It's over, at last

A bit of a break was required after Friday's posting extravaganza.

The house is quiet. The front wooden door is open, leaving just the glass door closed. The cats awakened from their second nap of the day when I came home a few minutes ago. The fans are on, the kitchen's mostly clean, and I'm sitting here, waiting for my friends and Jeff's parents to show up.It is over. It is really, truly over. I saw him graduate with my own eyes—graduate regalia slightly askew, squinting to find his friends and family in the crowd, thousand-watt smile.

I called Andy and Brad on my cell phone while waiting for everyone else to get ready to go home, and said, "It's over. It's really over. It's really really over."

For our friends this afternoon: a bottle of champagne and fresh Gulf shrimp, courtesy of Jess. Smoked salmon with cream cheese and crackers, courtesy of last year's trip to the Pacific Northwest. (I'd planned on saving this second batch of smoked salmon for some special event, and this seemed oddly appropriate.)

What else does a spouse say? It's over, it's really over. I want to see the diploma, to run my fingers over the raised letters. See his master's-degree regalia up close. Smile to myself over the Sunday-best look: freshly shaved, the scent of soap and aftershave, fresh shirt and dress pants.

Then, lastly—to do the same thing I did three years ago this July, the night after our wedding ceremony: to wrap him up in the tightest hug I can manage and hold my head by his chest and say, "It's over, it's over. No more. At last."

At that moment, three years ago, I cried. Not much, not a river—just a little. For everything we'd had to go through, deal with, put off, and give up to get to that point. I cried because I believed that he, despite his quirks and habits and everything else that makes all of us ever-so-slightly-weird, was the one person I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with. I cried because I didn't have the strength of will to be patient, to wait quietly and silently, to have the strength I saw in others. I cried because I was relieved that chapter of my life, which I had wanted so desperately to end, was now over.

Even if I don't do that outwardly this time, the emotion is the same.

Congratulations, Jeff. I haven't always been the best or most patient of spouses, and we've driven each other crazy and crazier over the past two years, but know this: I am so very, very proud of you.

Maybe one of these years, if I ever get the courage up to go back for degrees in creative writing or literature or something equally linguistically-geeky, you can say the same for me.

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