Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Zach Gets A BRILLIANT Match

As many of you know, my son-in-law Zach (husband to daughter Katie) is in med school.  For over 3 years they lived in Puerto Rico where Zach plowed through his training in Spanish.  This man is brilliant, and he doesn't give himself half enough credit.  For the last year their little family has been based in Mesa, AZ while Zach has traversed half the United States on his various rotations at different schools.  Katie and their two beautiful little girls were home alone for weeks on end without him.  They've had a rough go, but they've been strong and persevered.  I've so admired Katie's courage and resolve.  She may get down, but she doesn't stay there very long.  As my friend Sue says, she makes lemonade out of lemons.
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.


  1. LOVE your good news!! Actually GREAT news! So very true about the staying calm and having hope. Bravo to you for listening to and obeying that "still small voice"! Congrats to Zach and his family! I LOVE a good new life adventure!

  2. Great news for Katie and Zach. Sigh of relief. And glad it's over.

  3. I read your blog by the way, Karen. I loved this post and made Tom read it because it reminded me a LOT of what Tom and I have been going through. That's SUCH great news! Congrats to them!

  4. This news is every bit as good the second time around! I am so thrilled for both of them. And for you, too. (I know how caught up we moms are in these things...)

    The Lord was really looking out for them. It seems like they were meant to go to Massachusetts.


  5. Isn't it amazing how the right thing happens when you don't know it is coming. The Lord really does work in mysterious ways.
    This is such awesome news and I can really feel your relief and your enthusiam for your daughter and SIL. I feel so happy for them and for you - "Holla" a reason for girl trips to the east coast - Oh yeah!!!
    P.S. Your daughter is gorgeous as is her family!

  6. what a great story!! the prayers of a mother are so POWERFUL!!! so happy for them!! congrats!!

  7. Hooray for answered prayers! and getting into a great residency program.

  8. I'm so glad for them, and for their praying mama. What wonderful news. I agree, Boston will be a great place to visit.

  9. Good story, good end, good luck to
    them all.

  10. Wow, Karen...you said it all!! What an ending(what a darling, good looking family!)...good news from bad, lemons to lemonade for a new area, so far away but a good place to visit! It's hard but those Mother prayer have a way of compensating for the trials. I remember when my daughter-in-law (pediatrician) matched and did not get her first choice but got Cleveland Clinic which was very prestigious and gave her a fabulous start and wonderful job! She loves it!
    It's hard to see the struggles of the young but it's so happy to see them persevere and acheive! Congratulations to all and if you want a buddy to help you visit Mass...call me, it's on my bucket list!!

  11. How exciting! My daughter in law just finished her residency in New Mexico. Those 3 years went by so fast! They're closer now. I hope all goes well for everyone!

  12. Soooo happy Karen. What an AWESOME place to visit. Lucky YOU!!!!!!

  13. Honestly, I think if more young people who are going into medicine had any idea of the frustration and the waiting and the stress and the disappointment--ad infinitem--they wouldn't even try for medical school. I am so very very happy for Katie and Zach, but I'm so happy for you too and for the answer to your prayers.

    We have been earnestly praying for Todd too. He has gone through so much and has had a straight A average (almost) all through school and I never in this world thought he would have a problem getting into medical school. I don't know what it is, but anyway, we are still hoping and praying mightily that he will still make it. I hate for him to miss a whole year, but he is determined and if he doesn't make it this year, I am certain he will next. It's just that I wanted so very much to be there when he gets his M.D. because I always wanted to be a doctor myself and had a scholarship to Stanford, but got married a week after my 18th birthday instead and my husband didn't want me to go to university. When I missed my opportunity, I always wanted to have a doctor in my rather large family, but Todd is my only hope and I'll be 84 next year. My chances are looking smaller each day.

    I do hope they will be happy in Boston. I have to tell you that my daughter Nikki and her husband, Perry were there for three years while Perry got his masters in architecture at Harvard. They came to really love it there. But I can tell you for sure that it does get super cold there. I was there for six weeks helping Nikki out when she had her second child and I darned near froze. We went back to see them in the summer though and it was lovely---so very many places to go and good things to eat. We had Boston scrod there and it was delicious, and I don't even like fish!

    Take care, Karen, I know how thrilled you must be.


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