To The Babies I Held on My Birthday

Obstetrics clinical rotations began this past week. Day 2 was Wednesday, July 17 – my 31st birthday. Here’s what I was thinking that day.

Dear Little Ones,

Welcome to the outside world. The past week was filled with a lot of change for you. You are still dependent on your mother for nutrition and warmth, but you are now breathing on your own. And this time it’s air, not amniotic fluid. Your heart and lungs have gone through intense change and you are still causing your mom hormone and physical changes in this post-partum period. Your dad, while not new to this, is still in awe and thankful that the both of you are safe.

You didn’t know it and probably never will, but I took care of you on my birthday. 31 years ago, I was the new bundle of joy. I’ve seen pictures but time fades colors in the pre-digital photography era. I have to wonder if my face looked like a model for a porcelain doll and if my lips were perfect cherry red as yours are. As I held you, I didn’t mourn that I have yet to push a new human out of my abdomen. I was overwhelmed with a distinct sense of hope for you and wonder.

What delights will you bring your parents? How will you and that big brother I saw earlier get along? Will you color on the walls or play in the mud? Will you break hearts or have your heart broken? What will you be so passionate about that could help your corner of the world?

I hope sincerely that you will not disappoint others, but you are human, therefore you will. Thus, I hope more that you learn to ask for forgiveness and extend it. I hope you are able to see Truth and want it for you and others.

As I hear the news of what the world is throwing us – the suffering isn’t new but you are. May your eyes be opened gently so you don’t see too much at once, yet just enough that you are able to have compassion and help as you can.

It is wonderful to look upon you just being you. Content that your needs are met.

Thank you for that gift of seeing life simply when it is complex. My only regret is that I can’t tell you this for when you’ll remember nor can I leave your parents a note – that would just be creepy.

May the Lord have mercy on you daily.

Your Student Nurse

And in case you, the reader, are wondering, here’s from 31 years ago:

laurababy

Bullied: Part 1

Do you remember the first time you saw yourself in the mirror and finally had a shred of hope that you just might be physically attractive and desirable? That you were not the despicable and horrible human that others kept saying you were for so long?

It was the summer I turned 15; my family had moved back to Kansas the previous year after 6 ½ in South Dakota. While I had a minor disappointment with a boy the past year, I had been getting some attention from others and had successes in extra-curricular activities about my confidence. I was uncertain on what to do with compliments. If I said “Thank you,” I feared I would look like a snob, but if I ignored them, it would be rude. I think I usually stammered or tried to shrug things off.

It was a day I had very little planned. I was still in my PJs at the breakfast table when my brother came from the basement. He thought I was wearing a casual sundress for the day and is a pretty cool guy when it comes to his sisters. He asked, “Where did you get that dress?” in the way that men from my family say with uncertainty on how to word a compliment, yet in a way that the women know the men noticed.

“Um, Jeff, these are my PJs.”

Him: “Oh.”

After that comment and finishing breakfast, I walked back to my room to change into my real clothes for the day. At the end of the short, narrow hallway was an oval mirror. I caught a glimpse I had never considered before. It wasn’t an imaginary catwalk to my room, or a trial run of how I would saunter through The Mall. Just enough of a second glance to where I could say, “Maybe I’m not fat and ugly.” My self-esteem and self-perception were still hovering above empty, but there was something about those 10 feet down the hall that gave me hope. Not everyone was out to be better than me. My obvious features of height and hips were not necessarily a negative. And maybe my acne-prone face and shoulders weren’t as horrible as others made it seem.

I still had plenty of emotional breakdowns between that moment and now. I still considered shopping a war and personal assault. The number on the size was all-important as to how I felt about myself for the next month or so.  Some hurts have scabbed over, yet I’m reminded of their scars at the most random times. Just when I think that I’ve answered all the questions and satiated the emotional holes left from my middle school years, the emptiness slinks in the cracks on bad days.

The mid-90s seemed more concerned with sexual harassment and whether or not kids knew about HIV transmission. The line between “kids being kids” and bullying had not gotten the attention of the past 10 years. Sometimes I wonder how I would feel if I could have stood up for myself in the schoolyard. What if one day I would have just punched someone in the face? What if I could sue for the therapy bills not covered by insurance? What if I had taken a few more sick days or convinced my parents to get me out of that school?

What happened cannot be changed. But I have hope. Not because I saw myself as pretty one summer day, half my life ago.

Because I’m learning to forgive people that I will never see again and who will never know how deeply their words cut to my heart. Because I can look at the world around and know that God created things that are good. Because I am to look and myself and say that I am the chief of sinners and forgive others’ trespasses, debts, and sins.

It is not easy, nor should anyone be demanded to produce these results overnight. Be filled with Truth to combat the lies. That is the first step. The other steps will follow, but always seek Truth.

Test Drive

**Disclaimer: None of the below is PG-13 or R-rated in my opinion. However, if you happen to get queasy around topics regarding virginity, purity, sex, and others’ opinions, read at your own risk.**

Grab your cup of coffee. We should chat.

The Ray of Sunshine Opines

6 Years Apart

December 2, 2005: I had my first counseling appointment with a professional therapist in Wichita, Kansas.

I was nervous making the appointment, and I believe I started the phone call with something akin to the following:

“Yeah, uh, hi. I need to make an appointment for….um, whatever it is you do.”
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“Tell Me Your Problems”

My first attempt at Photoshop. I ran out of patience to make it look any better.

Ever feel like you have certain phrases tattooed on your forehead?

My sister swears that my mother and I have the same saying, “Tell Me Your Problems.” I happen to believe it can also change to “Tell Me Your Life Story” or “No, Really, Vent.”

Continue Reading

When You’re Not a Ray of Sunshine

I like this blogging thing. While few might be reading, I’m enjoying the chance to write what’s on my mind, what’s important to me, and keep refining a skill. As you can read on the “about” page, one my hang-ups in starting a blog was the uncertainty of having something to say that wasn’t more noise over bandwidth. I don’t want this blog to become my pseudo-anonymous online confessional. But I do want to be honest that I’m not always a ray of sunshine, or happy, or even pleasant.

Continue Reading

I finally did what others told me to do…

But I did it in my own way, dang it!

Over the past two years or so, several in my acquaintance have been asking me to start a blog. As you can read, I finally did.

I guess here is the post where I let you know of the coming inspiration (i.e. “Here’s my little corner of the world…”) or the impending rants (AAAAGGGGHHH! I must let the world know of my rage!) or what makes my life’s journey sooooooooo different than everyone else that I have to take up some bandwidth. Or I could try to tempt you with my domestic conquests or funny stories of singledom and 180-degree career changes.

The more I thought about whether or not to start blogging, I realized that all the noise on the internet and in our lives was turning me away from joining the ranks of bloggers. It wasn’t the actual process or work involved with blogging and maintaining a good blog – it was deciphering whether or not I had something to say. This is completely opposite of my Angelfire site way back in 1997.

Then I realized that in most conversations, I just start talking. And by the end, I have said something; I just didn’t know it when I opened my mouth. Like so many characters in movies and books, I realized that I have something to say. I have a voice. So, whether that labels me a fool or the most unintentional of gurus, I’ll let you decide.

Back to working on my inspirational rant that will change the world as we know it all because I started a blog….

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