This past week was National Nurses Week and Sunday we recognize our mothers.
Today, I want to recognize one woman, who to me, is both.
Growing up in northeastern Ohio, I remember coming home from school to spend a little time with my mom before she left for the night shift as a registered nurse. When I got a little older, I remember her showing us gross pictures of pressure ulcers and gaping wounds at the dinner table (spaghetti was not a popular meal on those nights).
The dedication of nurses goes beyond words. The compassion and care they show on a daily basis must be both exhausting and rewarding.
One Christmas Eve, my mom had to cover the night shift at the nursing home she worked at. My brother and I were bummed, but my dad (I absolutely love him for this) cooked up the usual feast for Christmas dinner, loaded it all into the back of our minivan and took us (and dinner) to my mom at work.
Beyond my mom’s stories, I got to see first-hand the life of nurses when I was in junior high school. I volunteered at the same nursing home where my mom was employed. I worked in the activities department —playing games, reading and watching movies with the residents. I often saw the blood, waste and other bodily fluids nurses routinely waded through. I also saw the sometimes less than thankful patients treat nurses in a disrespectful manner. It could not have been easy.
By watching my mom in her career, I also learned to reach for the stars.
No, I never once thought about being a nurse. But watching my mom advance in her career and still make it home to drive me to softball practice made me realize I could do anything (once I could drive).
My mom (and my dad) have always been students. They both worked toward degrees while raising my brother and me. They both are continuing to pursue secondary degrees. Their example, I think, is what led to my natural curiosity. By becoming a journalist, I too wanted to spend my life asking questions and learning.
Now that I live in Wyoming I don’t get to see my mom much — though technology like FaceTime has helped.
I’ve developed relationships with many women — young and old — who have provided motherly advice when needed. So to all of my mothers, thank you. Happy Mother’s Day.
Kristen Czaban is managing editor of The Sheridan Press.