Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pomp and Circumstance

Today was graduation. Since I skipped my college graduation some umpty-dozen years ago to run a 5K and then get my wedding gown altered, I had decided I'd actually go to the one for my PhD. The whole thing almost fell apart though. Remember how I mentioned in my last post that I had a plugged duct ? ("It feels like I'm getting a plugged duct again, so hopefully that will work itself out without getting too painful.") Unfortunately, as soon as I wrote that, it ended up getting worse. I felt awful and achy and started running a fever. You guessed it: mastitis. Luckily, I got in to see my midwife, and she prescribed me some antibiotics. I started feeling better right away.

I was still kind of run down, but not bad enough to miss graduation. I walked over to the line up this morning, because I'm Melissa and I have this thing against driving places less than 2 miles away. It was a little bit weird to step out of my front door and walk through the neighborhood wearing full academic regalia. Plus, I had decided to enliven the whole garish orange and blue ensemble by wearing these shoes. But whatever. This is Urbana. I'm sure they've seen it before.

Since graduates had to be there before guests, Rob and Will left home a bit later. The ceremony was so crowded that as I filed in, I couldn't see them anywhere. PhD candidates sat in the very front row, so I couldn't see the audience at all. A few times during the ceremony I heard a baby cry, but it was never Will. Then shortly before the end (when PhD candidates were actually announced), I heard a very loud BA-BA-BA-BA-BAAAAAAA," and I thought that's my boy!. Sure enough, it was.

Social sciences graduation

I saw Rob and Will step forward to take picture as I went up to the stage. The announcer called my name, putting a "Dr." in front of it. Then SL "hooded" me, which I guess means I now officially have my PhD.



I am kind of paranoid that SL will read this or that it will somehow get back to him, but I do just have to say that he has been a really great thesis advisor these past umpteen years. I remember being so scared to tell him that I was pregnant, for fear that he would think that I had flaked out and would bail on the program so close to finishing. But not at all. He was amazingly supportive and encouraging throughout the whole thing. In fact, getting an email from him telling me that my thesis was defensible is probably what sent me into labor. And just moments after Will was born, I told Rob, "Text SL" (although I think Rob passed out from exhaustion before he could do so). I think it is great that SL rode his bike to graduation today and that he attended the ceremony wearing Asics running shoes. In a strange way, it made me feel like everything was right with the world when the festivities ended and I saw SL sling his cap and gown over one arm, hop on his bike, and ride away one-handed.

Rob, Will, and I walked home together. Will, of course, had refused to eat his cereal or take a bottle of milk after I'd had to leave in the morning, so he was very hungry. I stopped to nurse him on the way home.

Dr. Mom

I know that getting my PhD is supposed to be a huge accomplishment and whatnot, but really, the biggest accomplishment of all is being Will's mother.

Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! and thank you to Rob and Will (and SL) for their support and encouragement and inspiration. You are amazing! This is such a happy occasion and another wonderful writing. have to admit it made me cry, but they were joyful tears. hugs, auntie
p.s. Now I have two DOCTOR nieces .. i'm so proud of each of you for your outstanding accomplishments!

Ashley said...

Crying again...good grief, what is wrong with me? ;) Congratulations Melissa! - Ashley :)

Cathy said...

Congratulations DOCTOR M!!!! I'm so happy for you, after all this work. True, being Will's Mom is the best job of all, but when you better yourself, you're a better Mom. My favorite Pic of All is you Nursing with Cap and Baby...indeed all IS right with the world.

amypfan said...

Congratulations, my friend. I am so proud of you!

Unknown said...

CONGRATS DR MELI!!!!!!!!!! I have to agree with Cathy,,, the photo of YOU nursing WILL on a BENCH with your CAP on, is the WHOLE PICTURE!!!!!!! AND someday, when YOU show it to WILL, he will be SOOOOO proud of his mama !!!!!!!!!!! and Like Ashley and Auntie, I cried!!!! but guess the TEARS flow easily these days, but this time , they were tears of JOY for you .....No matter where the next years take you,,,,,,, NO ONE can take your education and degrees away... be PROUD of your accomplishments, as DAD and I are so proud of you!!!!!! To have 2 daughters achieving the title of DR .. is beyond anything I ever DREAMED for you...... ( all I wanted was for you each to be HAPPY) see how small my mind is!!!!!!!!! For now, enjoy the days at home with WILLIAM, some day soon he will 'be off on his own' backpacking thru some FAR OFF PLACE and you will be WONDERING where these days went!!!!!! hugs , LUV and CONGRATS,, mama, ( no longer *foxy* :( )

Rixa said...

Congrats on graduation! I hadn't realized you were still in the final stages of finishing up.

I got food poisoning the night before my PhD graduation (I was 5 months pregnant at the time with Dio) and almost didn't go. But then I thought--this is the ONLY time I'll be able to do this, and I had already driven 5 hours in terrible winter weather to Iowa to go. So I dragged myself out of bed and went.

Love the shoes.

Emily said...

Congratulations on your PhD! I clicked over from Rixa's blog. I'm a new follower - also an anthropologist and interested in birth. I explored your Almost PhD blog a bit because I plan on getting one too one day! Best wishes.