These days. (More of the same.)

Friday, August 28, 2015

This summer has gone by in a flash. A flurry of activity. Our lives have changed and forward progress has been made. A new normal is beginning to set in; a way of life that feels brand new and yet simultaneously familiar, like maybe this is where we were meant to end up all along.

We are a two income household and parents of a high school sophomore (w.t.f.). We are on the fast track to bigger and brighter, though right now feels awfully successful, too. Working in the trenches of healthcare has renewed my fervor to finish school. As a result, I have made the commitment to apply to grad school this coming April. Should I get in on the first cycle, our family will have to make some adjustments. But if history has taught us anything, it's that this clan can make things work. In the meantime, I have to focus on writing a stellar essay, taking the GREs (eep) and fulfilling all those little requirements that can sneak up and bog you down once that pesky application deadline approaches.

I'm going to have to be disciplined in the coming months, a quality that doesn't come naturally to me. As a family, we are making great strides: a chart dividing up the weekly household chores; a new tear-away calendar on the fridge, color-coded to list all of our various activities...even a plant watering schedule. I am more on top of things than I can ever remember, which makes me feel optimistic about things like establishing a weekly GRE study session, long-term meal planning, and, well, making it all work. Have you ever noticed that having less free time makes you more productive? It's a phenomenon I am currently experiencing.

I wax poetic about balance a lot on this site. How everyone talks about it but few truly achieve it. Heading into this new adventure, I had visions of days off spent writing and reading and exploring...preserving the time needed to do the things that fill my bucket. I'm not there yet. (Not even close.) But I'm also not too terribly sad about it. That new blog? It can wait for me instead of the other way around. And this space? It's always here for me when I'm ready to sit down and share my thoughts. (Though I aspire to spend more time 'round these parts.) Right this very moment I'm perched at our neighborhood Starbucks, across the workbench from Kiddo, who is attempting to tackle those last 130 pages of Angela's Ashes, his AP English summer literature assignment.

I steal moments where I can take them and that's just fine. Now is the time to give myself a break, a chance to ease into the changes that are taking place. I'm finally learning how to get off my own back already. My schedule hasn't stabilized, so my days off are inconsistent: one day here, two there, and plenty of weekends spent on the job. Mario's company has a clause that requires spouses to switch to their own insurance if it is offered by their employer. Which has meant devoting nearly every day off this month to health-related appointments before the September 1st switchover. The perk is that I can get contacts and glasses in one year, but the siren's call of the couch + Netflix must regularly be resisted. I'm busy, but good busy; busy in a way that my time feels well spent.

The boys have settled back into life at home after eight weeks away, and I've (re)acclimated to living with my messier counterparts. I've been making up for lost time by way of mother-son days spent eating Portland's cuisine, plant shopping, and painting pottery. (Also: his first pair of glasses, freshly shorn hair, new t-shirts, and scuff-free Chucks.) Yesterday we picked up his school schedule (I got a spot in Graphic Design!) and shopped for shiny new pens and crisp college-lined notebooks. We slurped ramen noodles and he painted a hedgehog with the utmost attention to detail. I made sure we dated the bottom of our creations in an effort to preserve the really beautiful moments we share. I never want to take them for granted. I'm still cool enough to spend an entire day about town with him, and I'm not letting a second of that go unnoticed because I was scrolling through Instagram when I should have been asking him about his life, loves and dreams for the future. I want to be able to look back on these days with some clarity, because boy is parenthood fleeting.

If being "well-rounded" is synonymous with a healthy individual, Kiddo is, well, rounding. Months of chores on the ranch, driving lessons in the wheat field, and boat rides on the lake have smoothed his edges. (Lessons learned during a bumpy freshman year probably had something to do with it as well.) What came home was a more focused, less fastidious version of the boy I know and love so well. His blossoming maturity, combined with a newly working mom, will force him to take on more responsibility when it comes to his schooling. I've been holding my breath for years, waiting for the day when my apprehension about his lack of focus would subside. When he'd find that fire in his belly that drives him to succeed without constant cajoling. I think we're getting there. (Boys, I tell you.)

On the work front, all is well. Better than good, actually. My preceptor was on vacation the last couple weeks, which put me squarely in the trenches...solo. After ten years spent out of the workforce, I knew I'd have to shake off some cobwebs. But my inner perfectionist rears her head once in a while and, after being unable to hit a vein two patients in a row, I began to wonder if I'd lost my touch. (Maybe I'd never had it?!) I had a brief but acute existential crisis before putting on my big girl scrubs and going back the next day. Of course I quickly found my groove, and all my worries were cast aside. Earlier this week I got a totally unexpected fist bump and "Great job today!" from a trauma surgeon I'd only just met and thought Hey, I've got this. I've only been at this position for six weeks, but I've acclimated quite beautifully...I certainly found my calling in medicine all those years ago. Thank goodness I didn't let go of the dream.

Goals for September:

Establish schedules for school days, studying, etc.
Get organized. (Master those paper piles!)
Exercise. (More.)
Meal plan like a boss.
Write about something. Anything. Just write.
Find and preserve regular alone time.
Keep up on my reading goals.
Date that sexy bearded fellow of mine. (And make it a regular thing.)


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