That darn song gets to me every time I hear it…
I’ve worked at my job for 23 years now; it would take less than two weeks to replace me. That’s pretty humbling.
As a lot of us do, I started out in my 20’s ready to become the best nurse ever and with haughty dreams of changing the world. My career was very important and I was ready to learn as much as I could as quickly as possible. In my early 30’s, I felt like I was the best nurse I could be, had ‘seen it all’, was valued and valuable, and was changing the world… or at least my little corner of it. Work was the highest priority.
In my mid- and late 30’s, time spent at the ball park with my son was way more important than work. Throwing a baseball, sweating profusely, the taste of stale hotdogs, and the smell of red dirt ranked much higher than starting IVs and performing endless physical assessments. Playing board games was priceless. Even as a teenager, my son still enjoys having a ‘family game night’ now and then. We have a close relationship, and I thank God for that every day.
As much as I invested in my son, I neglected spending time with extended family. Nieces, nephews, siblings, and parents were ignored by means of physical distance, emotional separation, and perceived lack of time. There were some visits but not often enough. Birthdays were missed, as were graduations, weddings, and many holidays. I grew apart from my family, always declining invitations then feeling sad when they were no longer offered and it seemed I was forgotten. It took a crisis several months ago to make me realize finally the importance of family.
Now in my 40’s, my job is something I do for three 12 hour shifts a week and the occasional meeting or conference. Though I work hard for my patients when I’m there, I don’t look to change the world of nursing and being a nurse no longer defines me. I’d rather define myself as a mom, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and a friend. It’s challenging to make a re-entry into the family I put in last place for so long, and I wonder sometimes if it’s even possible or if it’s too late. I pray that God guides me so that I can continue to give love without coming on too strong (I have a history of doing that!) His way is so much better than ours.