Friday, July 26, 2013


My family recently returned after being gone for 10 days.  Hubster, Bug, Monkey, and Duck when cross country to visit Hubster's family. 10 days is much longer than any other time I have been away from any of them.

I had the whole house to myself. And it was completely bizarre. The house would be clean when I went to work, and would still be clean when I returned. I cooked what ever I wanted for dinner, adding exotic ingredients like peas, mushrooms, and alfalfa sprouts. And nobody complained or whined or threw a fit over having to eat such things. I went to bed as soon as I got tired. Granted, that was 6:30 in the evening one day, but no one objected. I slept through the night each night. No one woke me up or crawled in bed with me or tried to sleep on my head. When I studied or watched a TV show, no one interrupted or yelled or changed the channel on me. No one left the lights on or the door open or syrup all over the kitchen table.

And do you know what?

I absolutely hated it.

Hats off to you single people.  I have no idea how you do it.  And I mean that completely sincerely.

I like to think of myself as a responsible, reliable person.  Hubster was giving me a list of things I needed to do while he was gone.

Hubster: You'll have to take the garbage out on Monday evenings.
Me: Okay, I can do that.
Hubster: And the recycling. But remember, you'll have to sort it first.
Me: Okay...
Hubster: And check the mail every day.
Me: Sure. I can remember that.
Hubster: And you'll have to actually look at the mail. And if there are bills, you need to see when they are due. If they are due when I'm gone, you'll need to pay them.
Me: Oh...
Hubster: And don't forget to feed the fish. Everyday.
Me: This list is getting very long.
Hubster: And please don't run out of gas.

The man speaks from experience.

It turns out, I'm actually completely helpless. This checking the mail and paying bills and putting gas in my car: these were things that apparently weren't happening all on their own.

What it really amounts to is that Hubster takes excellent care of me and has covered so many things so that I can focus on work and the boys and overly involved monthly meal plans. He's covered the loose ends so frequently and so well that I almost take it for granted now.

My boys returned home a couple of days ago.

Things are back to how they were.  The house is messy. There are crumbs and sticky messes and Legos everywhere. I'm tired from being woken up because someone had a bad dream or needs a drink or just can't sleep. Evenings are stressful trying to get everyone fed and in pajamas and in bed at a reasonable time.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Over and Out

Residency graduation happened a little while ago.

Granted, I'm not actually done with residency. I still am making up each day I missed for maternity leave. But, as I tell Duck on a near daily basis, it was still a good idea.

Graduation for residency is much less than other graduations. There are no gowns and caps. There is no "Pomp and Circumstance" playing. It's a quiet lunch where small certificates are handed out. A certificate that is apparently supposed to represent all the sacrifices and heart ache and sleep deprivation and hard work and moments when you lost your faith in humanity, in God, and yourself, and the moments when that faith was restored.

For four years, I looked forward to the day when I would receive that small piece of paper.  I eagerly counted down the days, thinking of how grand and glorious life would be on the other side of that handshake with my residency direction and departmental chair.

Because residency is a weird thing. We stay awake 30 hours at a time, asked to make life and death decisions while doing so.  We hold lives and futures in our hands. Outside the hospital, we are adults, with children and mortgages and ailing parents and crumbling relationships. And then we come into the hospital and we are yelled at, belittled, talked down to, humiliated.  We have all our weaknesses laid bare for the examination of strangers. We are expected to deliver bad news. We are expected to know, always know. We see blood, and nudity, and death. We are expected to care, always care.

If I could get through residency, I could get through anything. That is what I've been telling myself for four years.

And here I am. Through it.

And the predominating emotion? It isn't the elation I thought I would feel. It isn't the weight off my shoulders I thought I would feel. It isn't the fall to my knees in pure relief I thought I would feel.

Mostly, I just feel lonely.

Because residency is a weird thing. While we are going through everything, we have our fellow residents beside us, going through the same things.We are in it together. We develop friendships, friendships forged by fatigue and saving lives together. Of facing the same self doubt and overcoming. Of being surrounded only by people who have 8-15 years post high school education. These are some of the tightest connections formed. I often spent more time with my fellow residents than my own family.

And now it's over. Residency ends and everyone leaves. Now is the time, 12 years later than our friends from high school, hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, disillusioned, tired, now, finally, is the time to start our lives.

And just like that, everyone is gone.

I wouldn't ever wish to do this again. Even in the loneliness, there is still the elation and the relief. That we have made it through this.

Because no matter what else is out there, we can do it, we can make it through. Because after all, we survived residency.

And we have a piece of paper proving it.

Friday, July 19, 2013


There have been a great number of times that I haven't felt like the grown up in my life. That I'm still just a child, trying to figure it all out, playing dress up while every thing is happening at lightning speed around me.

I used to wonder when I was going to feel like an adult. When was life going to stop feeling like this game that I wasn't very good at?

This last year has been rough. I've sat next to friends and family going through some of the hardest things imaginable. I've watched people I care about deal with devastating divorces, heartbreaking illnesses, death of loved ones, infertility, financial ruin. I've put my arms around people when their children or parents have been critically ill.

When did life get so real?

