Archive for the ‘Child Life Specialist career’ Tag

august 29, 2011: grad school.   Leave a comment

When discovering about my pending move to Chicago (about three years ago), my dad informed me that my recent graduate self once announced that I was going to apply for grad school in Chicago.  I guess I found some program- maybe journalism- at Northwestern and was convinced that it was the place for me.  Small college town near a big city: That’s where I thought I should be.  That little announcement, which I don’t remember making, would have been five years ago when I was suffocating living back at my parents’ house after those incredible 3 years at OU.  There’s so much irony there and for one, I never once set foot in Chicago- or even Illinois- at that time.

The crazy and most beautiful thing about life is that you never know where you’re going to end up.  At that time, all I wanted to do was move to Columbus and never come back to Pittsburgh again.  Child Life hadn’t yet been introduced to my vocabulary and I was still trying to figure out what to do with a general Bachelor’s Degree in English.  Fast forward to now, August 29, 2011, and the majority of people in my inner circle have heard me mention the term “Child Life” dozens of times and know about my decision to work full-time and enroll in a 2-year grad program.  (And try to manage a volunteer calendar and social life.) 

So here we go.  There’s no looking back now.  Bear with me because I’m sure it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

you look at the world with large brown eyes searching, believing, always wondering why.   1 comment

I really don’t know where to begin.  Gosh, I don’t even know what to say.  But I do feel like I need to say something. For my own sake, I need to say something.  On my last post I shared that I had a big decision to make, and I’m (sorta) happy to report that I made that decision or at least part of it.  And while I was happy about that decision, I found myself saddened by having to raise my voice in defending my decision to my mother.  To my mother, the woman who I hoped would understand and support my decision to overcome any obstacles and follow my heart.  I am so disappointed and upset with her right now that I honestly do not plan on talking to her anytime soon.  It breaks my heart but right now I cannot bear to be surrounded by anything/anyone that does not support my decision to pursue, what I believe to be, my life’s calling.

With my frustrations running down my cheeks (in the form of tears) as I rode the bus home this evening, I found myself struggling to make sense of it all.  From the decision I’ve been trying to finalize for months now until the moment my mom expressed her disapproval, I just couldn’t understand what lesson was meant to be learned.  Isn’t there always a lesson to be learned?  Isn’t there always a reason why everything happens? 

I stared out the rain-covered bus windows as the same-old thoughts and questions ran through my emotionally drained mind.  There I was again, Searching… Believing… (Always) Wondering Why.  Why can’t things be simple this time?  Why can’t I finally make my decision and be on my way to the happiness I seek?

As I look back on my life, I truly appreciate every bump in the road; every scar on my heart; and every mistake that turned into a lesson learned.  That’s the beauty of reflecting back on the past- you’re filled with admiration.  But when those bumps, scars, and mistakes are happening now, well it’s another story.  It’s difficult to gain perspective when you’re feeling overwhelmed with confusion and, perhaps, some heartache.  However, it’s not impossible.  For what we can do is take a very, very deep breath and let ourself take a moment to look down on the situation with (as) clear (of) eyes (as possible). So these large brown eyes of mine are going to keep searching for clarity; keep believing in my heart’s passion; and continue wondering why I let things get in my way of obtaining true happiness.  XOXO

PS. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. It’s been a long day and this really helps me feel a bit better.

decisions, decisions   3 comments

The Zac Brown Band instructs me to, “Quiet your mind. Soak it all in. Enjoy the ride.”  Thanks for the advice, Zac.  I promise I’m trying my best to do just that; however, it’s a difficult task when it comes to something you’re so passionate about.  Something that you truly feel is your calling life.  (And just for the record, this has absolutely nothing to do with a boy.)

Gosh, I wish this whole thing was about a boy.  Wouldn’t that make it easier?  Or at least I wish that a boy was involved with the making of this decision because then I’d have someone else involved instead of Me, Myself, and I.  How about it?  Does anyone want to fall in love with me (and vice versa) for the time being?

When I moved to Chicago two and a half years ago, it was the first time in my life when I really, really, really wished I had a boyfriend.  I just wanted someone by my side so I didn’t have to be alone.  Like always.  I just didn’t want to take care of myself.  I wanted someone to take care of me.  Between you and me, I find myself wishing the same thing right now.

