Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Recap

A wonderful exhaustion comes from a week of family, friends and celebrating the birth of our Lord.  I am forever thankful for the people in my life who value time together just as much as I do.  I hope your Christmas was full of all things good and feelings of love and happiness fill your heart as you take a deep breath and remember each moment.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

When I found this it gave me the exact words I had been searching for.  It's never easy to leave a place you have settled in, but it is worth it for the new people and places you will experience.  When I look back on the past five or six years, I am reminded of the many people and places who have pieces of my heart all over this country and that is a good feeling to have.  

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Adventures

It's been three and a half years since I said good-bye to the life I knew.  Good-bye to friends, family, home and familiarity.  That good-bye meant getting married, moving to a new state, finding a new home and starting a new job.

We didn't know what we were doing, but we figured it out.  We had our first Christmas away from family and even played in a Virginia blizzard.

We made new friends who became more like family

We found an amazing church where we were able to grow in our faith

We lived for beach days....well I did.

And survived our first hurricane

We went to the zoo

We worked a little

And traveled a lot

We learned about life, love and how to be a family.

Now we are back in a familiar, but surprisingly strange place.  It's time to say good-bye so we can welcome the new adventures coming our way.  It's weird to think about leaving Virginia because this is where we grew up.  We became a team here and learned to balance work and home life.  We have so many happy memories and met people who have changed our lives.  We are different then when we started...we are better.

On to Pennsylvania...
We will continue to grow as individuals and as a family.  We will welcome our first baby and reconnect with family.  We will start new jobs, meet new people and have new adventures.  Life will be different, but we will treasure our time in Virginia and the people who have changed our lives forever.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A little less therapizing

Warning:  this post is wordy, but worth it and no, the word therapizing is not a real word...

I worked with a patient who was involved in an extremely traumatic event that required her to be hospitalized in the PICU.  She was a toddler who refused to talk at first.  She was, appropriately, anxious with strangers as her family was not bedside.  She indicated by shaking her head that she would color if provided the materials.  I strategically chose crayons, plain white paper and a coloring book, hoping she would utilized the plain paper to tell her story, but wanting her to have choices as well.  I was pleasantly surprised and actually excited when she chose the white paper and began intently creating her masterpiece.  She worked for about 15 minutes, which was quite an effort given her age.  She was specific and seemed to choose her colors with care.  

My years of training and education taught me that this patient was using the tools to share her trauma and work through the stress she must be experiencing.  I knew she probably wouldn't have the vocabulary to discuss her art, but as long as she had the opportunity to work through her stress, I had done my job as a child life specialist.  

When she finally finished, she simply moved the paper to the side and picked up her coloring book.  Being the good child life specialist that I am, I let the patient continue in her play while I looked over her drawing.

I attempted to create meaning behind this creation and searched for hidden messages relating to the trauma, but of course, I am not an art therapist and came up short.  The social worker then came in to do a needs assessment, but saw the drawing first and asked the patient about her creation.  The patient calmly looked up and said "it's her" pointing to me.  What?  How could this possibly be a picture of me?  Where was the therapeutic value?  Confused the social worker asked for a little clarification.  This little one explained the two circles were of course my eyes with my eye lashes, the black line was my nose and the red was my hair...duh. 

This child wasn't traumatized at all and after taking some time to color she quickly warmed up to me and the other staff.  Her play remained normal and she showed no signs of distress during the rest of her hospitalization.  I was reminded that kids just need the opportunity to be kids and, if we over analyze their play, we may miss that special moment where the drawing is just an expression of friendship.

I can't help but wonder if those eyes are beautiful art or a sign I need to get more sleep.  Either way I will treasure the picture and remember that the work of children must be respected, but never over analyzed or judged.