It’s all over. The last day of school, the final exam, the ending day of clinical. It’s been tiring and the days have been long. And I am so worn out. But I want to remember. There is still much to do, lots of studying ahead. Graduation’s next week. State Boards loom and a future of work remains. There are other things ahead, too. Good things. New memories to be made. More time to just enjoy. We’re ready.
One of the harder parts of nursing school was the feeling of not measuring up in my own mind, of being a mediocre mom, a mediocre wife, daughter, sister and friend. I want that feeling to end, too. I felt like I was doing just the (almost) adequate amount and not excelling at home, like my school work overwhelmed life at times. Like the bare minimum and I are old friends. We go way back. I wish I had written more letters, called my friends more often, checked in with my sisters-in-law, spent time with my nieces and nephews, had the kids’ friends over more often. I wish I had baked more meals and kept a more organized house. I wish I had taken more time for others and had more company over. I failed at that. I let myself get spread too thin, becoming a jack-of-all-trades and master-of-none, hitting the bar way under expectation. Like I couldn’t do enough and was just managing, trying to keep it all together. I relied so much on Paul for so many things, and he just stepped right up, exceeding what needed to be done, doing without even being asked. Without fail. Putting up with a dirty house, a table that was devoid of food but full of textbooks and sterile caps, medical tape, saline syringes, all the flotsam and jetsam of a nursing student in a clinical rotation. He put up with staying home late two mornings a week to get the kids on the bus, so that I could leave the house by 5:30 to get to the hospital. He endured a distracted wife and complaints of too much study. He made supper more than I did– and not just quick, thrown-together stuff like I was putting on the table with lackluster effort. He made Chicken Piccata and Lasagna Bolognese. Broiled Haddock and PW’s Cinnamon Rolls. The best Chicken Spezzatino I’ve ever had. He made desserts and breads and special milkshakes for the kids. He became a top-notch cook out of necessity. And he smiled while doing it. I know he may not want me to say this, but I write to remember. I’m embarrassed to admit this part, kind of chagrined to say just how much I relied on his help. Two nights each week before the next day’s clinical rotation, I would be writing out nursing care plans in the office, looking up medication calculations and prepping for the next day with increasing anxiety. I would come downstairs way too late into the evening, ready to gather my stuff and put it by the door for the next morning. My brows were furrowed, my mouth quiet in distracted determination and overwhelmed worry. And every time, without fail, I’d round the corner into the living room and see my scrubs freshly ironed, laying over the living room chair. It always surprised me, even in its consistency. Forget flowers, I’ve never felt so loved as I did when I would see those ugly green scrubs he ironed every week. That’s just one small example of dozens, the small things he did to keep me going, to show he cared, that he was behind me completely. He has been. 100%. Even when I was tired and grouchy and laid way too much on his shoulders. Especially when I didn’t deserve it. There is no question that I could not have done this without him. And I love him for that. I wish I had done more, could have done it all. I wish I had made more time. I found these pictures today that made me wonder. That made me hope we tried enough. I hope we did the best we could with what we had. I hope they remember the good parts. It wasn’t ideal, going through 4 years of college while married with three children, hitting bumps and delays along our path. Not what we had planned almost 14 years ago when we got married. A lot of what we planned is different today than it was then. Things have happened that we wouldn’t have chosen; and there have been even more things that we couldn’t have imagined we would be so blessed to experience. It feels like it’s time to remember. That even in the stress and the lack of available time, we had these little snippets of opportunity where we just lived life. Even in the busyness and inadequacies, I hope that someday when our children look back, they remember the highlights, the good parts. I hope they will we know how hard we tried.