Now is the only time you have…

a&pI thought I’d circle back to telling you about how I got my doctoral dissertation written.

When Annie and Pearl were really tiny, four or five months old, we took them to Spokane to visit their grandmother. We had Thanksgiving dinner at my husband’s brother’s house. My sister-in-law was at that time a Dean at Whitworth College. She wanted to hear how I was managing graduate school alongside infant twins.

I was finished with coursework. “Wonderful,” Tammy told me. “So all you have to do is write the dissertation.”

I was teaching two classes that fall, and felt that I had plenty to do without writing. I cheerfully reported that I thought I’d wait until the babies were older to start writing. “When they’re old enough for preschool, or even Kindergarten. Then I’ll have lots of time. It will be easier!”

Tammy’s eyes grew wide and for a moment she simply listened to me babble on. When I stopped talking she said, “No, you will not have more time. It will be different, but it won’t be easier. If you’re ever going to write it, you need to write it now.”

It was not a smooth transition. It took me months to find my feet in the damn thing, and months more to establish a writing routine. I can credit my sister-in-law, however, and that Thanksgiving visit as the moment when I made the mental — and emotional — decision to get cracking.

The picture is of me with the girls on their first day of Kindergarten. My sister-in-law was right — it was different, and it wasn’t easier, but at least I didn’t have a dissertation to write. That was finished when they were two-and-a-half.

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