Zach applied for residency to his top 6 schools: North Carolina, South Carolina, Gainesville, FL, USC, Phoenix and Tucson, AZ. All interviews went well and he was even invited back to South Carolina, his favorite. He didn't apply to any cold weather schools out of deference to Katie who, having suffered a broken neck and two knee surgeries when younger, doesn't do well in the cold. His applications went into the system and matches were announced on Monday the 14th. I'm not sure how the matches are made, but Zach did not get a match. He called Katie as she was going through security at the Phoenix airport, completely distraught. Katie got to think about that for the rest of the day as she struggled with two small girls for the over 7 hour flight. Devastation and tears. That's pretty much what that day was about, when it should have been a celebration at being reunited after over a month apart.
I was sick at heart for them. These med students work so hard and put in endless hours of work and study. It's almost unimaginable. And still, there was a small part of myself that kept whispering "Stay calm. It will all be fine." And so I did. And I prayed. Oh how I prayed. Prayers for their family, prayers that they would hold onto hope, prayers that whatever happened it would be good for their family.
Yesterday the call came from Katie. After putting his name into the "scramble" (lists of med schools that still had openings) he not only had a match, but had gotten a match for his specialty: psychiatry. And it wasn't just to any school, it was to the University of Massachusetts, one of the most prestigious medical schools in the country. A school he didn't even apply to.
I called everyone I knew and I couldn't stop crying from relief, from happiness, from sheer JOY. Yes, it's cold there in the winter. Katie is very worried about that, but slightly comforted by the thought of cute boots, sweaters and coats. But the history and the beauty of that part of the country is amazing. What a great adventure they'll have! And, as son Scott put it, "Katie's had enough beach for 10 lives." (She's lived in Hawaii, Huntington Beach, CA, and Puerto Rico.) And I think Cape Cod is a lovely beach. Their little girls will prosper, get good educations, and be able at long last to put down some roots. And they'll learn the joys of sledding in the winter.
On one level, I'm sad. Massachusetts is SO. FAR. AWAY. But so was Puerto Rico. On the bright side, Boston is a great city to visit in any season, and there is so much that is close by. I'm hoping for some great trips in our future. Now we'll have 2 kids on the East Coast to visit: Katie in Boston and Tim in NYC. Ashley said last night that Boston is one of her favorite places, so I will maybe have a travel buddy if LaMar isn't able to go. Add in Ronna and you've got the makings of a girl's trip! I can see/wish for Christmas shopping in Boston, summers in Cape Cod.
For now, their little family is enjoying a much needed month together in Puerto Rico. A condo on the beach, white sands and sparkling blue water during the day, the sound of ocean waves lulling them with to sleep each night with a Puerto Rican lullaby. And most importantly, being together as a family.
I have so much to be grateful for. This was a better path than anyone ever envisioned. Proof once again that we should never despair. There is always hope. There is always a silver lining. And most times that silver lining is brighter and shinier than what we hoped for in the first place. Next time I'll be quicker to look up and see it coming.