Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What Do I Know?

Kelly Nieuwejaar 

For the past three and a half years my husband, Khoren, attended a local community college, ultimately earning a degree in computer technology. Or was it information technology? Either way, you get the idea. Just last week he was hired in his field at a great company. At last, the decision to go to school and all of his hard work had paid off. The path to get to this point was a little bumpy in the beginning.

It might be helpful to share some insight into our relationship. As background, Khoren and I went to high school together; we even dated for a year before I left for college. He was two years behind me. Not surprisingly, we lasted until October of my freshman year.

After earning his high school diploma, my husband took a different path than I. He decided to travel the country and head overseas to check out what Europe had to offer. During that time, he took in a lot of concerts and made it to some baseball stadiums here and there. When we first started dating again … 18 years later … he had been working for a company for nine years installing and programming high-end audio systems for private residences. The economy went south and so did his job. He moved to Maine with me and looked for something new — a process that proved bleak.

My husband is one smart guy. I couldn’t stand seeing him take a job that wouldn’t challenge him and I don’t think he could either. We agreed he should go back to school, and we knew we were fortunate to have that option. That decision wasn’t easy, though. For me. I felt slightly miffed. Why didn’t he do things my way – the right way? Then, we’d have two incomes and we’d be on easy street.

But here’s the thing. If he had done things my way he would’ve gone directly to college and then to work, to be diagnosed with MS just a few years into his career. That precious carefree time he spent exploring the world independently and on his own terms would’ve been lost. Turns out that by not being stuck to a traditional set of rules, he gave himself a gift. 

He really doesn’t make it easy for me to be right all the time. (He’ll laugh when he reads that line, because I’m pretty much never really right). And that’s exactly what I love about him. 

Kelly Nieuwejaar lives in southern Maine with her husband, Khoren.


  1. I was glad to know that your husband was able to enjoy an MS free lifestyle for a while. As an IT Manager, I was able to work from home earlier in my career and was able to enjoy hanging out and raising my kids as I had more time to be with them. I was also able to travel the country for work and enjoyed it very much. Now I work in an office at a slower pace.

    Although I now have MS, I still try to activly enjoy travel. Last year we went to Italy & Spain. Next month we travel to Aruba (Lord help me with the heat) and in January I plan to take my beautiful wife to see our great President get sworn in to a 2nd term in DC !!

    I just hope that I can hold up thru this but I'm definately gonna give it a try !

  2. Things happen for a reason...at age 52. 6 years ago, I was diagnosed. Looking back I'm glad to have done some crazy things, but I'm glad I was mobile enough to walk my son down the aisle (4 years ago) and am thrilled to be a grandma, maybe not so 'hands on' but able to hold her. I hope my kids remember how I used to 'be' and your family remembers how you lived your life before MS.

  3. I was diagnosed my first semester in grad school. I didn't really know what to expect, and I was very worried. What was nice is the EVERY professor (Rutgers) accommodated my changing needs without compromising what I needed to learn. 16 years later I'm glad I was able to finish, and I agree to take whatever opportunities arise - especially with the question about what may come.