Thursday, April 19, 2012

"You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world." ~ Tom Brokaw

Here I am...over 600 days & nights have passed since I began on this journey called "nursing school".  All those days ago, I couldn't have known what awaited me. Positive things like new friendships, self-confidence, life-changing instructors, a true coming into my own all found me along the way, but so did negative things like battling self-doubt, pushing past those who said I couldn't do it or wouldn't be good at it anyway, tears, harsh words, frustrations, worrying & stress. 

In a little over 2 weeks I'll physically walk alone across the graduation stage, but I certainly didn't get to this point alone. 

I wouldn't have gotten to this point at all if it wasn't for the 1st person who believed I should go into nursing, Toby's Aunt Sue. Several years back I remember her saying, "Have you ever thought about going to nursing school? You'd make a wonderful nurse."  I distinctly remember saying, "Me? Are you crazy? I HATE needles. I nearly pass out every time they draw my blood!"  She just laughed & said, "Oh, you get over that." And with that, the seed was planted. Years later I came home a terrified gal from nursing school orientation convinced I could never do this & Toby took one look at me & said, "I know you can do it. Why don't you talk to Aunt Sue?" So I sat down & emailed her all about my doubts & fears & the next thing I knew the phone was ringing & her voice was telling me "You CAN do this!! Take a deep breath & do it one day at a time. I KNOW you can."  I will forever be grateful for Aunt Sue's ability to see into my soul & know what my calling was before I did. 

I couldn't have gone to school & managed to still be a mom & wife without the help of my Mom, Dad & Grandma & numerous other family members. They helped us with transportation & care for Livi. They never stopped saying "I'm proud of you!" & "You got this!".  They prayed for me & listened when I was frustrated & doubting myself. They constantly reminded me I was not alone in this.

Before nursing school began, Toby told me he thought I'd make good friends while going to nursing school. "Some probably will become lifelong ones," I remember him saying. I also remember telling him, "I'm not there to make friends. I'm there to learn."  And then the 1st day of school came & I met Stephanie. I had no way of knowing then that she would become the sister I've never had. Or that her family & my family would become like family to each other. Or that she & I would cry on each other's shoulders, gripe to one another, vent frustrations, encourage one another, celebrate our successes together & become the best of friends. I couldn't have done this without her. She is a beautiful woman with a beautiful heart & the kind of person I always want in my corner! I'm so proud of her! 

So many people have played a part in making this dream a reality for me, but I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the sacrifices that Toby has made so that I could take this journey. In the dark of the night, when self-doubt, fear & anxiety can eat you alive, he never stopped encouraging me & telling me he believed in me. He's seen me at my worst & helped me work to be my best. He remains my rock & my safe place to fall. WE DID IT BABY!!! 

But perhaps the most important person I'll be carrying with me across that stage on May 5th is a my precious LiviGirl. The one person who couldn't escape my bad moods, crazy schedule & relentless need to study, but has nonetheless continued to encourage & push me along this path. Livi never failed to know what I needed to hear the second I needed to hear it. When I thought I couldn't take anymore, I would take one look at her & know, for her, I'd continue. I might have given up on me, but I wouldn't give up & make all her sacrifices have been for nothing. 

I am so fortunate that I've had the greatest warriors a girl can have on my side. These special people helped me battle my self-doubt & fears & get to where I am today. I am definitely not the person I was nearly 2 years ago. But I'm proud of the place I've been led to & so excited for what the future holds for me & all those I love. 

Crossing that stage will be just the beginning of a whole new journey for all of us, but one thing is for certain: I will begin this new journey knowing that I have the greatest people in the world on my side. 

Love & thanks to each & every one of you!!!