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#4 – Study Buddies Got ‘er Done (Top 10 Experiences of 2018)

This year goes down in the annals of family history as the one in which our middle reached her biggest educational goal.

When it was all said and finally done, her sweet hubby threw the most amazing party, and we were a family bursting with pride.

Especially me.

My daughter and I had been study buddies for 10 whole years.

She Was One of Those Who Knew

When the highlights of her elementary school summers involved bandaging a little brother’s cuts and scrapes, the family thought we might have a budding medical professional in our midst.

Before long, our empathetic little girl was eagerly declaring her lifelong intentions.

Aly knew for sure and for certain she wanted to be a nurse when she grew up.

Anatomy & Physiology

Our local district offered a healthcare course of study that prepared students to receive qualifications for  CNA – Certified Nurse Assistant – while in high school. She went to the main campus in the mornings, then rode a bus over to the satellite location where she started taking the courses that really got her blood pumping.

It was then that we became study buddies.

Night upon night, we spent time after dinner learning and learning and learning some more about the body. We created flash cards and study guides about the body, its systems and basic things nurses need to know like the backs of their caregiving hands.

Working and Working

During those days in high school, Aly’s CNA allowed her to work with the elderly in a local nursing home. She continued working there through high school and during nursing school after that.

We so enjoyed hearing her stories of the people she truly loved.

Once she became an RN, she worked on the floor at the hospital and then started immediately in the master’s level program through University of Texas Health Sciences Center, which led to her move to Houston where she became a circulating nurse in a cardiac OR at Memorial Hermann.

She’s Made for It

When it comes to middles, research shows that these are children who grow up into adults who feel less pressure to conform, think outside the box and are highly empathetic.

During the terrible two’s, I was reading Dr. Dobson’s Strong-Willed Child, looking for direction on how to parent a little girl who always wanted to do it her way, or else, but her decisive nature was an underlying blessing when it came to sorting out her destiny.

But The Struggle Was Real

For some students, studying and test-taking isn’t really a stress-completely-out kind of occurrence, but for others, it’s just a whole lot harder. For Aly, it was always a struggle.

She loved what she was learning, knew the material well, worked in the field every day, but when test days rolled around, this girl was an emotional basket of nerves.

Studying With My Daughter Was a Blessing

Our family jokes that if I had taken the tests with her, I could now be a nurse beside her.

But here’s the thing. Not everyone is cut out to be a nurse, and I am definitely not.

When Aly was about four years old, she ran into our bedroom, slipped and fell at just the wrong place on the hard wooden sides of our 80’s waterbed. Her eyebrow split right open, and Mike ran to her first. He told me to wait just a minute before I looked at her, then covered her eye with a rag. He didn’t want to alarm either of us, but he knew my low tolerance for cuts and blood, so he placed her back to his face and bore into my eyes. She’s got a cut and we’ll need to take her to the doctor.

Yeah, I kept it together till we got her back home with the stitches in place, and then I cried like a baby. I sometimes have even been known to shake uncontrollably when my kids have gotten hurt. So, I was never, I repeat, never interested in learning to be a nurse.

But oh, I really loved studying with our child who never wanted to do anything else.

I Was Her Group

For a while, I tried to get her to find a study group. Finally, I understood that when she got home from working in a hospital all day, the last thing she wanted to do was head to a coffee shop and study with people she didn’t know.

So, we mixed in some how-was-your-day with a lot of I-bet-this-will-be-on-the-test, and Facetimed for a jillion hours that I look back on as one of the most incredible parts of my mom-life.

It Took a Long Time

Ten years of Aly’s life was spent knowing that she should be, could be, or would be studying that night. When she got married, her hubby had to understand and do the laundry and watch TV while his new bride went over the signs of first one disease and then another.

Going from high school classes for a CNA to a Master’s in Nursing to becoming a licensed Nurse Practitioner just takes a long time.

She’s a Nurse Prac Now

And then it was done. It was so done!

While I helped, it was our strong-willed, non-conforming middle child who did the real work. She was the one who answered all the multiple choice questions, and she was the one we cheered on that candlelit night of celebration.

My daughter is the one wearing the white coat with the red initials over the front pocket, but could anyone be more proud than her study buddy?

Nah. I don’t think so.

Thank You

We couldn’t be more grateful to God for giving us a persistent baby girl who turned into an incredibly magnificent young woman, married to the world’s greatest son-in-law.

Tonight, though, on the last day of 2018, I want to thank you, my amazing daughter, for the privilege of being your study buddy.

Watching you reach your goal was one of my top 10 Experiences of 2018 – and my whole entire life.

We Got ‘Er Done! 

Your devoted encourager,

PS: Here are links to my other Top 10 Experiences of 2018.

#10 – I Made the Statesman

#9 – Sunrise at Palo Duro Canyon

#8 – Mornings by the Pool in Austin

#7 – Birthday on a Boat at Lake Travis

#6 – Culinary Firsts – Eateries, Food Trucks & Challenges

#5 – Water, Water, Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink

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  • Aly

    I could not have done it without you, Mom. You’re the best! Thank you for being patient with me. ❤️

    • Brenda McDearmon

      Thank you, Sweetness. What a journey we took together. I love you bunches. Mom