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.