Monday, December 24, 2007

A Sanders Family Christmas

The past six years have brought a tremendous amount of change in my family. The root of the changes primarily started with my sisters getting married. My sisters' marriages have altered my family, my life, my time, my thinking, and many other aspects of my life. Their marriages altered the afore mentioned for them as well, but it also altered their priorities. A change in one's priorities can potentially change a great deal of things. A change in my sisters' priorities led to the cessation of Christmas as I had always known it. Admittedly it was hard at first, irritating even. Why should my life change because of the choices of others? But life isn't fair. And as time would have it, the Christmas' of the past, due to even more changes, are now gone forever.

So as time has passed I have pondered Christmas and family and tradition and the meaning and purpose and goal and function of it all. This led to many discussions between my mother and I. It seemed that Christmas often led itself to our family spending days on end in the same house, but not necessarily together. One would find their self in a book, another watching television, another on the computer, another sleeping for an inhumane amount of hours. And it seemed unfathomable that as the days passed with so many people in the same house, that they never really talked or experienced each other. Amazing and sad, pathetic even. So for many months my mother and I conversed. What should we do? How do we change it? Will we push to hard, to far? But the main question was, What do we do?

So, this past week the Sanders Family Christmas itenerary was born. It read as follows:

Saturday (12/22)
5:00 Dinner at the Watson's
Sunday (12/23)
9:00 Church
11:30 Family Lunch at Home – Pizza! Pizza!
1:15 Family Picture
1:45 Cookie Creations
6:00 Church
8:00 Sanders Family Talent Show (all must participate)
Monday (12/24)
9:30 Suduko Challenge (Boys vs. Girls)
10:00 Family Breakfast
10:45 Time for Christmas Presents
1:30 Family Lunch
2:30 Mystery Gift
4:00 National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Thoroughbred Theatre)
6:30 Family Dinner
7:15 Apples to Apples

Truth be told we did not follow the itenerary as perscribed. I was not schocked. Fortunately, I had prepared my OCD mind for this possibility so I was able to successfully go with the flow.

The talent show ended up on Monday instead of Sunday, all did participate, and it was a lot of fun. Even little Haydn had a part.

We weren't able to do the Sudoko challenge on Monday morning as one particular family was very late.

The family picture had to be redone on Monday. The one from Sunday turned out to dark, which was too bad because it was a great picture. But it was okay because my hair looked better on Monday.

The cookie creations were so much fun and we had to take family pictures of those too. Of course Mom's (a.k.a. Martha Stewart) turned out the best.

Dad and Mom

Christa, Haydn, Dewayne /Josh, Jonah, Chara

Me /John, Louise, Laura

Everyone had fun this year. Was it everything I hoped Christmas could be this year? Yes. And no. Life brings about change and change it hard to accept at times. I still find myself in the warmest (in the spiritual sense, not the temperature sense) of houses, hearing the sounds of joy and laughter, smelling the scent of savory foods, and residing in the shadow of two patriarchal figures; but the house is not the same, those that gather are not the same, the two partriarchal figures are not the same, the grandchildren are not the same, and the location is not the same. I suppose one will always long for that which began their fondest of memories. I wore a sweater today that the original matriarch gave me on a previous Christmas - that was my small way of having that far away, long ago place reside with me.

This Christmas did bring with it the vision of the future and there is so much hope, promise, and treasure that lies ahead.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good nite!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Winter Break

Winter Break has officially started and I have a semester's worth of credit from Vanderbilt University. 1 down and 5 more to go or 1 year and 7 months left. It's amazing in some ways how fast this semester passed, especially since at some times I thought it would never end. I spent from this past Friday night to Wednesday morning studying for final exams. I had one on Monday, one on Tuesday, and a final one on Wednesday. I've been so mentally tired that I've been doing some crazy things like trying to step into my shirt when getting ready for bed the other night believing they were shorts, opening my car window when meaning to put my turn signal on, and a few other things that were truly humorous. I don't know all of my final grades yet, but I'm okay with them. I didn't make all A's, but I did my best, so it's okay. I learned a lot of things that I can do different/better for next semester.

Next semester starts on January 7th and we take off running from day 1. The spring semester is only 14 weeks long, but we have 15 weeks of clinical to squeeze in, so the first 4 weeks we are doing 5 weeks worth of work. Crazy times!! So, I'm already looking forward to February. Truthfully though, I am enjoying the challenge of school. I find that getting up early, in my scrubs, with my stethoscope toggled around my neck, making my 2.5 block trek to the hospital amid the other nurses and health professionals makes me feel strong and important, useful. I am enjoying learning and growing. I constantly have to fight with myself to believe that I can do this and that I am capable and that I've made the right choice.

I suppose I feel a little embarrassed at times for going back to school. People will laugh and say I'm a life long student or joke that I need to make up my mind. Younger classmates think it's funny that I already have a Master's degree and yet here I am (although, most of the older students (27+) have Master's degrees). I guess I've always desired to have direction in my life, to present myself as a professional, determined individual, to live as someone who knows where they're going. I've always wanted to be that person that people want to emulate. I feel that my "wishy-washyness" in regard to my "career" degrades my credibility and takes away from those characteristics I desire and pursue to present. I suppose my decision to go back to school causes me to question my loyalty to my new found profession.

On the other hand I'm very proud of myself and in someways feel that for the first time in my life (in regard to "career") I am finally following my heart and pursing my goals. I've always, since as far back as I can remember, had a fear of failure. When I was in elementary school I wouldn't read books because I was afraid I couldn't finish them - I eventually conquered this fear. But sometimes facing the fear is more rewarding that not failing.

Tomorrow I'm taking my niece to the movies. I have no homework to worry with. For now, I am blessed.