The super cool and very special thing (to me, anyway) about this particular article is that it was first published in September 2007 in my hometown newspaper, The Hutch News, in Hutchinson, Kansas. The editor there agreed to run it as a one-time thing. This was huge to me, as it meant that my family, first of all, and then friends and other relatives got to see my very first work in print. I think God threw it in to encourage a very tremulous, doubting Thomas with a pen and as a bonus just because He could. It prompted, among other things, a phone call to my parents from my old grade school principal, of all things, who got a real shock out of seeing something from a former (veeeerrrrrry former) student who has lived out of state for years in the pages of his newspaper!
Without further ado, here it is.
“All Hands on Deck”
With the boys back in school now, things at our house are finally settling into a routine for the baby and me. The first week was a little dicey. He was cranky. He wouldn’t sleep. He organized a little protest march from my computer to his toys and back again. Fortunately, his attempt to stow away in a backpack was foiled by an alert older brother.
Thanks to modern technology, I am privileged to be a full-time mother with a full-time career. My commute consists of walking upstairs to my computer and booting up. Medical transcription is a very interesting and exciting field. It is certainly a different experience, working remotely for a person I have never met and listening to doctors I have never seen, but it allows me to ride shotgun on the homework crowd, keep the laundry going, and to care for my own baby. It’s a wonderful thing.
Well, most of the time it’s wonderful. It was all well and good when the baby was tiny. He would sleep under my desk in his car seat. When he fussed, I would literally rock his seat with one foot, press the pedal to play the dictation with the other foot, listen to the doctor with both ears, and type with both hands. Talk about multitasking – I think I wrote the book on it, but I was so sleep deprived back then that it’s all a blur.
Now that he’s mobile, however, the dynamics have changed. He no longer sleeps most of the day. He toddles. He climbs. He explores his world. And he loves to “help” me type. I will be working away, fingers flying at the keyboard, lost in a world of echocardiograms and colonoscopies when a hand appears out of nowhere and suddenly I am typing in ALL CAPS.
His other favorite button is “enter.” With a furtive little tap-tap, the cursor is not where I just had it. It’s down in my lap somewhere. The little monkey actually made a whole document disappear once. If it hadn’t been for the Microsoft recover feature, I would have had to type the darn thing twice. Thank you, Bill Gates!
Now, you have to understand. All of these activities are carried out at the speed of light. In a dizzying blur of motion he strikes, first from the left, then from the right, and then a hand appears from behind the keyboard. I am left reeling like a drunken sailor at my desk. After one such episode, it wasn’t until the double vision cleared that I saw he had, by all appearances, typed up a college thesis. In Swahili. He’s an overachiever, that one is.
Then there was the day I was typing along when suddenly the Holy Ghost fell on the dictating physician and he commenced to speaking in a foreign tongue. Upon investigating, it turned out that the baby had parked his Pampers on the fast forward button on my foot pedal. Speedy removal of the little fellow’s biscuits restored the good doctor’s impeccable command of the King’s English.
I keep threatening to hire myself a new assistant. I have fired this one multiple times, but he keeps coming back. Just as I’m about to pink slip him again, he peeks up at me from under my desk with impossibly blue eyes, hair curling around his ears, and six white teeth beaming innocently. I am instantly transported to the night he was born, five weeks before his due date. I will never forget the transport team bringing him in to us so we could say goodbye before taking him away to another hospital. I remember standing beside his incubator the next morning in NICU, watching him trying to cry with a tube in his throat. I cried for both of us. I remember how we prayed constantly those 11 difficult days, and I remember the joy we felt when we brought him home, this little boy who changed our lives.
And I just can’t do it. I crumple up the pink slip and throw it in the trash. I pick him up, kiss his dimple, and say, “Thank You, God!”
By the way, Christmas is coming in a few short months and I know exactly what this kid is getting. We’re buying him his own laptop. I’m tired of him writing his theses on mine.