From Sunday to Sunday we celebrated.
It started with my husband’s birthday. He claimed he didn’t want to celebrate – apparently another year over 29 was just not something he wanted to acknowledge. So I said I would just make a cake and we’d have a nice dinner… We ended up with an apartment full of friends that night. But it was a perfect way to kick off the week. We ate cake, had a few drinks, and kicked off our week of celebrating with laughter and memories of the last three years.
I cheated with a box devils food cake in two 9 inch rounds, iced with the Hershey chocolate frosting recipe off their website. It is the MOST chocolatey-chocolate frosting I have ever tasted… 3/4 cup of cocoa powder chocolatey. I thought it was a bit much but my husband loved it. After completely frosting the cake, I took a shot at creative decorating based on some Pinterest inspiration. Before the frosting dried, I surrounded it with Kit Kats in two-piece chunks and covered it with M&Ms, tied with a fun ribbon to keep it all together. It was a huge hit. (And it’s the perfect way to hide a cake tier that breaks coming out of the pan… Not that I’d ever let that happen of course.)
Then on Monday, fresh off not studying all weekend, we took our last final and celebrated with a nice dinner out. I was ready to be done. I didn’t care about the grade anymore. I handed it in, took a sticker that said “I finished law school FOREVER” and bounced out of the school. I was still bouncing when we went to dinner. As in, I freaked the waitress out because I was literally bouncing in the booth. There was also singing and twirling… and martinis. Every once in a while, in the middle of a conversation I would stop and ask, “we’re really done?” My husband would affirm “we’re really done.” It didn’t sink in.
Tuesday’s celebration was all about me. Finally done, I took the first step in getting back to my pre-law school self and literally “lightened up.” I knew I couldn’t go back to the light platinum blonde I was from dark brown all at once, but I was pleasantly surprised how light she could take me in one sitting. It’s definitely blonde. And immediately, I felt like the world was a lighter, happier place.
Wednesday we celebrated with a reception and a banquet at school. On Thursday we celebrated with the entire class on a boat cruise with an open bar.
Then on Friday night, the main event. Hung over and/or exhausted from finals and two nights drinking on the school’s dime, it seemed from the Facebook posts that we all did the same thing for most of the day – cleaned in anticipation of our family’s arrival. And then we put on our big heavy gowns, lined in velvet, and marched out into the square in 95 degree heat to make it official. AND I DIDN’T TRIP WALKING ACROSS THE STAGE. You’d think I’d be over that fear, three graduation ceremonies into my education. But no. That was, in fact, still my biggest concern.
We followed the ceremony with a late meal at one of my favorite restaurants with both of our families and close family friends (which is always a source of anxiety for me, because the inlaws have almost nothing in common). But for once, everything went smoothly and everyone was in good moods. It finally started sinking in… we were done.
Saturday was our final culmination of the weeklong celebration. We spent the day with family friends who are more family than friends… the girls shopped, the boys golfed. And then we all came back to their house, and got to celebrate the engagement of their oldest son and his girlfriend of six years who we’ve all come to love. We grilled out, we drank way too much wine, and we finally got to relax. No more mingling in uncomfortable shoes, making painful small talk. Just laughter pouring through the house.
Yesterday, we met my parents for lunch, returned my sister to them, and then we came home and napped. Without an alarm set. Without guilt. It was, perhaps, a celebration in itself.
We finally have our lives back.