The Story

We write to make sense of it all. ~Wallace Stegner

I have three brothers.
They wore buzzcuts in summer, and I braids and pigtails.
We had a tree fort we regularly fell out of, a Tarzan swing in the woods, 
and a million sledding hills.
I was homeschooled until I graduated from high school, 
and surprised the world by being the not-so-weird-and-surprisingly-socialized entertainer at the local university.
I’ve always dreamed of being a professor like my papa and a missionary like no one I'd ever met.

I was a young mother once, 24.
 I gave up my nursing career to nurse babies for 9 years.
They daily test my patience and bring me indescribable joy.

I've walked through loss and lived to tell the story -

I learned to live with mortality when I faced a

heart condition in my teens and twenties that nearly cost me my life.
At 28, I embarked on an unexpected 4 year battle with cancer,
treatments and separations until remission in 2012.
My daughter spent a year needing doctors and hospitals in 2009,
and still has some continuing needs from her brain injury.

This job - teaching nursing students - it's been the last piece of the puzzle to a joy-filled life.
When you have a calling that differs from the "status quo" of your community,
there are moments of doubt. Am I doing the right thing?
Yet working has kept depression at bay, filled my weeks with excitement,
given me a sense of accomplishment and purpose I hadn't felt in 9 years.
And I come home a better mother, friend and lover.

I still dream of mission fields,
starting a nursing school in a 3rd world country instead of putting on another "band-aid"
with medical missions from more privileged people.

I have one daughter who is my doppelgänger, body, soul, and spirit.
She is the kid who is constantly critiquing herself in her Mama's perfectionist way
and reading Bullfinch's Mythology for fun.
She loves to come to class with me, and is rapidly developing a deep understanding
of the human body, disease, and nursing care. She wants to be a professor, just like me.
When she isn't given enough homework in school, she helps me prep my lectures.

Another who is my ballerina and singer and fills our home with beauty.
She is my free spirit, my creative one, my musician, my artiste, my sprite, sweet soul.
She bakes us brownies for breakfast and sings in every room of the house.
She's into American Girl dolls, sewing, horses, and friends.

A third who is a little lioness with a pixie grin as she waltzes 
through her days, each one a gift since we almost lost her at age 3.
She is my hard worker, the loyal one, the tamer of all animals, connector of all people.
Her mind is a glorious kaleidoscope of chaotic creativity, wit and knowledge strung together
in a web unlike any other due to her brain injury as a small child.
Despite epilepsy and motor and cognitive delays, she has fought her way back
to playing soccer, joining the swim team, learning to read - all of which requires her
to teach a brand-new area of her brain to function as a language and motor center.

My son is a mechanical genius who scares the living daylights out of my husband and I 
with his dangerously precocious ability to take apart anything and everything.
 He charms us with a sweet smile that matches his affectionate soul and 
a blond coif hovering over chocolate eyes.
He's over Thomas the Train and on to Hot Wheels and reading Popular Mechanics
with his dad. He takes apart anything he can get his hands on: small motors, my bathroom scale, the computer mouse. Luckily, he can put them back together, too!

I have one son gone, his tiny body lying unlived in Wisconsin soil,
his grave marked with a large blue rock of granite.
His name is Theodore.

When I dream, it is of the poor,
The hungry,
The hurting.

I play classical music on my piano and blues on my harmonica to ease tension.
I write songs for the universe that I never share.
I suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder 
from the traumas of an ordinary life with extraordinary trevail.

I am a childhood sexual abuse survivor just learning to name emotions.
I have a bucket list that I can’t possibly finish,
a million ideas of how to change the world.
I am the modern mama caught between career and home, 
artist and chef, writer and housekeeper.
I am not an everywoman of any kind.
Feminist, survivor, teacher, mother, critic, author...
all fit but none encompass.
Places inside twist and turn around dark secrets, yet
"we all bleed the some blood when the weapon of discrimination is wielded against us".

I write because I am compelled to by something deep within.
A hunger for words, a hunger for transparency, a hunger to be known and loved for my truest self.

I write as a cry of desperation and longing to a god 

I've sometimes believed in, often not. 
I am coming to understand through this journaling, 
understand that I am a blip on the screen but a glorious one.
I am learning to live in my own skin without shame.

I am learning the tune of my own song as I write the lyrics here.