No. 35 Forever Undergrad
A vulnerable Mother's Day reflection
A few months ago, we were catching up with one of our favorite couples. O met the husband in undergrad at Stanford and they were two peas in a pod—both Nigerian Omega Psi Phis on the football team with hopes of becoming doctors after their NFL pursuits. They’d meet his better half, another pre-med student at the start of an excruciatingly long journey to becoming a doctor, along the way. O completed his undergrad with a biology pre-med major. He went on to play football for 8 years and now is an investor working in real estate where, plot twist, he refuses to use medicine of any kind.
These two friends, though, stayed the course. They got married. They finished their four years of the undergraduate program followed by four years in medical school and another four years in residency programs. They lived between Chicago, Northern California, Atlanta and somewhere I’m likely forgetting shuffling parenthood and their pursuits of becoming licensed doctors.
On a snowy night in Chicago, we sat at their kitchen island as they told us stories of what it had been like to be in residency at the same time. One worked nights, the other days. Two exhausted, overstimulated, determined ships passing in the night. Years later, they told us a similar tale at a playground in Palo Alto and I couldn’t imagine this schedule now with two kids underfoot. In these moments and every other time we’ve caught up with them over the years I’ve been absolutely amazed at their commitment and willingness to do what it takes to become equipped, capable, and confident in their field. Experts. Qualified. Official.
Last weekend, there was a mass shooting at a mall near our house. The mall where O takes the kids to get burgers and dairy-free milkshakes on special dates. It was after a string of mass shootings in semi-local news—the fifth in as many weeks. A school, a sleepover, a front yard, a hospital, a mall. Where can we go where I don’t have to look for our proximity to exits? How do I answer their questions of why them? Why not us? Will it be us?
Deep down in my belly and somewhere swirling in my chest, this gives birth to a feeling.