If this is adulthood, if this is real life, I'm not so sure I'm a fan.

I used to think that there was some magical finish line into adulthood. As if this all was a race, with a participation medal for everyone.

But what it actually feels like is the accumulation of fatigue and sadness and disappointment and stress. And then learning to still smile, to still be happy, to still notice all the good that there is.

Maybe all this is cliche. Maybe this is what everyone else has already figured out.

This last year has helped me sort out my priorities. It's helped me realize how to say no, when enough is enough.  And, do you know what? My work, my family:  That's enough. I don't need to figure out how to constantly add more. 

I'm going to continue to work on being right where I need to be. Because life is too sad, too real, to be or do anything else.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A Glimpse at My Current State of Mind

I've become so scatterbrained and distracted lately. I can never find my keys, my wallet. My brain feels so stuffed with, well, stuff, that I can't retain anything else. I told Hubster it was like those brilliant scientists who are winning Nobel prizes and don't remember to shower or comb their hair. Hubster thought it was funny that I was comparing my schedule and studying to a Nobel prize. But right now, they feel just as insurmountable.

Hubster dared me to write this post without mentioning boards and my board studying. But it's absolutely impossible. Board study has become most of my life.  I feel like Hermione Granger before O.W.L.s I walk around with huge stacks of flashcards, having people quiz me at random intervals. I make insane study schedules and wondering if my colleagues are studying more or less than 8 hours a day. All I know is that if I do on my exam as Hermione did on hers, I'll be happy.

Right now, I just have to do the best I can and remember the world won't end if I don't pass. Even if it feels like it will.

The other thing that I spend an insane amount of time thinking about is breast milk. I know. No one wants to hear about breast milk. But this seriously takes up so much of my time. I thought about weaning Duck, but honestly, I love the bonding we have with breast feeding. But pumping at work is stressful. There are days when my supply is very low and I get very discouraged. And then there are pumping sessions when I get a ton of milk. And I want to come out and exclaim how proud I am at that moment. But that would be weird. So instead, I'll blog about it.

Summer is flying by. Why can't I ever look outside in late January and feel that winter is flying by?

I went to bed at 6:30 pm last night. That's normal, right?

Despite Hubster's insistence that I have enough things on my plate, that if I start one more thing, we will all go absolutely crazy, I have restarted my couch-to-5K training. Last time, I got almost three weeks in, and was doing awesome. But then I got my horrific morning sickness and that put an end to running. So, now, 15 months later, I'm starting back up.

Now that I'm soon going to be starting my first real job, I'm also dealing with my first real bills: we have to pay out of pocket for health insurance, disability insurance, and my student loans are coming due. I'm freaking out about finances, which I hate to do. Because freaking out doesn't solve a single thing.

We recently got a new storage system for all the boys Legos.  That's your life with boys: the most exciting thing to happen recently is having a place to store all the Legos.

I used to listen to the news while I drove to and from work. Now, I listen to lectures. I have no idea what is going on in the world. There could be nuclear war on the East Coast and as long as the hospital is still open, I probably wouldn't know about it. But I would be all brushed up on cardiac physiology.

I have now made it two hours longer than I did yesterday. Which is long enough.  I'm going to bed.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Dear Bug,

Here we are again, on the brink of something new. Eleven. I find myself grasping ferociously at this year, holding on tight to your chidlhood even while you get ready to leave it behind.

That's what eleven feels like, on the parent side. The last year of real childhood. Eleven is followed by twelve, and that age scares me to death.

But we are not there yet. We are at eleven, and we are going to celebrate that.

Celebrate it with balloons and gifts and Calvin and Hobbes and steak.


Just as a side note: eleven is a really hard age to shop for. Especially when I've already made myself the promise that I won't purchase my children individual electronic equipment. So there are books and art supplies and the dreaded clothes.  Bug, I'm sorry about the clothes.

But there was also dinner out, where you ordered the biggest T-bone steak on the menu. And you would have finished it, too, had the waitress not brought you ice cream for your birthday.

I think you made the right decision.

I must say, even though I'm starting to feel panicked at how fast the years are flying, about how you are no longer a little kid that I can entertain by silly singing and dancing and patty-cake, and even though I have absolutely no clue what I am doing, I must say: I like this age.

I like reading bigger, more exciting books with you.  I like having our more involved conversations. I like your jokes and your sarcasm and your insight. 

So, yes, here we are again. Another year that I enter (almost) without a clue. But I'm going to continue to do what has worked so far: enjoy and celebrate.


Monday, July 1, 2013

(A Little More Than) 7 Months

7 months!

Duck is now...
Crawling. Every where. And no army crawl  or inch worm for this kid: complete on all fours crawling.
Still hasn't quite mastered sitting up.
"Drives" a toy car and chases around a ball.
Is very grabby (grabbed two handfuls of Dad's spaghetti at dinner this last week.)
Still very smiley, but starting to show the first signs of stranger anxiety.
Still a master spit-upper, so much the pediatrician thought it was time to start a prescription.
Especially since he's now 15th percentile for weight.
Loves meal times, chasing after his brothers, and being read to.
Dislikes bath time now, peas and beans, and getting dressed.