Parenting Physician Mom Reflections


The summer after med school (1 whole year ago) I packed up the girls (aged 2 and 6 months at the time) into our new-to-us-and-has-a-dvd-player minivan and drove 687 miles to visit my parents, planning a one day drive.¬†¬† By myself.¬†¬† I had decided to start sewing, so I packed up¬†my new¬†collection of cute material and patterns for little girl dresses ¬†and¬†headed out¬†to “borrow my mom’s sewing machine” (aka visit gma and learn how to sew).¬† I wanted to surprise my mom so I didn’t tell her we were coming.¬† Dad was in on it.

We stopped 4 times in the first hour.  It was a harbinger of things to come.  I was nursing at the time and the baby hated her rear facing seat with a passion (she never really did get over that).   The dvd player entertained the 2 year old for exactly 13 minutes.  We had an amazingly glorious trip filled with stops at gas stations, rest areas, cafes, and one Sbucks.  I lost count of the stops we made. 

At a gas station for yet another potty break (at least that what she kept telling me – personally I think she just wanted out of the van, and who could blame her?!) the 2 year old snatched a 2-pack of bright pink “snowballs” off the shelf, declaring them hers.¬† As I started ripping the dreaded sugar filled atrocity out of her little claws I stopped.¬† Why not, I thought.¬† I’ve always wondered if those were any good.

It was about 10 minutes later that I heard this little voice say “Here, mom”.¬† Instinctually, I reached my arm back behind my seat without looking.¬† I felt something wet, slimy, and unmistakeably pink plopp into my hand.¬† I briefly closed my eyes and exhaled while pulling my hand back around to my lap.

Turns out she doesn’t like coconut.¬† Anyone who has ever eaten a “snowball” is familiar with the fact that they are approximately 35% coconut.¬†¬† In my hand was the rejected portion of snowball #1.¬† And the impetus behind stop #48.

We did eventually make it to my mom and dad’s.¬† The next day, and after a search and rescue mission led by dad.¬† They left at midnight to meet us a few hours from home at a casino.¬† That drive south was one of the most memorable and happy times of my 30’s so far – we had a goal, but we were completely flexible in how we got there.¬† What a terrific lesson in how the value of planning is often trumped by the necessity of change.¬† It was also a great way to bond with 2 terrific little girls.¬† The week at home was exactly what I needed before the beginning of a life-changing year – peace, quality time with family, and learning a new skill.¬† I made 7 dresses that week.

I have continued sewing this year, and my skills at the machine have improved steadily much in the same vein as my skills as a physician.¬† I have started making baby quilts in addition to dresses – both are quick and satisfying to make.¬†¬† I still have a lot to learn, both about sewing and being a doctor.¬†¬† Both are passions that challenge me and require a committment to¬†lifelong learning.¬† The two have become intertwined and I often find myself sewing more during times of increased stress at work.¬† It’s very therapeutic to sew straight lines, to forge new relationships and bonds between 2 unsuspecting pieces of fabrics, and to see a finished product.¬† While I enjoy the uncertainties¬†of medicine, I also really love the certainty of the stitch (and the chance to rip out the odd seam now and then again).

Oh, and snowball #2?  Mom and I shared it on the drive back to my house at the end of the week.  We both like coconut.