Well, it’s official! I somehow managed to miss not one but TWO calls from the university president to my cell phone this weekend, though as a result I now have the call recorded on voicemail and can listen to it on repeat.  I got the call in front of my husband and kids and did a wild happy dance while I was listening to it, so of course my three-year-old asked for it over and over again that night: “Mama, I want to listen to when you got tenure again.” (My heart, it melts!)

We celebrated at a local Italian bakery.  S had cannolis for the first time at his friend I’s birthday party at daycare this week, and apparently cried when he couldn’t have seconds.  I gave him the choice between ice cream and cannolis, and he chose cannolis, but then once we got there wound up more interested in the fruit cake and chocolate mousse.  What could I say… eat your heart out, kiddo!  Maybe we’ll do this again if I ever get promoted to full professor. 🙂 Here’s the photographic evidence:


Friends, SO MUCH LIFE has happened on the tenure track. In case you’ve missed the tally along the line, here’s the cliffs notes version of what didn’t go into my tenure packet…

Year 1: Adopt a dog! Get married!
Year 2: Start infertility testing. Last grandparent dies. Get pregnant! Buy a house! Baby girl dies in the middle of the second trimester.
Year 3: Lots of infertility/loss testing/treatment. Get pregnant again! 
Year 4: Baby boy S is born!
Year 5: Start trying for #2. Miscarriage. Father dies suddenly. Miscarriage. Mother has major surgery #1. Start recurrent loss testing.
Year 6: Pregnancy #5. Mother has major surgery #2. Baby boy L is born!
Year 7: Somehow… tenure!!!

It’s been quite a ride, and since I’ve been busy thanking everyone who helped me along the way this week, I wanted to make sure to give you all a big, giant THANK YOU.  As I look back down that list, I would definitely not have made it through years 3-6 without this outlet.  I am so grateful to those of you who have been with me, cheering me on, for part or all of this journey.  It’s been a wild ride, but I couldn’t be more grateful to be where I am now, and to have met such amazing people along the way.

20 thoughts on “Tenure

  1. My Perfect Breakdown

    Congratuations!!!!! I am so happy for you!
    Isn’t it amazing sometimes to think all we’ve been through in such a short period of time? I’m so happy this year is a happy year for you!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thank you! It is amazing… when I went back and piled up all the events per year, it was just shocking. (Especially year 5… that was a doozie!) So much pain, but also so much joy, packed into a short period of life. Makes me wonder what the future will hold — I’m pretty sure the near future will not be boring!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Aw, thank you so much! How lovely of you to say so.

      The shirt! It’s from when we hosted the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics a few years ago. I wish we had any extras lying around — I’d totally send you one! But it was long enough ago that they’re long gone, and I’m not willing to part with mine. 🙂 One of our students designed the logo, and I love it.

  2. jwhitworth7

    HOW did I miss this!!!!?!?!!! Congratulations!!! This is such amazing news and I can’t even begin to imagine how you feel. Pride, relief, gratefulness, all of it!! Even though I don’t know you in real life, just from reading your posts and your story I know what a hard and determined woman you are!! This payoff must feel great!!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Aw, thank you! ❤ Reading posts is real life, in a way! It does feel pretty good. Mostly just reassuring… I don't have to look for new jobs, or uproot my family, and we can really start planning long-term again. Phew! And I also have the freedom now to think about what I really want out of my career, my life, and to experiment with teaching and research a bit more. It's a pretty awesome luxury. And it means I get to enjoy this summer of half-time work with my baby guilt-free! I am soaking it up, for sure.

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Aw, thank you! I do love their eyes. 🙂 My mom and my husband both have very blue eyes, so both their eyes are bluer than my eyes (which are of indeterminate hazel-grayish color).

  3. RJ

    Congratulations! This is amazing news and must be a great relief that the process is done! Sending you lots of well wishes and I hope all is well!

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thank you! It is a huge relief, indeed. Now that I have it in writing… no take-backs! They’re stuck with me. 🙂

      I hope that you are doing well (or as well as possible) — I’ve been thinking about you and wishing you all the best.

    1. lyra211 Post author

      Thank you for the congratulations! And HUGE thanks for looking at my materials a couple years back — I very much appreciated your thoughts and advice, and it helped motivate me to apply for the award that’s currently funding my group!


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