This past Tuesday was the anniversary of when I picked Adam up from the airport in Charlotte, NC and we were able to see each other without the help of a computer screen or Skype for the first time! That night, and in the days that followed, found us falling in love. I think we both were smitten and sliding toward that from October 21st prior to that mid-January meeting date on 01/14/14 but boy did we fall hard during that nine day trip Adam made to see me and meet some of my family and friends in North Carolina!
Of course, thinking back to that time, my mind also wanders back to another significant even that occurred in that timeframe. The day after Adam left to return to California, I successfully defended my dissertation! Here is the post I wrote about that exciting Friday afternoon life-changing event! As I reread those words tonight, I was transported back to that time in my life of so much newness.
Putting a label on what Adam and I had been building since the previous fall, gaining a new professional role, job hunting (at the time I had been waiting to hear back from Ohio!), and wondering what the future would hold and the feelings associated with each all came rushing back at me tonight as I read what I had written back then. I also pictured my brother standing at the top of Mt. Katahdin upon the conclusion of his hike of the Appalachian Trail and wondered if the way I had started that blog post resembled any of the way he felt.
This past fall, another dream was reached...one that had been planted in mind as soon as I became Dr. instead of Professor Kemmery at my previous school. In October, I received the letter from my current university stating I had received tenure. This milestone had no fanfare, no surprise visitors, no meal out to celebrate, no good luck, nor any best wishes texts. I simply announced it to family via an email announcement to which congratulatory messages were sent back in reply. Yet, even though the arrival of this milestone was honored in a completely different way as defending the dissertation was, I am still supported by so many. I wouldn't be able to do what I do at work, or at home, without the help of many...from Adam, family, friends, colleagues, childcare help, prayers...so so many prayers...and God. Even though I am in such a different place now than I was five years ago, the actualization of this dream is so appreciated and I'm so grateful. I'm thankful to be able to work somewhere that I can practice both my faith and my profession in one place! In fact, at the start of this academic year, my colleagues and I took the Oath of Fidelity. Check out this article on that beginning of the school year event!
Five years ago, the night of my graduation in May 2014, my twin and his wife gifted me with this!
I said right then and there that I was going to wait until after I received tenure and promotion that I would enjoy the bottle of wine. However, Charlotte beat me to it this past summer. As a newly turned two year old, she all of a sudden discovered the wine rack in the living room.
She also discovered that two wine bottles smacking together make a loud shrill noise.
She then happily squealed as she heard the cracking of glass and whooooosh of spilled wine all over the carpet. Thankfully, she was not harmed. I can't say the same about the carpet upon which she stood.
She heard the angry, astonished, and sad cries and saw tears of frustration as her mom cleaned up the mess and said, "Noooooooo!" The spot on the living room floor every day since then prior to receiving the letter in the mail was a physical reminder of wondering whether or not I would be "good enough" to be promoted to associate professor or to be wanted. Thankfully, the answer was yes and when Mark and Liz heard that the wine bottle had been damaged and the wine lost, they ordered a replacement and gifted me with a new bottle. How thoughtful of them!! However, I have yet to open it.
You might be wondering why. What new dream is keeping me from enjoying and relishing that juicy wine?
Honestly, I don't know. I'm still trying to redream what life should look like after it changed so suddenly after Charlotte's birth.
I just don't feel ready yet. Part of it may be because the tenure and promotion might not feel official until after graduation in May 2019. It is then that it will be proclaimed during the ceremony and I officially move from assistant to associate professor (much like I wasn't able to be called Dr. until after the hooding ceremony in May even though I had successfully defended in January). I won't be at that ceremony as I'll still be teaching abroad.
Or maybe it's because I'm about to start some new writing projects amidst some old ones and I feel I can't truly stop and enjoy something when projects are hanging over my head? Yet being busy helps to keep the mind off things...see the cycle here? ;)
Perhaps it's due to teaching abroad this semester and everything feeling upended due to this break in the norm. This was a new dream that was planted during my job interview when I first learned of the study abroad program and I would never have thought that, as a family, we could be given this opportunity so soon! We are away from the usual comforts, including our huggable pups who are probably wondering where we are, and are in brand new territory for us as a family but it's a challenge that we can accept and overcome...what an incredible once in a lifetime opportunity this is! We are almost a week into our stay and it's been surreal being here and living in a 13th century monastery while being in such close proximity to work!! The people here have been so kind and welcoming and we are falling into a new normal as we anticipate the arrival of students to campus this week. Check out this awesome video that captures some of the beauty of where we are although right now it is blanketed by snow!
Maybe the reason things feel different is because when I defended the dissertation, the job was the primary focus vs. now with the achievement of tenure, the job is still important but the family trumps that. Charlotte's and Adam's well-being are what take up my thoughts with work coming in second place. I wonder if that's why I haven't dug into that bottle because life has been soooo busy. I also have a different support network this time around than when I was in North Carolina. I still have this card from a dear friend I received at my graduation gathering at a local winery and read it from time to time (thanks, Kevin!).
What I do know though is that someday I will thoroughly enjoy the wine and much like with Adam's and my courtship, when I know, I'll know that it truly is the right time to dive into that bottle! I also look forward to continuing to cull out and shape the new dream or goal to work toward with enough prayer, time, and thought. I'm going to more actively follow Padre Pio's and Kevin's advice, "Pray, Hope, and Don't Worry!"
So, let me ask you this, what dreams have been occupying your mind and heart lately??