I have a big decision to make and quite frankly I have no idea what to do.  I’ve been trying to feel it out but still nothing is screaming “Yes!” nor “No!” to me.  In fact, if anything, my own heart is being torn each way.  I’m here struggling to find the perfect solution between ration and desire; what my mind thinks and my heart feels; and most importantly, what is Best For Me.  Because even if I had a boyfriend to be included in his decision-making equation, I whole-heartedly know that I’d still have to choose based on what is best for me.

My parents will tell you that I’ve never been good at making decisions.  In fact, when people ask me what I want (to do), I tend to answer with the world’s most casual, “I don’t care. Whatever you want is fine with me.”  But unfortunate for me, this time I have to make a decision.  What is that decision going to be?

and there’s this burning, like there’s always been. i’ve never been so alone; and i’ve, i’ve never felt so alive.   2 comments

Monday, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt because I know it’s tough to follow this A*MAY*ZING weekend of mine.  And work, it’s downright impossible to measure up to two adorable kids, Max (22 mos) and Tommy (6 yrs), beautiful friends, and the fabulous Make-A-Wish Foundation.  But still, you could have at least put up some sort of fight today.  Instead you had me feeling nothing but emptiness.  To tell you the truth, after feeling so alive this weekend, the empty feeling hit me even harder.  Maybe that’s not fair to you, but it’s the truth.O

Everybody Needs Inspiration.  And in fact sometimes the ones that require inspiration are those that are known for inspiring others.  I Need Inspiration.  Fortunately I’ve been able to obtain it in the charitable and social aspects of my life; however, as others know (and I’ve shared before on here), it’s been lacking in another part of my life.  Today it was drastically apparent and therefore, I found myself fighting to feel anything (but emptiness). 

Tonight I came home to find the envelope I’m been waiting on for the past month (if not longer) and I’ve spent these last few hours trying to decide what am I going to do.  The one thing I know is where my Inspiration comes from and this opportunity allows me to follow that my passions.  However, the reality of this situation is that it may not be the right choice- which is what my instinct is whispering.  So here I am, trying to figure out how I’m deemed to spend the next 2 years of my life and truthfully I don’t have a clue.  I just want to do what I know I’m meant to do.  Do what I love to do… what makes me feel alive.

The unfortunate part is that I know I’ll struggle with that empty feeling again tomorrow.  And the next day, and the day after that.  But what keeps me going are the opportunities that light me up instead.  These moments that Let Me Be “Me”.

all i have are the choices i make.   Leave a comment

Darlene, one of the loves of my life, always knows the right things to say, even if I don’t know the right question to ask.  On Thursday afternoon she knew the right quote to share: Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. ~ William Jennings Bryan.  After a short reply of my own, Darlene wrote back: Perhaps because you are making your own destiny, my dear sweet friend 😮

Fate. Destiny.Everything Happens for a Reason. We’ve heard these words a thousand times before and can expect to hear them millions more.  And we, ourselves, tend to repeat them too.  But what about the words: Do. Take. Go. As in Do What You Want. Take Chances. Go After Your Dreams.  Why don’t we use these words more often to instruct & inspire others (and ourselves) about the reality that is known as life? 

Today I followed my own words of wisdom by attending Open House for a grad program that would allow me to Do What I Want; Take Chances; and Go After My Dreams.  Within the first twenty minutes I found myself overwhelmed with the notion, “this feels right…so it must be right”Now I say ‘overwhelmed’ because, quite frankly, while everything sounds good and aligns perfectly with my plans, I’m experienced enough to know that life doesn’t always go according to plan.  And here I am with Martina McBride’s song, Anyway, playing in my head: But do it anyway. Okay Martina, I will.  I’ll take this chance and apply.  And I’ll trust that whatever is right, will happen.  Whether or not the outcome begins with a “Congratulations!” letter, I have made the choice to do it anyway.  Do. Take. Go.

You know, Do. Take. Go. applies to so many other things too.  Like Love.  While I can surely find reason to argue against love being a choice (ie. fate/destiny), ultimately we do have a choice whom to love.  However, we really don’t have a choice over who loves us.  In other words, we cannot force someone to love us (back).  So what is one to do?        

