Welp, I pretty much failed that whole getting back to blogging thing, didn't I? In my defense, shits been crazy. Not like OMG I've got so many lunch dates lined up crazy, but like, did you actually mean to say yes for everything on that stress inventory checklist crazy.
My husband and I bought a house, a perfect old adorable to the point of cartoonish house. To say the process of doing so was a bitch is probably an understatement- also so pregnancy, such stress, many tears, wow.
But nothing to put your home buying woes in perspective like actual legit suffering- losing one of the most important people in my life. To say I lost my grandma a couple of months ago doesn't really cover it. I lost so much. My hero, my family's matriarch, my biggest fan, the person who always saw the best in me yet pushed me to be better than I am- is gone. In many ways I still feel completely lost without her. Our dog died a week later, because apparently my life was determined to become a shitty country song for a while.
In the middle of it all though- my baby. The most beautiful and humbling and terrifying thing in the whole world, surely the only reason I got out of bed for a couple of weeks. He's perfect. More than I ever would've had the audacity to ask for. The first few weeks I had him, and still occasionally now, I'd burst into tears looking at him, because I was so overwhelmed at how unworthy I was to be part of something so wonderful. I don't have the words. Every cliche is true and still completely inadequate to capture the beauty of it all.
In so many ways I'm a completely different person because of these things. The empathy I experience is different. It's much more raw. Being on the other side of what I do is humbling. More specifically, it's terrible. I hope it's made me a better person- I think it's made me a better nurse. I know what it's like to be pregnant and terrified things are going wrong all the time now. I understand now when people bring in their new babies for every little thing, or at least, the fear behind it. I know all too well the sadness of that big family, the one who's lost someone about whom we'd probably say "it was time" or "they lived a good life". I know now that these facts change absolutely nothing, that the loss cuts just as deep, that you feel just as lost without them there. I can really, truly begin to fathom now the pain and horror that would be losing a child. The feelings I get for others hurt so much more right now.
The upside, though, of being hurt, of being helpless, in being in the care of others, is that you learn exactly what kind of person you want to be to every soul you encounter. You're so acutely aware of and so gracious for the kindness of others. You find out exactly how kind and beautiful people can be, and you can store up every little word, every gesture, all the goodness; you can keep these things and let them grow inside you and wait for the day that you can give them to someone else.
It's small things we can do, and now I know. There's a few moments and people I'll remember forever- I doubt any of them have any clue. The charge nurse that hugged me when he saw me crying in the hall the day my grandmother was dying. My wonderful L&D nurse holding me like a child while I got an epidural through Pitocin contractions, whispering in my ear how great I was doing the whole time because she could tell how scared I was. My son's pediatrician at his first appointment , smiling at us and saying "you guys are doing a great job" in her super kind, laid-back way after two weeks of hell worrying that my kid wasn't eating enough..
It's not that I didn't know at all before, but it's so different feeling it. The gravity of other people's goodness, and the opportunities we're given to be everything to someone for a moment. I took my job seriously before, but it weighs even heavier on me now.
Not to say that I'm not still sarcastic and salty as hell. Not that I'm not still small and petty or that I don't mess up on the regular. It's just that I know how scary and vulnerable it is to be in the care of someone else, and I appreciate just how far a little compassion can go.