Residency is a funny time. It's a period of transition (for us 5 years) where you are uprooted from where ever you call home for your husband to train in his medical specialty. The hours are long. The pay is meager. It's a little world that few understand. But, it's a community. Especially in a town like Rochester, where many people are touched by the Clinic in some way.
Because if your husband is a resident, he may rarely eat dinner with you and the young family you created while he completes residency. He may or may not make it to the 5:00 PM gymnastics class. Not for lack of trying, but because the hospital controls his schedule. He may tell you he'll be home at a decent time and you don't see him until well after the kids are in bed and you're into your second episode of The Good Wife. He may have no idea what day is trash day and where you keep the extra trash bags for that matter. When you hang out with friends he may fall asleep while sitting up, mid conversation. You get used to doing Christmas on the 26th and driving long road trips with the kids by yourself. In fact, it feels normal.
Side by Side is a medical spouse Bible Study that meets Friday mornings. It's a place for women to come together and walk through this unique phase of life together. We become family for one another when literal family is miles away. We take each other's children when emergencies come up. We make meals and celebrate births (there are many in this community). We pray for each other and our marriages and the great demands placed on our husbands. We're from all over the map. Rochester is our common ground. We laugh because it's so cold here, because if we didn't laugh... we'd cry.
I'm so thankful for the many women I have known and walked alongside in SBS. Thank goodness we don't have to walk this road alone.
My group this year is so wonderful. We recently had a little Christmas party that miraculously all of us could make it to. Thanks to husbands and babysitters for taking our kids so we could have a night together. We did a favorite things gift exchange. Each woman brought 5 of her favorite thing. We drew numbers and came away with five new items to love. I brought some fuzzy leopard print socks from Old Navy. Because I love warm toes and a good animal print. Who doesn't?
Back: Maggie, Bethany, Alisa, Laura, Casey, Sara
Front: Ssonia, Marlene, Michelle, me, Heidi
Not pictured: Katherine - a sick little boy sent Katherine back home as soon as she made it to the party.
This morning we put together some breakfast bags for the Ronald McDonald House. It was fun to make our bags festive with holiday stickers and drop breakfast treats and toys into the bags intended for children staying in the home. After SBS we took our bags to the RMH house and got a tour of their beautiful home. As I wrestled my fiercely independent one-year-old away from the train table so we could leave and encouraged my energetic three-year-old to quit tongue kissing the Ronald statue, I reminded myself what a gift it is to have healthy children. Bless those mommas and babies spending Christmas in the hospital.
There you have it. I have found a group of women who don't mind that I'm super weird. They even embrace it.