I Was a Nurse: A Letter to My Kids

July 2017

Its been 6 months since I gave my two week notice.  But I’d checked out long before that.  Which is pretty scary, considering the line of work I was in.  I was a nurse.  

I left you, John, when you were 24 hours old.  You were born 6 weeks early and went straight to the NICU, I was sent to the women’s health floor.  I was a sophomore in nursing school, the student nurse who came to check my vitals was my classmate.  We had a zero tolerance absence policy, so the next morning I got dressed and told the staff I was going dowstairs to the NICU to sit by your isolette.  But I drove to class instead and was back before anyone noticed.  I was going to do right by my baby.  I was going to stay in school.  I was going to be a nurse.

I waddled across the stage to accept my diploma a few weeks before you were born, Vivi.  When you were a week old, I took my state boards exam.  My Mom drove us to the city.  I nursed you in the car before I went in, and came out a few hours later, t-shirt soaked, 100% positive that I’d totally bombed it.  I didn’t.  And I started my career as a night nurse in the ICU 7 weeks later.

Over the next few years your Dad and I watched you both grow through tired eyes halfway open.  I worked with some of the most wonderful people in an amazing hospital.  I landed a great position in a specialty department.  I made really, really great money…

And then I got a full 12 weeks paid leave after I had you, Hank.  It was a dream, and I never fully woke up.  I went back to work, but my heart stayed home with you all and your Dad for good this time.

You don’t know that I work now because I do so from home while you’re napping, or at the coffee shop while you’re at playgroup.  We spend all of our time together and even on the days it gets hard being a full time Mom, cleaning lady, chauffer, cook, and all things to all of you – I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I’m just “Mom” now.  And it feels so good to say that.  You’ll probably never remember this, but once upon a time, I was a nurse.