I may not be the best person to answer this question (these days) as I find myself asking others, How do you know if a guy likes you? more times than I’d like to admit.  But I’ll try, as much as possible, to tackle the topic from an unbiased perspective.  So what is the question again?  Oh yeah… what role can we play in getting someone else to like us?  There’s only one way to do it: Be Yourself.  For some this may be the hardest thing to do, but I believe that it’s easiest when the right person is that hopeful recipient.  If you feel like you can be yourself, then, trust me, you know you’ve found the right one. 

So to wrap this up (and return back to my application), let me say this: Whether it’s a new job, new boy, or new opportunity, remember that You Always have a Choice.  You have the Power to Choose Your Own Destiny.  You could spend your whole life waiting…and waiting.  But where’s the fun in that?  The truth is, Everything Happens for a Reason because YOU make it happen when you take that first step, and then another and another after that. 

And one more thing: Those darn butterflies that we love to hate…love them, because they are an indication that something/someone is worth being nervous about.  So embrace those butterflies. Do What You Want. Take Chances. Go After Your Dreams.


* I sing * I dream * I love *

love, save the empty. save me.   2 comments

“I used to have an appetite for my life but now it is gone. I want to go some place where I can marvel at something.”   ~Elizabeth Gilbert, “Eat Pray Love”

For reasons unbeknownst to yours truly, my appetite has vanished.  Literally and figuratively.  As far as food goes, all I seem to be desiring lately is coffee (and lots of it), tea, hot apple cider (with chai), soup, and occasionally a Twizzler- or many Twizzlers.  (Twizzlers: My go-to stress-freeing ‘food’, as well as the choice of several of my dearest friends.)  And while usually tempting, that bowl of guacamole at our table on New Year’s Eve didn’t even appeal (much) to me.  Psychoanalysis welcomed.  Any relevance here?  Stress-related?

Seriously, what gives?  Where did my appetite for food disappear to?  And more importantly, where has my appetite for life gone? 


This morning on my way to the train I found myself lost in thought while waiting to cross at the infamous (and typically frantic) Clark/Broadway/Diversey intersection.  Instead of being surrounded by misguided tourists with shopping bags; cell phone- holding parents balancing babies, dogs, and coffee cups; dancing, paper-selling homeless men; and, every now and then, the crazy “Preacher”… the only thing I witnessed was the bitter Chicago winter air stinging my skin.   Other than that, I felt nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  I thought, How can I be here in this huge city, surrounded by inspiration- muses and crazies…lots of crazies- and not be moved by any of it? 

The light changed…and so did my mood.  Walking through the streets, I stumbled upon a memory from last night.  My empty self was soon full as I recalled the words that were spoken to me.  Spoken by a stranger.  Someone who didn’t know me.  But someone who saw something in me.  Someone who believed in me.

“You would make a fantastic nurse.” 

He spoke so softly with a kind voice.  Like a message from God.  He didn’t know me.  And for all I know, that was the first time he’d ever seen me.  The first time he ever saw me interact with a patient during my volunteer shift.  But I saw him come into the room to empty my 2-year old patient’s trash.  I didn’t hear him say anything in the room.  I doubt he said a word.  But he heard me.  He heard me talking to my little boy.  Playfully flirting with him to get this sick little boy to crack a smile or, preferably, stick his tiny tongue out at my silliness. 

But this stranger, My Messenger from God, did not have to say anything.  But he did.  I’m so glad he did.  He could have continued with his work as I washed my hands on the other side of the room.  He could have walked right past me and said nothing.  But he chose to do more.  He made the choice to say these kind words to me.  Words that filled my heart.  Words that I’ll never forget as they reminded me what my appetite for life is.  Simple words that are more meaningful to me than (other) words could explain.

 Although I thought about it, I decided to forgo mentioning my desire to become a Child Life Specialist after, what I hoped to be, a very sincere “Thank You” filled with gratitude.  I thought about it, but chose to enjoy this moment of contentment and understanding instead.  After all, sometimes Silence is the best response one can give.   

