Monthly Archives: May 2010

reads: 50-50

I frequently read a blog called Mothers in Medicine. I’m often intrigued by the question of whether women can “have it all.”  the women who contribute to this blog answer that question by sharing their experience of juggling the titles of med student/intern/resident/doctor and mother.

one of these women shared a beautiful story last week.  forget 50-50.


The patient I saw yesterday had been married for almost 70 years. Wow! You don’t see that often. Many people don’t even live for 70 years all total. I congratulated them on it and remarked about how wonderful it was, but the conversation quickly turned to their concerns: their kids and grandkids and greatgrandkids (can I still be around them if I am on chemo?) and vacationing in Florida every winter (is is still safe for her to do it?)

At the end of our visit, my last of the day, her husband said, “May I ask you a personal question?” “Sure,” I answered. “Are you married?” “Yes, for 8 years, 3 kids 6, 4, and 2.” They beamed. Then he said, “So, don’t you want to know the secret to staying married for 7 decades?” I thought about that for a moment. Of course I wanted to know. I am in a profession with a high divorce rate. I am married to someone who is active duty military, a group that also has a high divorce rate. I am the child of divorced parents. I hadn’t really given it much thought before, but if I had, I might have felt doomed. So suddenly, the social history felt more like a gem than usual. “ABSOLUTELY! PLEASE!” I replied. He said, “Forget 50-50.”

more here.


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photo: only in mn

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photo: pepin poptart

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thoughts: thank you, minnesota

ah, minnesota.  how I’ve missed you.  your fresh air and clean lakes.  your two-lane highways and smog-less sky.  your predictable drivers and endless trees.  your late spring, free of mosquitos.

thank you for your memorial day weekend cabin getaways.  thank you for your lakes.  your booooats, tubes, and waterskis.  your docks and views.  there are still places where peace and quiet exist.

thank you for your baaagels.  your open fields.  your sudden downpours.  your never-ending construction and top-notch medical care.

thank you for having no sales tax on clothes.  thank you for your niceness.  your new target field and old homes.  thank you for your yoga.  in this past week I’ve practiced to justin bieber, bob marley, the beatles, and ludacris.  thank you.

thank you for your humid days and starry nights.  your porches and bonfires.  thank you for your small-town feel next door to big city lights.

minnesotans like to say that the winters here are so brutal to keep the weaklings out.  they also know that minnesota is a neatly kept secret.  underneath the occasional blizzards and below zero temps is a hidden treasure.  I’m biased, of course, having grown up here.  but it doesn’t bother me when people call minnesota a fly-over state or think it’s just full of farms and cows.  because I know something they don’t.

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thoughts: seven cards

I spent an obscene amount of money on greeting cards this week.  turns out so-called “hallmark holidays” require many cards.  in my case, seven.  seven cards for mother’s day.

after getting past my shock at the cash register’s total, my mind started reeling around this holiday.  I’ve always thought that being a parent, and being a mom in particular, is one of the most rewarding, yet least acknowledged jobs.  of course, I can’t speak from experience, but it seems to me that moms do a lot of things that no one thanks them for.  no one pays them for.  no one recognizes them for.

in return they hope to receive a well-adjusted, loving, caring adult 18 years later.  this after the late nights, the early mornings, the terrible twos, the toddler tantrums, the last minute school projects, the forgotten lunches, the “mom you’re so embarrassing,” the door slams, the eye rolls, the breaking curfew, and a variety of other unfortunate occurrences.  let’s face it. if this were any other job, no one would last 18 years.

of course, it’s the other moments that must make moms stick around.  the first smile, the first steps, the first day of school.  the hugs, the drawings, the macaroni necklaces.  the proud moments, from scored points in little league to high school graduation.  the “I love you, Mom,” especially when it comes from a teenager.

I admit this is all speculation.  but I find it remarkable that these women, these mothers, have the strength to be responsible for another human being.  to selflessly work day in and day out to ensure that someone else is taken care of.  to make sacrifices in the best interests of their children.  these women are amazing.

when my mom was my age, she had a toddler, me.  I keep a picture of us, from moments after my birth, in my home.  when I look at it, I can’t help but marvel at her spirit and strength.  it makes me want to take advantage of every opportunity.  to do good.  to persevere.  to make my mom proud.

surely, a card once a year is the least I can do.  and it can’t even begin to convey the gratitude and admiration I have for her.

while loathing the amount deducted from my checking account, I realized my great fortune.  seven beautiful women.  seven women who I look up to and admire.  1 mom, 1 step-mom, 4 grandmothers, and 1 great-grandmother.  7 mothers.

I owe each of them so much more than a card.  they support me and inspire me.  to her, to them, thank you.

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