Tuesday, February 21, 2012

how different life could have been...

The following was written as a prompt from Write On Edge for the word "mentor"

he sat hurriedly scribbling his umpteenth report.
there was always somewhere to be. always someone on hold. always a life to save.
or to change. he had changed my life.

i was leaving that day after 6 weeks of learning, excitedly headed home with my boyfriend to lazy summer days and sleeping past 5 am. to the life of an over-driven college student who was burned the hell out.

before him, i had a very clear picture of what my future looked like. sterile, bright rooms filled with sterile, bright tools and people who needed fixed. i was to be a surgeon.

no one questioned the fierceness, the endless studying, the crazy anticipation of every exam, every grade. not until i questioned it over the course of that life-changing summer.

he was god-like with lives in his hands all day, every day. compassionate but professional. methodical but approachable. he was everything i had thought i'd want to be. but he and his team had families. faceless names that they hurried to in the dark, kissed goodbye while they still lay dreaming in the morning. doubtlessly beautiful children with voids where one of their parents could have been.

a great price comes with greatness. and that is, that those who love you the most, have to share you.
all day, every day.
it was a life he could graciously handle. a life that i could not. when i pictured my future, not only was i in an operating room. i was also nursing a baby with beautiful curls. i was fixing my husband dinner and picking laughing kids up from school.

i was not him after all.
it took 6 weeks of seeing true miracles played out in 18 hour workdays but slowly i realized that to be him that i looked up to with such awe, i would have to forfeit the type of mother that i also very much wanted to be.

so there, on my last day, i shook his hand and thanked him for the opportunity, because wow. it had been quite an opportunity. and as he was racing out to save another life, i simply couldn't find words to thank him for how he'd changed mine. so i just smiled and nodded, turned around and closed the door on that path.
thanks doc. i like to think you saved my children's lives too, in a much different way.


Renee Schuls-Jacobson said...

How cool, to write your doc a thank you letter!

Speaking as the wife of a doc, my hubby has received a few and he cherishes them.

Consider sending this to your doc.

For real.

It's magnificent.

Nancy C said...

Oh, how wonderful to both appreciate and kindly reject this path,and his choices.

And that last line is great. It lingers.

angela said...

I think this is so amazing, that you saw greatness and saw a path you had always imagined and then made a deliberate choice to go in a different direction. It was an unusual take on the idea of a mentor, that he guided your life by showing you what you didn't want to do, though you obviously admire him (and the work he does) very much.

Jo said...

thank you for the kind words!
i am so thankful that i was chosen for that internship- learned things i was ready for and obviously things i never anticipated ;)

Asproulla said...

Lovely -- a true mentor who showed multiple facets and guided in countless ways -- many of which you may not have appreciated fully until later.

I really like the way that you used line breaks and no capitals. That *can* come across as pretentious -- you make it work very well. :)

Julia said...

Oh I can't tell you enough how much I enjoyed this. I love your writing style.
I just feel it touched me on such a personal level. Making the choice between career and family. Wanting it all but making sacrifices. So good!

Jo said...

it really is so so so hard, isn't it? i am very fortunate to have found what i (think) is a great balance between the two but it is crazy every single day. is it easier for fathers? thank you for reading and commenting!