Tuesday, December 29, 2009

When I grow up ...

Photo from dreamstime.com

Lots of people ask children what they want to be when they grow up.

When I was asked that question, I had a few answers in mind, and they pretty much stayed with me through my life. I wanted to be a Mommy (check), I wanted to be a teacher (check), and I wanted to be nurse (check). So I guess I've grown up now ...

You didn't know I was a nurse? Oh yes, I've been a practicing nurse since I became a mommy -- all those boo-boos to bandage, sore throats to soothe, fevers to fight and tummy aches to tame. I also handled croup on more than one occasion -- and once with all three children gasping for breath. That was a terrifying time! One child sick with croup is tough, two is tougher and three can send you into panic mode.

Like a licensed nurse, I was checking temperatures, giving sips of water, wiping away tears and trying to stay calm. There was no time for a break on my nursing shift, nor did I want to leave my patients. Along with the handsome intern (my hubby), I took turns rocking, walking, talking and trying to soothe the fears of children who didn't understand why they couldn't get their breath.

More than once we bundled them up and headed for the emergency room only to have them calm when we got there. One doctor finally told us that was par for the course with croup. He explained that getting out in the colder night air actually shrinks the swelling around the affected area and allows a normal breathing pattern to resume. That same doctor suggested an unusual remedy for the next attack: "Bundle them up in a blanket and carry them outdoors to look at the stars."

It worked, too. The night air worked its magic while they were busy listening to Daddy count stars! Of course when there are three coughing and gasping, it's a bit hard to do it with all of them at the same time. So we took turns, thankful for a doctor that shared the secret to croupy nights. He had seen many scared parents rush into the ER with children that had moments earlier been "choking to death." By the time they got there, the little ones had relaxed and were quite calm -- and sometimes asleep.

So I've been a Mommy, a teacher (homeschooling our three children over an 18 year period -- and loved it!) and I've been their nurse. Now that the children are grown and gone, I am now helping care for (nurse) our aging parents. My father-in-law has several health issues, so I take him to the doctor and help him with his breathing treatments on a daily basis. I also help my mother with some health-related issues and am her transport when she goes to the doctor.

What a blessing to have those when-I-grow-up dreams come true! Looking back, I see how our loving Heavenly Father placed people and events in my life that prepared me for each of those dreams.

As a child, I had Mom to set the example

of what motherhood was all about. She was creative in the kitchen, a hard worker around our house and she enjoyed singing while she mopped floors or did laundry. Even with a bad case of phlebitis in one leg, I never heard her complain and later learned why she would prop that leg on a low stool while doing some of her work.

Mom loved us, fed us, made our clothes and kept them clean. She also nursed us through many illnesses and taught us to be respectful children. I thank her for that and realize what she taught me carried over into my own mothering days.

As for teaching, I'd say a half-dozen great teachers in my school days had a lot to do with my wish to follow in their footsteps. One of my sisters also became a teacher and I got to sit in on her classes now and then to observe.

I loved the way she related to the children

making things come to life for them and maintaining a calm control of her classroom. When our children came along and we made the decision to homeschool, she was one of our best cheerleaders. Brenda also shared her experience, encouragement, resources and more.

What about nursing and how my interest was tweaked? While in college, I worked as secretary to three radiologists at the hospital and later to four pediatricians at a children's clinic.

The medical field intrigued me

and tweaked my interest in nursing, though I never pursued a formal degree. I've also known many good nurses that set a great example and treated me with kindness and compassion when I was a patient.

The way we do our jobs and carry out our responsibilities affects those around us! How thankful I am for a good mother to teach me the joys of motherhood ... for good teachers that set the example for me as a child. Before homeschooling our children, I taught many children in various settings. As a teen babysitter, I found myself "teaching" my little charges about colors, numbers, reading, etc. There were other opportunities to teach, too -- Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, nursery school and special classes on birdwatching, etc.

Before I close off, let me share one more thing I wanted to be when I grew up ... a grandma. Of course I didn't think that far ahead as a child, but when our three children flew the nest, my heart longed to have little ones around me again. So I wanted to be a grandma.

That dream came true for me in 2009! Ethan was born on March 25th and Jason Cody was born on October 5th. We have so enjoyed getting to know those little fellows the past few months and look forward to seeing Jason Cody in a few days when we drive up to welcome in the New Year at their place.

I suppose I've grown up by now and would be considered a full-fledged adult. Words like "mature" and "laugh lines" and "middle-age-spread" come to mind when I look in the mirror. But there's a little girl still inside that sticks her tongue out now and then to remind me to never get too grown up.

She wants to stay young at heart and keep on dreaming
of other things she'd like to be when she grows up ...


  1. Oh Nan, that was a lovely interesting post. You've had such a good and, to some, an enviable life. I know you count your blessings every day. My best wishes for New Year to you and your family which naturally includes Jason Cody and Ethan.

  2. Dearest Nan, You always have a way of gently reminding me of the things in life that truly matter!!! Thank you!!! This is a beautiful post! Hope you are having a wonderful time with your grandchildren!!! Love you so much! Janine XO

  3. Thank you ladies! We are sure enjoying our visit here in Virginia. Jason Cody has grown up so much since we saw him last -- and his smiles and chuckles have stolen my heart! We will be sad to say goodbye to this sweet little family tomorrow.

  4. What a sweet page--writing, photos and all! Looks great, Sis!


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