The Commiseration Post

Boy using laptop

Just so you know, this post isn’t for you guys or for me. It’s for my daughter, who is stuck with doing an on-line course over her Christmas holidays, when she’d much rather be tobogganing, spending her gift cards at the mall, or hanging out with friends. Since that can’t happen — since she’s been consigned to being serious and responsible when she’s in dire need of fun — I’m keeping her company.

Our plan is thus: The kitchen timer’s set for an hour and we’re both working as hard as we can — she on her homework, me on my writing. Then there will be an exercise break, showers, and we’ll hit the books again for one more session before sitting down to watch some engaging television. 

In truth, while this might be miserable for her, the rhythm’s a familiar one to me. In fact, I’m almost aglow with reminiscence. 

See, P and I married very young,  just before I began med school. We also married with dire predictions that we wouldn’t survive my training and career. (Nice, huh? Especially when we heard this from classmates, best friends, and even a parent or two.) We’d spend too much of our lives apart, we were told, to build a meaningful one together. Besides, we’d do well to remember the statistics about physicians and the longevity of their partnerships…

Maybe it was because of these prophesies that we began a routine that lasted for years. After my classes were done for the day, I’d drive out to P’s refinery. We’d share a cold plate dinner between the two of us, and while he’d work, I’d study. I might be the one with the test, and P might be the one with the work deadline, but neither of us ever truly faced these milestones apart.

That companionship got me through a lot of hard times. I’m hoping it’ll get my daughter through one of her own.

How about you folks? Do you have someone you can count on to be beside you when you’ve got your nose to the grindstone? Someone willing to hunker down with you, even if their deadline is artificial or self-imposed? Or do you work alone by necessity or choice?

3 thoughts on “The Commiseration Post

  1. Geez, Hope!

    You’re a trooper. I suspect you won’t find many stories like yours. Your daughter is lucky to have a mom like you!

  2. I love that you are working right alongside your daughter. I meet once or twice a week to write with two friends that live nearby. There is something really productive about this time for me – solid two hour stretches of writing and nothing else. I still value my alone writing time, but I think writing can indeed be a team sport.

  3. Aw, thanks, Donna. It works both ways. I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have two particularly fine people entrusted to my care.

    Jennifer, that sounds like a very healthy routine, particularly if you manage to make it writing time and not chatting time. My husband’s always been great about respecting my need to concentrate, but it hasn’t always worked out well for me with others.

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