The Hubs and I have been together since our senior year in high school. We went to college together and got married after our sophomore year. That was the year TH decided that he would pursue a career in medicine, rather than religious studies. He grappled with this decision because he initially thought the only way he could serve God was to go into the ministry. That still, small voice was leading him to another path where Christian professionals are also desperately needed.
We had graduated from a tiny private high school where the highest math was Algebra II, and TH was woeful behind his classmates in mathematics and science courses. No one in his family had ever finished college, let alone attempted something like this. By all accounts, TH was supposed to be a 3rd generation transmission repair shop owner. There was money to be made in transmissions, and the family had built a solid reputation in that business. It was safe. But, that never tempted TH or stopped him from pursuing something different. He took Organic Chemistry at UVA over the summer after we got married, and launched himself into the study of math and science–and excelled! He was born to do this work! I am still in awe of what he did and the determination with which he did it. He was up against students with vastly superior backgrounds and pedigrees, but he never let that stop him from his dream. Even his cranky old pre-med advisor did his best to discourage, but TH didn’t give up. He graduated just one semester after me, with honors.
I’d like to say that the world rewards this type of 180 degree life change, especially when it is clear that one is destined to do it, but it generally does not. Next came the really difficult part: rejection. Med school applications, MCAT scores, lather, rinse, repeat. TH went for his Masters in anatomy at VCU in the meantime. Things got rocky for us. Family issues. Job issues. Infertility. I moved to Texas. He followed, and I thank God for that.
If I could turn back time, I would have done things differently. I never gave up on TH, but I gave up on the system and on God. I’d heard the line, “God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle” all my life, but I didn’t believe it during those dark days. What I had forgotten was the most important factor: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I was mad at God. Why couldn’t this brilliant man get into medical school? Why couldn’t we have a baby? Why? Why? Why?
I will never forget the day I surrendered. TH and I were working at the same company, and we were driving home to our apartment. I finally said to him and to God, actually meaning it, “If I can’t have my own baby, I’m going to be the best aunt to my nieces and nephews that I can be.” I was free. Sweet relief! Fast forward about two weeks and another car ride home–I wasn’t feeling very well. Something was definitely weird. I told TH I was a bit worried. The next morning, something made me get up early, go to the store, get a home pregnancy test (despite the hundreds of negative tests before), and take it while TH was sleeping. The results were immediate. No waiting three minutes or anything. It was brilliantly and absolutely positive! The promise I held in my hand that day was born just shy of our seventh anniversary. The Boy, our boy. God is so good!
TH didn’t get into medical school that year, though. Together we decided to give it one more try.
In February 2002, I was leaving work late and wanted to pick up pizza for myself and my guys. I ordered TH’s favorite, then I ordered a pizza with extra black olives for myself. Now wait a second! I loathe black olives! Something was definitely weird. I stopped by the store, picked up a pregnancy test, picked up the pizzas, and went home. That was the best pizza I have ever eaten, thanks to the new baby-to-be. The Boy was going to be a big brother!
On April 1, 2002, TH had to have sinus surgery. By this time, I was in full morning sickness-mode, and his ENT insisted on showing me the digital pictures he took of the internal workings of TH’s nose. Ew. But that wasn’t the worst of it. After surgery, all TH could do was barf up blood. It’s not easy being queasy, let me tell ya. My Mom already had The Boy and offered to help TH with his recuperation if I could drive him out to her house, so off we went. TH with his nose bandaged like a celebrity, and me with my head hanging out the window. Once we got there, TH rested a bit and wandered off, slowly, to check his email. A few minutes later, I heard some loud banging and sound of someone running. TH ran into the room and fell to his knees. “I got hit!” he said. I thought he was going to have a seizure or something. He kept saying, “I got hit! I got hit!” Not hit. In. HE GOT IN!
Tragic that they sent the congratulatory email on April Fool’s Day. It really took until the official acceptance letter came in the mail for me to truly believe, but he did get hit, er, in!
Beanie was born just after TH’s first week of classes. Lemony was born during his brutal 3rd year. He graduated AOA, despite having three children at home, which proves to me the determination and dedication my husband has for this work. But, he didn’t neglect his family either. I love this picture him studying in his recliner with newborn Lemony tucked into the crook of one arm and The Boy asleep in the other. You can’t see it in the picture, but he had a textbook propped up on his leg:
He proved that it could be done–family and school. He did it. My husband, the doctor.
This process has been a struggle, but it has also been a gift. Our one year here is winding down, and we are about to enter the next big phase in our lives. The Hubs graduates in a few weeks, and we are about to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary. Come what may, we are together, we are stronger in the Lord, and we are ready for what is to come.