Many thanks for the words of encouragement as I make my way through reams and reams of writing, toward the end of the dissertation project. As easy as I’m taking it, keeping my expectations low, limiting the time I spend on the rewrites, etc., it still feels like a massive undertaking, and I’m grateful for all of the support! Sydney, as you might expect, has been wonderful, taking the kids for big chunks of the day, letting me take additional work time whenever I need it, but also keeping me from locking myself away for too long at one time. Last night I was given orders to ignore both work and dishes and go up to play with the kids in Katherine’s room, with the promise that I could resume writing after a good hour of play. At other times I’ve been “forced” to take the kids for a walk, something that never fails to refresh me. I can’t say that I was nearly as chill or helpful during Sydney’s own final dissertation writing, but I am grateful that he is now showing me how it’s done!
I’ve submitted four chapters and am enjoying my time with the fifth and last. I will work on it today and tomorrow, then get print copies of the whole thing sent out to my advisors. I’m enjoying seeing the pages pile up and the pieces come together, particularly when they no longer involve important decisions about substance from me. Then I’m going to forget about it, focus on packing and play, and head out with the kids to my parents’ place, in Iowa, on Tuesday. I’m looking forward to putting the finishing touches on the dissertation (though Sydney reminds me that there may be rewrites after the defense!), packing, saying my goodbyes to Oxford and to Sydney, and going “home.” Somewhere in the middle of my flight with the kids I’ll realize I failed to pack enough diapers or toys, or that none of those things will be enough to prevent a meltdown or two, but after spending weeks gathering new books, toys, and food, I know I’ll have done my best, and the rest is just gritting one’s teeth until my parents can rescue us!
First, however, another hour or so of writing before Sydney and I head out for a date. There are bottles of milk in the fridge, there are diapers on the changing table, and our babysitter arrives at six! I’ve been a bit starved for music, and I’m looking forward to enjoying the orchestra concert with my husband later this evening.