The eldest wants to be a dentist. It has been her life-long dream and she hasn't wavered from it. To prepare, she has taken more college level classes than I ever could have handled at her age. She is also taking advantage of a Certified Nurse's Assistant program that is offered as an elective. Her first CNA clinicals started today. They were held at a nursing home and she was mortified that she would make a mistake. Though I told her not to worry, I could see that she was looking past my words; keys in hand, trying to memorize in her head all the rules that were given to her.
"Is my hair right?"
"Is my name tag on the right side?"
"Are my nails a pale enough color?"
"Does my watch have a second hand?"
"Will I get yelled at?
"What if I don't know how to do the tasks people ask of me?, What if we haven't covered it yet?"
All of these questions and situations were floating in her head. Mixed with anxiety, I could see it weighing her down.
"You look great. You'll do fine. I'm so proud of you." were the only words I could find.
I too, was looking past her, trying to remember where my little girl went. The one who would ask me what dress would give the best "twirl" when she spun around. The one who waved to me while she wobbled on roller blades, then ice skates. The one who sang Brittany Spear's songs at the top of her lungs in the shower. The one who played barbies and laughed with her friends in the yard. What happened to the little girl who grabbed my hand when we walked into stores and school?
I was nervous for her when she left.
I was relieved when she pulled in the drive-way 6 hours later.
I was thankful she felt comfortable enough to sit down and share the going-ons of her shift.
"Was your hair all right? Were your nails acceptable? Were you nervous?" Those were my questions.
"Everything was fine, mom. When I got there, I did my job. The people were nice, the time passed quickly...I kind of liked it."
"What was your favorite part?" I asked, wondering if it was that she knew some of the other CNAs, or that maybe some funny scenario occurred.
"You know, they were sweet, kind people. They seemed so happy to see me, even though they didn't know me. I think what they liked best was that there was just someone there to listen to them, to be in the same room as them, to hear what they had to say..."
I had to look away for a minute. She understood what it takes others a lifetime to get. People just want to be heard. They want to be smiled at genuinely. They want to matter. None of those patients cared what she looked like, but instead appreciated how she treated them.
That little girl who laughed and twirled until she fell down from dizziness is all grown up. I am beyond proud.
Happy Saturday, friends :)