I was going to be a pilot in the Air Force. On the very last day possible, I decided to work with children with cancer instead. I gave the pilot slot back. I was a 22-year-old nursing student in an AFROTC program, and I thought I’d lose my mind in the expansiveness of that decision.
I did not lose my mind. I joined the Air National Guard, and later, the Air Force Reserve, and remained in service through the rank of Captain. This decision allowed me to work at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, in Portland, Oregon, until a nursing strike in 2001. I did not want to strike, leave my job, nor dishonor my friends on the picket line. I took another job to wait it out, at another hospital, with one of the funniest friends I’ve ever had. It lasted 56 days.
Around the same time, I’d met THE guy, at Camp Ukandu, an awesome-fest for kids with cancer, and their sibs. We lived 2 hours apart, and he did not want to move to my city. Actually, he’d sworn off dating girls from my city.
We decided to meet in the middle. Our first date was on September 11, 2001…we decided to be together on a most tragic day in history, each driving 1 hour for tacos and acute romantic anticipation.
Back home, I’d again found professional inspiration, and applied for a pediatric ER internship. I listened to my fear, my hope, AND my heart. I took a risk, believing the love would happen, whether I got the internship or not, or it was not THE love.
I did not get the internship. I moved to his town. We skied and backpacked and played very hard. We went to Europe, twice. (Does chaperoning a middle school French class count?) We moved to Alaska, and back, and I’ve missed it terribly since.
We added my cat to his dog, and then folded in the cutest puppy my eyes have seen, and my sister’s cat along the way. We have shared the heartbreak of losing them all.
We were sloppy and young together and got married in the midst of hummingbirds and flowers and so much love. We backpacked in Banff, and then were adopted by a British pub staff who tried to drown us in alcohol on our honeymoon. We came home and rolled up our sleeves, and settled into the hard work of growing up.
And Now? We are a family of four. Since he was the little brother, and I was the big sister, our psychological jello wrestling is best buoyed by occasional marital counseling. Know what else helps marriage? Hugs. (see here). Note: They did not study what happens if the husband just stands there during the hug, or if children run circles around the hug, counting to 20 as slowly AND loudly as possible.
Professional Statement: I have spent twenty years in healthcare, working with pain, suffering, mess, and trauma. Death, laughter, silence, and tears. My joy has been hard-earned and fiercely protected. Now, I have embraced yoga, and I teach yoga, to even the smallest people. Toddler namaste and tiny down dogs are the antidote, I am convinced.
Personal Statement: I do best when I am close to the mountains, close enough to touch them. I need bright, open sky over my head, or to remember what that feels like, and that it’s there, just beyond any clouds that may roll in. I routinely seek out water, so I can float or fish or just stare into it’s sparkle and depth. I look to animals, plants, and children for help remembering what’s important. I can’t go very long without dancing.