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!!!