If I had to choose one word to describe me/my life, like Elizabeth Gilbert’s Attraversiamo from Eat Pray Love, mine would probably have to be one of two words: Journey. (for obvious reasons) or Patience.  As my mom’s email read today, “Good things come to those who wait.”  Whether or not my tired mind believes that statement right  now, it is the truth.  Or at least something that we must believe to be true.  Patience is definitely a weakness of mine, but life has certainly tested my patience many, many times.  And while I’m still far from claiming my Pro jersey, I’ll say that if you truly want something…really want something…then you have no choice but to be patient.  I won’t lie and tell you that it’s easy.  Because it’s not.  And I’ll be honest and admit that there will be days when you want to give up.  I’ve had my fair share of those and plan on seeing some more in my future.  However, no matter what obstacle may be thrown in your way, when you truly believe in something then you’ll let nothing come between you and your object of desire (goal).  You will always find a way to get around it.

If you want me to be honest & blunt right now, I will.  I will tell you that these past 2.5 years (which adds up to all of my days as a Chicago resident) have been a struggle.  The reason I moved here, my leap of faith, immediately proved to be a disappointment.  It was nothing that I thought it was going to be and everything that isn’t me.  I’ve struggled to get up in the morning and drag myself for the 1-1.5 hour morning commute, and, while I hate to admit it, I tend to feel “empty” for at least 8 hours a day.  While it’s everything I”m not and nothing of what I want, I continue to do it. Why?  Because I have to…until I don’t have to anymore. 

Please don’t feel sorry for me.  I don’t…anymore.  I won’t lie, that whole first year, maybe even 1.5 years, was dreadful.  But discovering my passion- what fills my empty soul- things have gotten much better.  I know what I’m good at; what makes me “me”; where I belong; and what I love to do.  Finally figuring that out is why I forbid you to feel sorry for me. 

Sure, I’m not there yet.  I’m not completely full yet.  And truthfully, I may never be.  But I’m being patient, and more importantly, I’m not giving up.  Because once you find what fills you, what makes you feel alive, then you just have to put all hands on deck and go for it.  Never give up.  Don’t you ever give up.

 Song of the Moment: Love, Save the Empty by Erin McCarley & Lovesick Mistake by Erin McCarley

there’s nowhere else i’d rather be   Leave a comment

Just like Fight Club, the first rule of volunteering at the children’s hospital is: You cannot talk about volunteering at the children’s hospital.   I’ll do my best not to break the rule, but I’m going to bend it as much as I can. 

After another blah day at work, I knew that kid therapy was exactly what I needed.  In our pre-shift meeting, I waited anxiously to hear the name “Marcus” from the list of referrals.  The patients’ names were called out one-by-one,  some familiar and others not.  But no “Marcus”.  I started thinking of who I would visit, when I heard his name.  Five minutes later I made my way to the 6th floor and immediately upon turning the corner near his room, I heard his cry of loneliness. 

As a nurse rushed in, I asked, “Is that Marcus?”

“Yep, that’s him.”

“I’ll be right there to hold him.”

After washing my hands, I smiled at the sight of my little boy.  “Do you remember me, Marcus?  I spent Thanksgiving with you.”   On Thanksgiving, I was introduced to my little boyfriend as he wailed…and thirty minutes later he fell asleep in my arms for a 3-hour nap.  I fell in love that day.  Since then I’ve been thinking about him.  Missing him.  Worrying about him.  Has he been sleeping?  Have his (young) parents been by to visit him?  Does he miss me too?

Last week I allowed another volunteer to visit him, but tonight I knew that there was nowhere else I’d rather be than holding him.  Minutes after rocking him in my arms, he was my little resting angel again.  He was so much more alert tonight: looking around the room, watching me, and I swear he even gave a few smiles.  As he laid there in my arms for 90 minutes, I dreaded leaving when 8:30 rolled around.  I could have stayed there all night if permitted, and I think my little man would have wanted that.  For a tiny little 5-week old, he has a strong grip on him.  He held my hand so tightly, as though he didn’t want to let go and I didn’t want him to either.

Tonight served as another reminder that this line of work is my calling…and that it’s the little things in life that mean the most.