Oh that's quite the dramatic title, isn't it?
The beautiful woman is my mother, Marietta Norton, in her graduation photo from nursing school in Des Moines, Iowa. I wish you could see how blue her eyes were. She died in 1974, when I was twenty. She was younger when she died than I am now.
I have spent hours today unsuccessfully searching for a photo of my own graduation day from nursing school, 11 June, 1983. My six year old son, dressed in a little jacket and tie, with his hair slicked is standing next to me on the steps of the first home Bill and I would make together. It was a week before Bill and I married. My son looks proud. I look so young.
I wore a dress uniform and my nurse's cap, and an expression of happy nervousness. My classmates had elected me to give a speech at the graduation ceremony. Our dog, dear Measly, waited back at my apartment; I'm afraid it was a long day for her. She never complained.
Measly. Our last shelter rescue. Doesn't she look whippety? She was whippet-sized, whippet-shaped, and loved to run zoomies. But I think it was just a happy accident. She was a great good dog.
Tomorrow morning I will restart my nursing career. I will be working at Western Baptist Hospital. The first two weeks will be the hospital's mandatory new employee orientation: classroom instruction from 8 to 4:30. Then I'll do four to six weeks of full time twelve hour shifts of orientation on my unit. After that I start my part time job.
I am as certain as we can be about these things that I'll work at this hospital for the next ten years. Since moving to Paducah, time has been flying by me, catching me in its jet stream, spinning me like a dervish. Occasionally I tap a toe down, and thrust my arms out to stop: eight puppies born, Xela winning at Keeneland, a first draft of a novel finished, treasured visits from friends and family. And then the time whirlwind catches me back in its tornado. Can it be that we just celebrated our seventh year in Paducah? How can that be?
In ten years, I'll be sixty-five. Bill will be eighty. In just ten years.
Ten years ago, Mama Pajama was the #1 AKC Lure Coursing whippet in the country. Fat Charlie received his Award of Racing Excellence, and his Field Championship. Sam I Am's mom, Jessie, got her Championship in the show ring. Every weekend I headed off with friends in the Warburton Whippet Wagon to have some dog fun. My son was in college. We saw patients everyday in Bill's office on our farm. We had eight horses and ponies, who whunkered to me in the early morning when I opened the barn doors.
Ten years ago, we lived on the farm with Uncle (Saint) Opie the black lab, Gracious, Caruso, Giacomino, Maria, Mama Pajama, and Fat Charlie. Luciano and Delia weren't even born yet; they're nine and a half now.
Tomorrow begins the next ten years. I'm excited to be given the privilege of taking care of people again. I've missed that. I'm nervous about how the dogs and Bill will fare. How I will fare - given my well known separation anxiety from the waggle! I'm excited at the notion of being able to enter some dog shows and agility trials.
I'm beyond thrilled to have been hired at the hospital where I will work. I am so impressed with everything I have seen there. It's a good place. I will be proud to be a part of that caring.
I loved being a nurse. It will be wonderful to be a nurse again.
Christmas 1983. I was working straight midnights and Jake had a Dukes of Hazard lunchbox.
hug your hounds and please think of mine