Thursday, September 15, 2011

Becoming...


Hey Peeps—

It’s 4:30 am, and I am not afraid to tell you that I am NOT a morning person.  Normally I’d be in bed at least another two hours, enjoying my 400 thread count sheets, while the bathroom fan drowns out the sounds of laughter and gaiety coming from the kitchen, as Billy feeds our children breakfast.  My job in the morning is to come down after they’ve all cleared out, and pick up the pieces.  Usually it’s coffee beans all over the counter, and large pop tart chunks under the table.  Don’t judge me.  It works for us.

Today I woke up early because my stupid body clock is all screwed up.  Tuesday and Wednesday are my days to go to my clinical setting for Nursing school.  I leave very early in the mornings, before the sun barely comes up.  (who knew it was from the east?)  And now on Thursday morning, at this quiet lonely hour, my body thinks it’s time to go again.  I’m so happy for the five day break from my clinical that I’m not even mad about being up so early.  I’m considering going downstairs, working out, then having breakfast with my family, but I’m concerned it might put them all into a state of shock.  I better not. 

The last two days have once again challenged me to believe I can and that I even want to do something with my life other than being a wife and mom.  The thing is, I’m not discontent in those roles.  I love my identity as “Jack’s mom” and “Billy’s wife” more than anything.  This nursing school gig hasn’t been because I’m unhappy with my life, but because I know there’s more I can do with my life.  Besides, all three of my kids are in school, how else should I spend my day?  As much as I’d like to sit around watching “mama’s stories” and sipping sweet tea, I know after about 45 minutes of that, I’d have an incredible urge to work-- thanks a whole lot to my parents who thought it would be smart to instill in me a stupid work ethic. 

For the first two weeks of my clinical experience I worked with patients who were not overly ill, slightly confused, and seemed somewhat pleased to have my full and complete attention for an eight hour shift.  This week my experience was quite different.  I went in on Tuesday morning, ready to meet my new patient with all the charm and perkiness I could muster up at 7:30 am, and walked in to take some vital signs.  After my cheerful hello, I attempted small talk, which I will admit, is not my strong suit.  He replied with his hand thrust upwards in a stopping motion  “Please, STOP talking.  I’m not a morning person”.    I told him I wasn’t either, and I’d be as quick as possible.

Over the course of the two days with him I had to grow some thick skin.  This patient had me running up and down the hall with questions for his “real” nurse, and he had me flustered as I fumbled around trying to appear to know what I was doing, when it was obvious I didn’t.  I told him I appreciated his patience with me as I was learning, and tried to give myself little pep talks in my head so I wouldn’t burst out into tears.   I also avoided letting my friend, and co-student Shahara see me flustered, because she has no space bubble and likes to give full body hugs. 

 Later in the day my lead instructor from school showed up, saw me rattled and red faced, and wasted no time getting right up in my grill for some tough love.  Oprah would’ve totally loved it.  There we were, two women, one with a lifetime of experience, one shaking like a leaf, talking over what it means to “become”.  How it’s okay to adapt, and add to my identity, and that even though I’m competent as a wife and mother, that I can also learn to be competent as a nurse.  It all just takes time, and how it’s normal that it doesn’t feel smooth and easy and in the end, it’s okay that my patient doesn’t think I hung the moon. 

When I got home to my sweet family, doing homework, playing video games, and “writing code” or whatever Billy does for a living, I felt steadfast and competent once again.   I understand how to be a mom, and how to be a wife, even if I mess that up about fifty times a day.  I understand how to run a house, even as my dryer is on it’s last leg, and my dishwasher leaks if you don’t close the door all the way.  And today I understand that I have a God-given desire, deep in my heart, to continue growing and becoming and that it’s okay to not be perfect every step of the way.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

One day at a time...


Hey Peeps—

You might be interested to know that I’ve sent my family off to the movies for a couple hours of quiet, focused study time.  I do find that being home alone still has its distractions, however.  The large bag of chocolate in the armoire repeatedly calls my name, as well as the immediate and sudden urge to go and pluck my eyebrows. 

Don’t be nervous though, I made my way outside to sit in the sun with my huge Med/Surg book in hand, and managed to study uninterrupted for a full hour.  Have I mentioned I’m in my second semester of Nursing School?  Well, don’t be impressed.  I’ve considered quitting about 48 times in the last two weeks.  It’s not that I don’t want to be a nurse, it’s just that it’s like, totally hard to BECOME a nurse.  And run a household, and have three kids who have homework and extracurricular activities. 

I’ve tried to really downplay the fun of sports and things like cub scouts, but the darn kids at school make everything sound so fun and exciting.  So far the only commitment we’ve made is for Faith to play soccer and Jack to do a Parkour class once a week.  I’m sure you know what soccer is (“futbol” to my European readers), but you may be confused as to what Parkour is.  I wish I could tell you.  As far as I know, some French dude invented it.  You go to some class where you learn to run up the outsides of buildings and then you jump  on to dumpsters, without breaking your neck.  It sounds dangerous to me, so I don’t attend the classes with Jack.  Billy takes him and texts me periodically to assure me the boy isn’t coming home with a cast on any of his extremities. 

Speaking of injuries and my boys, they visited the clinic three times in three days last week.  It was their second week of school, so at least they waited a few days before going in and using up all the tylenol and brand new boxes of bandaids.  Will hurt his neck on Monday from a fall off the bars—thankfully it wasn’t serious.  Tuesday Jack had a fever and had to come home early.  And Wednesday, Will had a traumatic finger injury in which a rock was involved.  Again, nothing serious.  As I sat at my clinical site, learning how to be a nurse, while getting all the texts about the boy’s illnesses/injuries, I wondered if I was the only one seeing the irony???  I was quite annoyed. 

The good news is Billy is totally on top of things around here.  He’s the only reason this nursing school thing is happening for me, and I will forever be grateful to him.  He didn’t sense my spirit of gratitude last Sunday however, when I yelled at him for buying me a Sunday paper.   I informed him, while yelling at him, that I realized I was being quite irrational, but I mean, come on, like I have two hours to sit and read the paper?  I was feeling the pressure of my first test, my first week of clinicals, and because you and I have developed a circle of trust, I feel I need to share that my hormones may have played a bit part in there as well.  

As you can surmise, we are trucking along fairly well, despite a few ups and downs.  The kids are back on a schedule, and we are taking the business of life one day at a time.  Sometimes I want to fast-forward a year, to the part where nursing school is over and I made it through without giving my family hypertension from eating fast food or psychologically scarring them from using every spare minute to study.   But then I’d miss a whole year of my kids’ growth—their 6th, 3rd, and 1st grades, and all the amazing ways they are changing and becoming the person God wants them to be.  So I guess we’ll just keep moving forward to the best of our ability, laughing when we can, and working hard when we must.  And every day reminding ourselves to never quit trying!