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.