For a long time Cody and I played three little pigs with our lives. Only the third little pig was the the moosh and she just kind of came along for the ride given her building abilities are still a little underdeveloped and one can’t really build a house from cheese and unicorns.

For the longest time Cody and I were building a little figurative house together. It wasn’t anything great but it was ours.

Then law school came.

Looking back over the last three years it is a miracle that Cody and I came out the other side of law school still married.

For the naivety I had while in the thick of law school I am grateful.

Cody and I continued building our lives only instead of working on the same house, we were simply building houses next door to each other. Same street, different addresses. Cody kept building his higher and stronger out of really expensive law school bricks while mine came more slowly. I had to make each brick by hand and hope it would stay together.

At several points my bricks crumbled. I was left with nothing but a pile of rubble and the shadow of Cody’s towering mansion. I knew I couldn’t stop him from building his to help me, after all, that mansion he was building was going to be my future too.

So instead of asking him for help and relying on him I eventually pushed my pile of rubble back up into a mud hut. I just didn’t have the energy to build my house brick by brick over and over. Eventually I gave up and pitched a tent. Waiting for Cody to finish his mansion so I could move in.

His mansion is done.

Everything one would want if they could build a life with someone else.

But the truth is? The mansion is empty. It’s his accomplishment. I wasn’t really around for any of it. I just get to move in to this perfect life he’s created for us while I was off to the side struggling to hold myself together for the last three years. We both take blame for the distance between us.

I never asked, he never offered.

This past week has brought out the wrecking balls. We’ve destroyed the mansion together.

We’re back to a pile of rubble.

And it’s the best pile of rubble I’ve ever seen. From it we’re going to start building OUR life, brick by brick.


The way it should have been from the beginning.


  1. I think this is a great analogy for what can happen during any marriage when one partner is off–mentally or physically–for long hours at an out-of-home job, and the other partner is “just” at home with the child/ren. I think there’s definitely more intense sacrifice on the part of the stay-at-home parent during the intense schooling of the other parent, though. And you guys will make it through if you keep communicating and remember that the dreams and ambition and time spent are all FOR the group, not for one individual.

  2. I must say it: YOU.ARE.AWESOME. Literally, awe-inspiring. Love you.

  3. Incidently, who is in charge of picking out the paint colors at your new mansion? Yeeeaaah, I pick you. No offense Cody but you’re a boy and therefore colorblind.

  4. First, the selfish comment: Oh, have I missed you!
    Being a fellow law school widow, I have a good idea of what you’ve experienced. Being such a classy lady, you have handled everything with such grace. This is a dawn of a new era for the Moosh Family. Lots of hugs and prayers to you as you adjust to this “new normal” and focus on the future. I am proud of you making this break-through. It will mean all the difference for you, your marriage, and your family.

  5. Yup. I get it. My DH is military- so I feel like I have my home where he visits, his deployment home where he leaves to and that turns my home into my vacation from DH home and – well.

    3 kids later I’m still not sure if I know where i stand some days.

  6. I hope in some small way the support of commentors here help your building endeavours. Sending positive energy to you both.

  7. Casey-

    In a lot of ways, you just wrote the story of my husband and I. Replace law school with medical school and it’s us. Except we haven’t torn our individual houses down and we may not for a while.

    Thank you for giving me the words to explain it and hope that we can do it someday soon too.

    Good luck, and congratulations on the house.


  8. Oh how I wish I knew you IRL! I just know we’d get along so well! Thank you for your honesty, always… It’s why I love you! I’m praying for you guys! The road will most likely be long and hard… But oh so worth it in the end!

  9. This is precisely why I keep telling Daren I’m terrified that me starting school next year will mess up our dynamic.
    You’ll find your ways and make them one way. 🙂

  10. You’re magical. You can do this. When you have the steps of how, I need a summary with possible numbered points to let me know. My little shack is a few days away from completely falling apart or possibly digging a mote around it. I don’t know.

  11. What an appropriate analogy. I hope many good things are ahead for you. 🙂

  12. The Ache of Marriage
    by Denise Levertov

    The ache of marriage:

    thigh and tongue, beloved,
    are heavy with it,
    it throbs in the teeth

    We look for communion
    and are turned away, beloved,
    each and each

    It is leviathan and we
    in its belly
    looking for joy, some joy
    not to be known outside it

    two by two in the ark of
    the ache of it.

  13. Tears… I am so glad for you.. Haz a fun tyme in Utard.

  14. Why is raising a child worthy of only a mud hut? What could possibly be more important than that? My husband is a CEO and yet I think of my job of mother as infinitely more crucial to this world. Two words for you: paradigm shift.

