As I embark upon my last semester of nursing school, which is sure to be a whirlwind 10 weeks, I find myself especially retrospective. I don't want to forget the lessons I've learned on this journey--from beginning to end. More importantly, I want to pass these lessons on to my three daughters. So I've decided to do my best to document my thoughts and feelings in letters to my girls this summer.
When we started this journey as a family you were 8, 5 and 3. Now as we get ready to end it you are 10, 7 and 5. You have grown up and changed so much in these two years. You are old enough to remember mom being in nursing school and what it was like for our family. You will remember that mom wasn't home some nights and she had to study a lot. Every day you asked "is it a mama day?" wondering who would be taking you to school, picking you up and putting you to bed at night. My favorite days are always mama days.
And soon, there will be no more studying, no more nursing school. We will find a new normal as (prayerfully and quickly) mama finds a nursing job.
But this was not just a season to get through. It was a time of stretching and growth. Learning and sometimes floundering. So as I begin this series of letters, here are some things I hope you see through me that you will one day be able to apply to your own lives.
1. You can do it. Whatever it is, however hard you think it will be...if you want it bad enough, if it is the right thing, if God's blessing is on it, you can do it.
2. Don't be afraid to make changes, even when it seems against the norm. Yes I spent 10 fulfilling years in a career, but that didn't make it the right one for the rest of my life. Yes I have two degrees and the student loans to go along with them that I was applying. But I was ready, we were ready and God was calling for a change to be made. And we are doing it.
3. You CAN be a full time mom and a full time student or employee. Having a job or being in school does not make you a part time mom. You are always a full-time mom. If you are able to focus on your home and children alone, realize what an incredible blessing and privilege that is. But if you want to work, have to work---that's okay too. You will cherish your times with your children all the more. [Well, some of the time. They will still drive you crazy and exhaust you, but you will still love it.]
4. You need a home team. No matter what stage of adulthood you are in, you need a home team. Maybe it's your dorm floor, or your roommates or long-time friends along with your family. You can't do it alone and you need people. We couldn't have made it without the friends and family who have stepped up to help in various ways along our journey.
5. Just because it's right, doesn't make it easy. Going to nursing school was the right thing for me, for our family. But it's been challenging and downright hard at times. You will wonder if you are doing the right thing because it seems so hard. As I wrote a little more than a year ago "August 2014 will be here before I know it". And now, graduation is 73 days away. It wasn't always easy, but it was right.
These are just a few things, dear daughters, I hope you see through me and this experience.
More to come, Love Your Mama