Just Jump In

When you were a young adult, do you remember those first few major decisions you had to make? You know, the ones that helped determine your path in life? Where to go to college? What to major in? What kind of job you’d take after college to begin your career? The kind of decision that once you made it you were excited about it, yet it sent chills down your spine at the same time because you couldn’t believe you’ve come this far and made a decision like this. Then reality really hits and you get to live out what was once a dream. Day after day after day.

I had those feelings too. For me, the reality that I was in nursing school didn’t really slap me in the face until I stepped off the elevator on my first clinical day in the hospital. I took a deep cleansing breath, inhaling through my nose and exhaling through my mouth. During the process, I smelled three things; body odor, hospital soap and those disgusting powdered hospital eggs. I gagged, because I’m a gagger when it comes to disgusting smells and then I asked myself what in the world did I get myself into. Not every college student is about to go learn how to clean someone’s ass properly and get graded on it. Eventually though, I got used to those types of things and I knew I was in the right place.

Last summer my son was trying to decide if he wanted to march in his university’s Independence Day Parade with the marching band he was about to join as a freshman when he entered college in the fall. He went back and forth, yes, no, yes, no.  Finally, one of his mentors told him, “Jack, just jump in”. He thought about it and he listened to his mentor. He jumped in. He marched the parade and met some people that would end up becoming some of his close friends. He was happy he did it.

Today my son took another plunge. He declared a major. Biology. He has more questions for his advisor so he’ll be returning to see her in the next few days and will soon choose courses for the fall of his sophomore year. It’s hard to believe I was in that place over twenty-six years ago and now I’m watching my first born experience it. Talk about something that sends chills down your spine as you hope and pray this child gains as much success and happiness in his career as you’ve had in yours. At this moment though, I know how he feels; excited and nervous as he tries to imagine what he’s going to do in the field of Biology. The possibilities are endless Jack, just jump in.

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Holiday Series Part 3: Music

The stage was decorated with poinsettia plants. The auditorium was dark. The band wore Santa hats. People who know this band and have kids who’ve played in this band look forward to this song each year. The audience sat quietly as the band prepared to play it’s final selection: Sleigh Ride. I’m listening to the video I filmed during the concert as I write this. I can’t help but to smile. My son was a member of this band during his junior and senior years of high school. My daughter is a freshman member of this band, this gifted and talented band.  I smile because I’m so proud of the preparation my daughter put into preparing for this concert and playing this song. She was delighted to have been given second trumpet music. One day, several weeks before the concert, she admitted to me that she lost her place in class while rehearsing this song and that when she made contact with the band director he knew she’d lost her place too. She didn’t like that feeling so she took the problem to her private music teacher. Together, they tackled it and she learned to play the piece with confidence, without difficulty and without getting lost. The following evening we attended the Guitar Concert at the high school and a few days after that I attended the Christmas concert at our church, where my daughter performs in the Youth Band.

Music by far puts me in the holiday spirit, especially music that my children are playing on their instruments.  I don’t need to hear it 24/7 but when it’s on the radio I do enjoy it. I prefer songs related to the birth of Jesus but I do have a few other favorites.

Here’s my list, in the order that I remember.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Sleigh Ride

Silver Bells- Motown Version

Ave Maria-don’t all Italians like this song?

Christmas Night

What Child is This

Away in a Manger

Silent Night-the Stevie Nicks version.

Little Drummer Boy-Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band version

Hark The Herald Angels Sing

Happy Christmas- John Lennon

Joy to the World

Christmas Is the Time to Say I love You-Billy Squire

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

Chipmunks Christmas

White Christmas- I’m from Buffalo, NY and I like snow on Christmas!

Christmas All Over Again-Tom Petty

O Come All Ye Faithful- ok I’ll admit it was the Brady Bunch season 1 Episode 12: The Voice of Christmas that got me into this song at a young age. Carol Brady had just miraculously recovered from Laryngitis to sing this song for her church on Christmas morning. Listen to the words though: O Come all ye faithful. Joyful and triumphant. O come ye. O come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold him, born the King of Angels. O come let us adore him. O come let us adore him. O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord. I have no musical ability what so ever and I have to get really drunk to even consider singing Karaoke. This song however makes me just want to stand up and belt out a song during Christmas Eve Mass. So I sing and try not to kill the people in the pew in front of me with my off tune voice.

Here’s my least favorite song of all time: Wonderful Christmastime by Paul McCartney. This song agitates me so much it makes me want to throw myself out of a moving car.

That’s all that nurse has to say for now. Have a great week.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapters

It is the morning of my son’s high school graduation. In less than 12 hours he will cross the stage to receive his high school diploma. One chapter in his life will close, another will soon begin.

I am in my bedroom as I write this. I take a sip of coffee, write a little, pace up and down the hall and sit back down to write more. I walk by my son’s bedroom. He’s still asleep. I know that he is dreaming of his upcoming senior week trip to the beach tomorrow with his friends. In my mind today, I am reviewing chapters k-12.

I have so much bottled up emotion in anticipation of this day. Early on in my career as a nurse, I learned not to publicly display emotion. I don’t like to. Three of my friends who’s kids graduated last year tell me it’s inevitable today. In last years commencement, my friends knew where each other was sitting and every time they’d make eye contact with each other, they were all tearful. They told me to bring a box of tissues. Some days I want to burst into tears at the thought of my little boy achieving this milestone and grab him and hold him tight. Other days I’d like to drive him to the beach himself so he can bury his senioritis deep into the sand and come home refreshed and ready to work his summer job, clean his room and be willing to contribute to household chores again.

I’ve always believed that the anticipation of a major emotional event is far worse than the actual event. I know I’ll be fine later. Tomorrow I’ll watch my son get into the car with his buddies for a week at the beach. I will pray for their safety and be grateful that my son has this experience.

I look forward to the college chapter of my son’s life in the same way I look forward reading a new book that I know I’m going to enjoy. Dorm life. College courses. New friends. Fun. Choosing his major. College marching band. Watching a new level of my son’s intellect evolve. I can’t wait to read them all!