  15. Youre words are so poetic. i cant help but cry. I helped put my husband through school as well.. raised his child while he earned the degree… helped him study if he asked…I am truely proud that you are destroying the mansion… because we didnt.. and since its “his mansion..” im left in my tent… and now we live next to each other … and now we just share a yard that the children play in. its very lonely… I wish i had the courage you have to break down the barrier between you two… but its been too many years…congratulations.

  16. Im so glad to read this. I can identify, my husband’s mansion is nearing completion, meanwhile I’m on a second medication, surviving as best I can. I hope I can find joy in the pile of rubble too.

  17. Your blogging dynasty hardly seems like a little mud hut!

  18. Don’t kid yourself, surviving those years of being a Law School Widow is a HUGE part of the building process together.

    My husband worked 40 hrs a week during his 4 yrs of law school and halfway through it all we had our first baby. Still not sure how we survived. Getting back to a “normal” life over the past year has been wonderful. We’re no better off financially (hello, $60K of loans to pay back) but just his presence has made our house a HOME again. Cardboard box or mansion, I’ll take this life over law school, any day.

    Best wishes to you & your family. You all made it through as a family, and you deserve a happy ending!

  19. calamityshana says:

    The greater the distance between us and my husband’s 14 month unemployment the more I see that is also miraculous that we are still married. Every day I am grateful we made it through such a terrible time, and so early in our marriage, in the first year! Cling to him, Casey. Cling to him like that shower curtain.

  20. I am always stunned by your entries. So real that they take the words right out of my mouth. My husband is a law school graduate…he has been working for a year now. I do not feel that law school broke us, but I feel like now he is building his mansion and I am hanging out in the backyard in the tent.

    How did you break the barrier?

  21. I think you underestimate what you have built for yourself and your daughter while your husband was in law school. But I know it was difficult to get through and I’m happy to hear that you are both on the other side now.

  22. First, I admire you as a writer and a parent. I had to stop reading your blog about 18 m to 2 years ago because I couldn’t bear the way you were treated because of law school. This post of yours was shared in my google reader.

    I began law school (top 30 school) in 2003 and graduated in 2007 having had a child in the middle and I still was an active participant in my family life and responsibilities during school. Law school doesn’t have to be this widowhood I keep seeing repeated in the comments. My husband loved law school years because we talked about the class work every night at dinner. And we ate dinner together every night. Even during finals. Even during bar prep.

    I don’t know if your husband is going to a firm, but if he is, the same forces that separated you two during school will be at play. And he won’t be building his mansion, he’ll be building a partner’s mansion.

    Did I miss out on some things I really really wanted during law school? Like law review or a summer at the IRS? Yes, I did. But after graduating I got a prestigious clerkship nonetheless and wrote a published tax opinion. Now I’m an AAG and am still home for dinner every night though, if I chose to, I could work nights and weekends.

    For a good family life, gov’t lawyering is where it’s at. What you sacrifice in income, you make up in family harmony.

  23. Your lovely post sparked an a-ha! moment for me. Thank you for that, and best of luck with your renovation. 🙂

  24. Great metaphor of a post. Looking back, is there anything you think you could have done differently to have avoided feeling like this?

  25. Oh, I love this. I love this so much.

    I am so happy for you and the home you are building together!

    We all have something to learn from this story. Thank you for your vulnerability.

  26. Best Wishes with the new building.

  27. I know this two house next door to each other business.

    I know this wrecking ball.

    I know this pile or rubble.

    I haven’t got a clue what comes next.

    But I know, too, this strange hope that comes from staring at the rubble.

  28. Beautiful, hon. I hope you and Cody find a nice, comfy home. Mansions are overrated.

  29. seriously love it, i am bawling right now, thank you for e-mailing me this

  30. No one can express the complexities of marriage, hurt, depression, motherhood and more like you Casey. Your words are as beautiful as you are.

    God bless you and your new life! 🙂

  31. Casey, you are amazing the way you can put your feelings into words.

    My husband finished law school and passed the bar this year, too. We looked at each other recently and realized that we had been living very different lives over the past 3 years. While he was learning the law, I was learning how to live very independently from him. There was definitely a point where we could’ve gone our separate ways. There just wasn’t much holding us together. But we fell in love with one another all over again. We are now laying a new foundation for our life, our marriage, our future. We are starting over, 4 years after we first said “I do.” I’m glad I’m not the only one who has hurt the way I’ve hurt – or hopes the way I now hope.

    I hope we can look back on this time as a turning point, for both of us. Thinking of you, sweet friend.


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