelings-showing day, a day of I-give-you-flowers-and-chocolate-and-you-give-me-slightly-out-of-the-ordinary-sex.
And but so I don’t need an excuse to talk about what he and I have, what he’s given me.
But what the hell. I’ll take it anyway.