Posted by: Ingrid | July 31, 2016

A Radical Act

Since coming back from vacation my activities have been focused on one thing – going back to school in the fall.  I have placed my order for scrubs, purchased a stethoscope (!), had two TB tests (one isn’t enough any more), had a ridiculous amount of blood titers taken to test for any number of diseases, purchased expensive textbooks that could double as small weapons, and tried to finalize child care.

I have found it takes a ridiculous quantity of energy to upset the normal of the past seven years. For seven years I have been at home with children.  For seven years I have been pregnant, nursing, and taking care of people as my sole job. In under a month our entire life will be upended as I go back to school.  It is exhausting, not so much in the details, but in the mental energy that it takes to know that I am making the choice to disrupt our family equilibrium, I am sending us down the road to crazy-ville.

Going back to school is high stakes because it feels like if everything falls apart into chaotic ruin, it’s my fault. Fear of failing at everything comes near the top of my list of fears, just above fear of all things awkward. It has been my job (self-appointed, but still) to hold things together and keep things running smoothly, a job I took seriously long before I got married and had children.  I juggle the logistics, I make things happen, I ensure that there is food in the house, on the table, and that laundry gets done.  I have a very vivid memory of going to premarital counseling, perhaps the only thing I remember, when our counselor advised trying to work things out so that only one of us was “crazy” (ie. busy, really stressed, dealing with significant life changes) at a time. I took this to heart because it already was part of how I operated.  Oops!  Everyone else is crazy… must not be my turn yet. But here’s the secret that I have found over the past ten years.  People around me may be less crazy at times, but there’s never a time when there is no crazy and someone asks me if I’d like to maybe take a turn disrupting life in a big way.

I was on the stationary bike sometime in January reading Stitches by Anne Lamott book and a paragraph caught me and had me doubled over in tears (a sure sign something has hit home) as I read it.

I never used to take my turn. I always gave my turn away. I helped others have a great turn. I must have had a clipboard by the time I was six, because by then I had a whole caseload of people to keep track of. After they had all gotten a turn, then maybe I could go, if there was time and it didn’t bother anyone.

Now I take my turn, as a radical act.

That was it exactly, the knowledge that, for me, this is a radical act. It is the feeling deep inside that is giving me the ability to fight against the sometimes strong desire to give up going back to school. It’s hard to stay home with kids. It might be even harder to figure out the logistics of not being home with them. It is much more difficult than I thought to not only give lip service to the idea that it’s okay to go back to school to do something that I’ve wanted to do for so long, okay to entrust my children to other people while I am in classes, clinicals, and studying, okay to not orchestrate everything in our family, but to also put my money and time behind it (both difficult things for me to part with). That is scary and hard.

I don’t know that I have done anything this good and terrifying in a long time.  I am excited and scared to death at once. The enormity of the list of things-that-must-be-done in three short weeks has me anxious. I keep telling myself that this change in our lives has to be akin to marathon training; you never think too hard about the 20+ mile runs the first week of training because if you did, you would talk yourself out of it. You wait until you’re well into training and then, somehow, it fits and makes sense.  I hope that’s true in this case as well.  In the meantime I keep reminding myself that radical acts are hard and taking deep breaths is necessary.

Hopefully thorough oxygenation will see me through the next 22 days.




  1. You can do it, Wonder Woman. Your kids will thank you later, no fault labeling here. God bless you.

  2. […] the whole, particularly when I stumbled back on the many many many many thoughts I’d had about the nursing school process over the past eight years it has taken to […]

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