Friday, December 11, 2015


Earlier this month, I had the rare privilege to go shopping with one of my most favorite friends.  I met Michelle while I was moon lighting as an ER nurse and decided that she HAD to be my friend instantly.   We don’t get to spend too much time together but when we do I am grateful.   While we were trying on clothes and catching up, we had a conversation that really made me think.  We both remarked that one of the gifts of getting older is that we find ourselves really not caring too much what other people think of us.  For a few moments our apathy made us feel brave and untouchable, and then we moved on and discussed an equally important topic, “How many sequins are too many?”

Driving home, our conversation about not caring came back to me.  I decided that we were  speaking  in half truths.  I think the impulse of not caring stems from something much more sacred, that we did not realize or admit to each other that day.  I believe that the truth is that we do care but the person that we care about is ourselves.  We have worked hard and fought too many battles to become who we are to hand ourselves over to another person’s comments.  We also understand that most of the hurtful or unkind things that are said rarely have anything to do with the receiver. That each of us on this earth only have our own telescope from which to view our lives and the people in it, and that sometimes those telescopes do not come equipped with kindness or understanding and that is not our fault.

I can only speak for myself, but there are many people who are my wise advisers who I would listen to if they took the time to have a heartfelt conversation with me.  These are the people that I have chosen and who have chosen me to be a sounding board when times or situations are tough. It is to them that I look when I need direction and for them I am grateful.

36 happened for me last week and I am already in love with it.  I am settling in to the confidence that age brings, and welcoming the gray hairs too.  I am more comfortable in the skin that is marching to forty (and beyond) than I ever was when I was 21 or even 25.  Life gets better and sweeter when you have seen what I have seen and loved who I have loved. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015


I have the kindest, most loving grandparents. One in heaven and two just miles down the road. As a little girl I was blessed to spend a lot of time with all of them. Enough time that I knew when we moved away that I needed them.

My Grandpa Jean was a teacher. From time spent with him in the classroom, I think he was one of those gruff teachers who was also tender hearted at the same time. He loved history and singing. He was never able to turn away a stray cat and fed every one that found its way to his back door. In third grade one of my assignments was to write a letter to someone. I picked him. My teacher mailed it for me and two weeks later my grandfather wrote back. We continued that way for 20 years.

Those letters closed our geographic distance and opened our hearts to one another. He knew me better than I knew me. He knew that I was going to end a romance before I did, knew when I was floating and needed help. In those terrible moments after learning he was gone his letters were the first thing I reached for and it was from them I gained the most comfort.

My Grandpa Boyd and Grandma Dene have been a home for me my entire life. When I was very small my grandmother took care of me. Later, when I was older, I would come stay with them for a couple of weeks every summer. Those weeks were the best of my childhood. We would go swimming, fishing or do nothing at all. While my grandfather was at work, I would sit on the floor of my grandmother's sewing room, reading and chatting all day long. It is because of her that the sound of a sewing machine is, to my ears, the most soothing noise on earth. It is also because of her that I am a knitter. After having open heart surgery, she decided to knit a sweater for every person in our family. It was over 25 sweaters. Sitting near her as she worked I realized that she was stitching her love for us into each sweater and I decided to do the same for my little people.

My Grandpa Boyd was a pharmacist and, like most of his profession, he is a quiet man. He is also the kindest, most gentle human being I have ever known. He is a talented photographer, I have spent hours going through every album he has filled. Most of his photos are of his family. He lovingly documented our lives for us.

The most precious and important thing about my relationships with my grandparents is that they have never hesitated to point me in the right direction when I have lost my way.  My grandmother always reminds me to pray when I need answers and to thank God when I have received them. My grandfather continues to teach me by his example what it means to serve your family with your whole heart.  I do not know who or where I would be without them.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Being a Nurse


           I have been a nurse for 12 years.  I have been in love with medicine since I was 14 years old.  I clearly remember going to the hospital to visit an ill friend and feeling overwhelmed by the idea that one building housed the beginning of life, the end of it and the fight for it in the middle.  I could not process it, and sometimes I still can’t.  The only thing I knew was that I wanted to be a part of it.  Flash forward an AA in Licensed Practical Nursing, then an AA in Registered Nursing, and finally a Bachelor’s degree (My father used to remind me that two AA’s does not equal a doctorate.  Har, har.)

             I love being a nurse. I love walking into a patient’s room in the early morning, gently waking them and saying, “Hello, my name is Domini.  I am your nurse today.”  Nothing that has ever happened in those walls has ever fazed me.  The only things that I carried with me out of the hospital at night were the stories of the patients that I had cared for, and the sense that I had helped someone that day.  I had helped them in a way that I knew in my heart that I was built for.  

                Since becoming a Mom I have worked only on the weekends.  It was important too both of us and something that we decided before any pregnancy test gave a positive result.  We would make sure either Alan or I was with our kids.  This has meant very little time together as a whole family, and making the time that we did have matter.  Lately that strain had gotten to be too much and we needed to find another solution.  I applied for another job, away from the patient beside.  The new position would mean that I could be home in the afternoon, so that even when I worked we could have a bike ride and dinner all together. 
                I loved the flexibility of my new job immediately, and the department I work for contains some of the best people that I have ever known.  There were a few things however that weren’t so great.  My peers did not see me as a nurse anymore, and the doctors who used to tell me that they were so glad that I was the one taking care of their patient now groaned (or worse) when I would call to ask them to do some necessary paperwork.  Also, I missed taking care of patients.  I felt as though I had lost a very important and valuable part of myself.  

                I do not feel that way any longer.  Life has shown me over the course of the last six months that I am going to be given opportunity after opportunity to be a nurse.  Last week as my precious daughter was being wheeled away from me by nurses and an anesthesiologist I didn’t give a flying leap about my identity.  I was not worried about whether or not I was viewed as a nurse by my peers. All I wanted was for my little girl to come out of that surgery safe and well.  I was thankful for every second that I have ever spent with her, every single one.

                Now that we are all home together and healthy I have decided this: I am still a nurse. I will always be a nurse.  Being a nurse isn’t anything that a different job title can take from me.  Nor is it anything that I should be taking away from myself.