Dearest Patient of Mine,
You always ask me: “How can you do this all day?” My response: “How could I not?” To be honest, without you, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. And, today, I want to thank you.
I arrived in Salisbury, NC, with my husband and two young daughters as a 33 year old newly-graduated OB/GYN. What you probably didn’t know was that, prior to moving, I had lived within the same 30 mile radius my whole, entire life. Through elementary school, middle school, high school, college, graduate school, medical school, and residency. So, moving to Salisbury was a big deal! But you welcomed me with open arms and you made me feel comfortable. You gave me recommendations, suggestions, advice. You shared your life lessons. You mothered me…and I needed that.
We talked about your life, but I shared mine as well. I always knew that I would get the very best advice from you. You always had all the right answers and always led me down the right path.
I wore a heart-shaped pin with an updated picture of my daughters on my lab coat and, at every appointment, you asked how they were doing. I shared cute stories, special moments and updated you on their lives and you always seemed like you were interested.
You completely understood when I had to reschedule an appointment so that I could attend a school function or see a golf match. You always said the same thing: “Enjoy every minute of it! It goes by so fast.” And, as always, you were right.
And, as my girls grew up, you helped me survive each major milestone. Driver’s licenses, first boyfriends, first kisses, Proms, graduations, and the worst of all….sending them off to college. With a gentle pat on my hand or a knowing smile, you knew exactly what I was saying when I said it. You knew the deeper meaning. The long game of getting a driver’s license or graduating from high school. You knew the joys and the heartbreaks to come. And you gave me strength.
You recognized when I was exhausted and you offered me a hug, looked into my eyes and advised me to get some rest.
You forgave me when I was unhealthy and overweight…and you understood. And, when you realized how unhappy I was, you encouraged me to make changes in my life. I heard you. And when I made those changes, you supported me.
With laughs, hugs and tears, you’ve guided me through my marriage, motherhood, career….and life.
You’ve mothered me through the loss of my own mother. You knew the pain…and shared that with me. You let me cry…and we cried together.
Although I no longer wear the heart-shaped pin with my daughters’ pictures in it, without fail, at every appointment, you still ask how they are doing. You never forget.
I talk about you everyday. I share your advice, saying, “my patient said….” I share your tips, your suggestions, your wisdom. You’ve made me a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, doctor…and person.
Over all these years, you’ve been there for me. Guiding me down this path of life. And, the best part is, I’ve been able to pass along your motherly lessons. When I see a younger woman in my office, I offer her the advice that you offered me. I give her the gentle pat on the hand, the knowing smile. I know the long game…just as you did.
So, on this day. Mother’s Day. I want to thank you. Thank you for your kind words, thoughtful gestures, knowing looks, good advice, helpful tips, life lessons, yummy recipes, book suggestions, and on and on and on….
So, you see, when you ask “how I could do this all day” all I can do is imagine all the women that don’t have thousands of mothers to help them through this journey. My response: “how could I not?”
Thank you. Happy Mother’s Day!