Well, folks, I did it. A defended dissertation, which in the end didn't need a whole lot of defending, because my committee was behind me wholeheartedly. The defense itself was wonderful and humbling, a delightful conversation that greatly encouraged me in terms of the possibilities the book has for publication. They passed me with no fanfare at all, just a "So, where do we sign?" from my director, and they ended up nominating me for the best IU dissertation award!
I basically floated out of the room, and proceeded to celebrate in the best ways possible over the weekend: a very nice dinner out with my dearest friend in Bloomington, cooing at her adorable baby, baking and cooking to our heart's content, crossword puzzles and Christmas decorating and reading-- all in all, a blissful, well-deserved, and utterly relaxing break.
Of course, I missed my little boy quite a bit, that trip being our first stretch apart since his birth 22 months ago. But he did fabulously in the care of my awesome parents, and our reunion when I returned was very sweet. The Mister flew into Boston a day after that, and thus we are all together again in time for the holidays, the brand-new doctor and her boys.
We have a lot to celebrate this Christmas, as my newly minted PhD and growing belly attest. The only worrisome news is that the Mister's beloved grandmother, 96 years old, is in the hospital with a tumor in her abdomen that the doctors discovered this week. It's always hard to be away from family when they are suffering, and there's a lot we don't know yet in terms of her prognosis. We will be eager to see her when we fly to Barcelona two days after Christmas.
Throughout the years of writing my dissertation, I kept a (digital) pink post-it note on the desktop of my computer that slowly accumulated a selection of the quotations I found most inspiring for my work. I finally deleted that post-it today, deciding that the quotes had served their purpose, but I thought it would be nice to record them here. They are snippets of encouragement and perseverance, patience and prodding, all leading to this moment, the satisfying feeling of having achieved a huge goal.
Be of good cheer. Do not think of today's failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost. ~Helen Keller
Be patient towards all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves liked locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. ~Ranier Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet
I have homes everywhere, many of which I have not seen yet. That is perhaps why I am restless. I haven't seen all my homes. ~John Steinbeck
Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible. ~Paul Klee
Cada ferida la sang d'un poema. ~Joan Salvat Papasseit
I too could now say to myself: Be no longer a Chaos, but a World, or even Worldkin. Produce! Produce! Were it but the pitifullest infinitesimal fraction of a Product, produce it in God's name! 'Tis the utmost thou hast in thee; out with it then. Up, up! Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy whole might. Work while it is called To-day, for the Night cometh wherein no man can work. ~Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus
The worst has already happened and been repaired...All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. ~Julian of Norwich