My mom and I were at the Bloomsburg Fair, an annual week-long event in central Pennsylvania; I couldn’t have been more than a teen at that time so it was at least 20 years ago. As we were walking through one of the exhibit buildings, an older gentleman had just collapsed so my mom shoved me out of the way to run and help this man and I remember thinking, “Gee mom, thanks for shoving me over” as she was kneeled over his body.
As far as I remember, he was ok. I think he just must have lost consciousness for a few moments. We stayed there until she knew that help had arrived and she left him in the care of other professionals and we went on our way. But I still remember feeling dumbstruck that she literally pushed her own daughter out of the way to help some stranger and I think I said something to her about it too.
Fast forward to today, as I myself (finally) am pursuing a career in nursing and someone asks me why nursing, that is the one memory that my mind conjures up every time and I think that this specific memory was so significant because that was the only time, even to this day, that I ever really saw my mom, who has been a nurse for over 40 years now, in “nurse mode.” I mean, don’t get me wrong, she nursed me and my siblings when we were sick and treated our injuries, but she was just being mom.
There’s something altogether different when you see someone you think you know so well doing what they were born to do and you realize that there is an enormous amount that you really don’t know. Now, instead of shock, I look back on that event in awe and I think, “Wow, my mom was/is a badass nurse and I just saw her in her element.”
And that’s what it means to be a nurse. It took me a while, mom, but I think I’m finally getting it.
Thanks to Tiffany Geiling nee Berg for writing in.