A few weeks ago we took my kids on their first ski trip. Actually, it was the first time my younger one has ever seen snow!
The first 2 days, the kids were in ski school and my husband and I got to go ski the "fun stuff." We are both pretty advanced skiers so it was great going down the mountain, together, without kids, like we were dating again. I love anything outdoors and active, so this was the perfect antidote to the recent run of a lot of ED shifts.
But on the last day of our little trip, the kids revolted. They were exhausted from learning this new skill, in this new environment, in a new climate. No one wanted to go to ski school, and the only way we convinced them to get up the mountain was if we promised "family day." So, to the bunny hill we went.
The 4 year old rode the gondola down to town with me after 2 runs, but my 6 yo was still ready to show off her new skills. So she and my husband decided to try to ski down the longest run to the base of the mountain.
The look of sheer disbelief, awe and pride she wore when they walked off the slope 40 minutes later mirrored my own. She had "pizza turned"* the whole way down. Slipped and slid across parts of it, tumbled in others, but she did it. All 3 miles of snowy slope. Some of it way harder than her 2 day total skill level. All of it an entirely new experience.
I felt that way after running my first code. A mix of "what just happened" and "wow, I look like someone who knows what they are doing." Disbelief and gratitude and pride and fear. As this academic year starts to wind down and senior year is approaching, I look forward to having more of those moments. Medicine is humbling. The human body and whatever otherworldly spirit that accompanies it, is capable of incredible, unpredictable, and inspiring things. Our capacity to learn, study, and train in order to impact the course of the life of another person, or use our skills to intervene and directly affect their future, the future of their family, their destiny, is uniquely motivating.
I hope to keep motivating my children to push their limits and challenge themselves. Parenting my children gives me a window to parent myself. Motivate myself. As lifelong learning is a huge tenement of our field, I hope that lesson of small, slow, pizza turns, sticks with me.
* For those who don't ski, "pizza turns" refers to the wedge shape you make with your skis to slow down and control your speed.