When I was young(er), I had all answers to all the questions. Job? Lawyer. Specialty? Constitutional Law. Firm? No firm, the Solicitor General's Office. Marriage? Yes. Who? The boyfriend I've dated since age 13. When? Age 24, the summer after my second year of law school. Children? Yes. How many? Four- two boys and two girls. Names? Madison Grace, Jocelyn Anne, James Matthew, and Chase Prescott.** Location? Work in DC, live in Leesburg, VA. Main goal in life? To leave the world a better place than when I entered it.
**(please note, this was circa year 2000, many years before Madison became the trendiest name on the planet. I also will not be naming any potential future child any of these names.)
And then I went to college. As it would turn out, my feelings on things started to change and all of a sudden I wasn't quite sure I liked all the answers to my questions. All of a sudden, there were all of these questions swirling around in my head- ones I'd never thought about, or didn't want to think about, before, and I had no answer to them. I wanted to go to Africa and work for a legal non-profit dedicated to helping women and children. About ten million people named their kid Madison, my boyfriend did not like my new ideas on things, my parents did not like my new ideas on things, and I had no concrete answers for anything except that I wanted to leave the world a better place than when I entered it. How I was going to accomplish that was a little bit murkier.
Well, you all know the rest of the story- law school, pregnant, quit law school, had baby, no idea what I was going to do with my life. My eyes were opened when I was pregnant with Spencer, but it was like a blind fold being removed in the brightest light- I could see, but it took awhile for my eyes to adjust before anything was clear. I won't go into the whole story now- you can read about it here, but I became passionate about health care, especially in regards to unethical health insurance companies. (Briefly, my health insurance denied payment of all prenatal expenses and because I had health insurance, I was ineligible for any state or federally funded health care. I had to pay $500 dollars at every doctor's appointment, plus extra for all tests, ultrasounds, etc., and that's not even getting into the five day hospital stay we had.)
After a lot of thought and wishy washy-ness, I decided that I wanted to go back to school and become a nurse. I was paving the road for the day when I could combine my government degree with the one in nursing and use them together to work on realistic and sustainable healthcare reform. One thing stood in the way- I was a GOVERNMENT major! Do you think I took any science in college? Nope- I exempted everything in high school. So, about two years ago I started on this journey of going back to school and taking all of the required prerequisites. It's a long story filled with obstacles- you can read about it here- but, I finally finished everything and the only thing left to do was apply and get it.
Two weeks after the acceptances letters were supposed to arrive, I started preparing myself that I didn't get in. Every trip to the mailbox was filled with anxiety and then the sinking feeling in my stomach took over on every empty handed walk back to the house. And then, last week, it came- a tiny, thin, impossibly flat envelope that looked nothing like the acceptance packages I'd received from colleges. I didn't want to open it to be honest with you. I thought about tucking it away and pretending like it never came, that way I could still hold out some hope. After a few minutes of staring at it, I shut my eyes and began opening it. When the letter was out, I squinted one eye, peeking to see if the first letter of the opening paragraph started with an I or a C. (Denials always start with I'm Sorry to inform, and the acceptances always start with Congratulations) I saw a C.
I opened both eyes and read the first word: it said Congratulations. I didn't read one more word, I couldn't have read another word even if I'd wanted to, because I started crying, like really crying. And then I cried for about ten minutes straight. I didn't even think to call or tell anyone, it was a moment that was just about me.
There will never again come a day when I'll have all the answers to questions. If this life has taught me anything, it's that anyone can answer a question, but that certainly doesn't mean they're correct. Right now, I'm just so grateful that I have the chance to pursue something I really love, something that will allow me to leave the world a better place than when I entered it. So how does Nurse Katie sound to you?
Sammy the Slugger
1 hour ago