Dr. Burg graduated last Saturday. He was officially made Dr. on August 31st so I thought the graduation ceremony would be a bit anti-climatic. I mean, I had already thrown a surprise graduation party. You can't get much better than that! I figured we had done our celebrating.
But the day was perfect. It was 77 degrees with a slight breeze in the City with the White House. The graduation ceremony was outside on the steps of the Basilica. We arrived in just enough time to pick up his doctoral robe - the big billowy kind with three velvet stripes on each arm. His hat was velvet with six sides rather than four. As I watched him put on the robe, I knew we needed this day. We needed to celebrate once again.
Originally Dr. Burg's parents were supposed to join us but his dad had a mandatory heart cath just days before the ceremony (he's fine) so I was the only one there to witness the occasion. The graduates processed with the doctoral students at the end, right before the faculty in their elegant multi-colored doctoral robes. I stationed myself along the walkway and took picture after picture, feeling a bit like the paparazzi.
After all the bachelors and masters students were recognized (by asking each department to stand), the doctoral students were invited to join the faculty on the stairs of the basilica. I, wanting to get a good picture, marched myself to the front of the gathering and stood ready to capture Dr. Burgs moment in the sun. When the called his name, I pumped my fist in a very lady-like way and snapped a picture. Funny enough, Dr. Burg was standing only feet from the Archbishop of DC.
After the school's graduation and the department's graduation, we spent time taking pictures of ourselves. I didn't want him to take off the robe until it was well documented. As we tried to get the perfect self-portrait, random people would walk by and offer to take our picture. Others walked by and said, "congratulations."
It was a perfect day. I was so proud. I cried a bit and at moments thought they should hand me a diploma as well - not only because I paid for it but because I too had endured its pain. I firmly believe a PhD is primarily about endurance. I will never earn my own because I do not have the determination. I do not have the will-power. I have watched my Dr. Burg do it and that is more than enough for me.