With little fanfare, Steve finished his Ph.D this term. We haven't really celebrated in any big way and we haven't discussed the excitement it adds to our lives to have an actual, real doctor of Philosophy in the house.
But the deed is done. The degree in which we have invested our marriage together is now complete.
Steve is in the process for searching for a job in between working on two books and regularly sharing his research and thinking online but in the end, it turns out that it has been about much more than that.
So here, in celebration of Dr. Steve and all that we have obtained through this process, is a list of things that we have learned while seeking the light at the end of the tunnel:
- The dad knows his children. Not like "what is your favorite color" but things like shoe size (this is a big deal, ask the dad what the kid's shoe size is, very little known fact). He knows books they have read, their preference in movies, and what they will and will not eat. These are the things that moms usually know. Because of his flexible schedule and my work, we have been able to create an at-home dad environment to the point that our youngest child thinks that normally dad's stay home and clean the house and mom's go off to work. Nature v. Nurture mystery solved.
- We live with family. What started out as a temporary solution to "where in the world is less expensive than Santa Barbara" turned into a convivienda with the kids' grandparents. We don't need to live here, we don't have an economic reason to live with Steve's parents, yet we find the experience to be tremendously rewarding. More Americans should live with family, it just feels connected in a way that most people don't ever get to understand. How many people get to take a spur of the moment trip to Yellowstone with their grandma because you happened to be upstairs when you mentioned you were going in two days?
- Steve is smart. Not in the "hey smarty pants" kind of way but in the "I know LOTS of stuff about stuff". I have seen this graphic several times and whenever I encounter it, I chuckle. I think it kind of feels true for a lot of people. But the thing is, Steve also knows things like what is going on the world of politics, sports, entertainment, and Disney Corporation history. The man is a walking encyclopedia--so it only makes sense that he would have a Ph.D
- My lovely, lovely job. Without Steve's program I would never have taken this on and never would have found the magic of a professional calling. I have a team that I work with and love, dozens of other people that tremendously important to me and to my world, and I had no idea that I would love it so much. I love working in schools and the satisfaction of knowing that what I do can make a difference.
So what is next for the Fleming family? Our lifestyle seems to be holding strong. We are waiting for various options for Steve as he continues to author his way through and I work doing what I love most to try to change the world. If anything changes, we will let you know.