That Time We Got Hit By A Drunk Driver: A Personal PSA Against Drinking And Driving

This past weekend, my family and I were in a pretty bad car accident. We were on our way home from dinner and I was thinking about the leftover pumpkin pie we had in the frid—BAM!

A pick-up truck slammed into us and slammed us into the pick-up truck in front of us.

My first thought was, “What the hell just happened?”  The confusion quickly gave way to fear because all I heard was my children’s screams from the backseat. I turned around and saw both of them shaking and screaming and crying for help. My husband quickly unbuckled and got out of the car and into the backseat for my son. I unbuckled and reached into the backseat to grab my daughter, screaming for the other people involved in the accident to call 911. At that point, I had no idea whether either of my children were seriously injured.

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My head was pounding. Suddenly, a police officer was at the scene, asking me if the children were okay. “I don’t know,” I stammered. “I don’t know.” We got the children checked out and miraculously, they didn’t have as much as a scratch on them.  I’m still thanking God. Over and over and over again.

The driver was arrested at the scene for driving while drunk and spent the weekend in jail. Good. However, he’s now out, awaiting his court date.

Now, a few days later, I’m still a little shaken up. At every red light I’m panicking. When I close my eyes, I can still feel the jolt from getting hit. I can still hear my kids screaming. My nightmares are upsetting and I am still scared.

I’ve spent this week indulging in self-care: baking, taking lots of naps and trying to do things to lift my spirits. I wanted to write a little about this, just so I can clear my head, as writing as always been the best way for me to sort through my feelings. Yes, a list might be the weakest way to present my thoughts here but this will have to do:

1) I really really love my children – This is the reason I am still shaking four days later. I am so thankful that they weren’t physically hurt, even as they are dealing with their fears of getting “kaboomed” again (their term for the crash).

2) Drunk driving is more common than I previously believed – the driver was stumbling around the crash scene, asking questions and apologizing but he wasn’t really making any sense. It was “only” 6:30 p.m., so who is out on the road, drunk at that time of day? But according to MADD, someone is injured in a drunk driving crash every two minutes. EVERY.TWO.MINUTES.

3) I have to allow myself to feel what I feel – When people have asked me how I’m doing, I smile and say, “I’m fine.” But really…I’m not. And I need to be okay with that and allow myself to go through the motions of getting back to normal.

4) Children are surprisingly resilient – After the crash, the ambulance took us to McDonald’s to wait for my parents to come drive us home after they towed the car away. My kids were running around playing and I was sitting there still in shock. I couldn’t believe they were laughing and playing. Healthy. Uninjured. Alive.

5) Material things seem much less important now – The car is totaled but I don’t care. (Also, shout out to Chevy engineers for keeping us safe in the interior. We went to go get our things out of the car at the impound lot and if you looked in the interior, you’d have no idea the car had been in an accident! I had been concerned when my husband came home with the Chevy Cruze, that it was such a small car. But ultimately, the salespeople were right – it was an incredible safe and well designed car.)

6) I am not in control of a damn thing – I am such a control freak and I keep running through my head what I could have done differently to avoid this situation. But there’s nothing. I am not in control of a damn thing and that’s kind of scary.

Please consider this my PSA: Do not drink and drive. It is not worth it. You might have a beer or two and think you’re okay, but don’t even take that chance. Have someone else drive or spend the night with a friend.

 

[Date Night] “Beyond The Lights” Brings Love Back To The Big Screen

I’m a sucker for a good love story.

Show me two people falling for one another, helping each other grow and evolve, and I’ll show you a woman who is swooning.

Gina Prince-Bythewood, director of both Love & Basketball and Disappearing Acts, knows how to write incredible love stories. So I knew I was going to go see her new film, Beyond the Lights, as soon as I saw a trailer earlier this year.

A lot of folks I know were underwhelmed by the trailer and I get it: In an industry where there are more superheroes, more car chases, more splash, more flash than ever, a good ol’ fashioned love story doesn’t stand out like it should.

But I saw Beyond the Lights at an advanced screening this week and I am a fan. Truly.

The movie has a lot of layers: biracial parenting, father-son legacies, sexualization of female artists in the music industry, mismatched love affairs and more. I left the theater feeling hopeful and a believer in real, powerful all-encompassing love again.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Belle”) plays Noni, a troubled singer on the verge of a major breakthrough. She’s drowning in her hyper sex kitten persona and no one in her inner circle, including her ambitious momager Macy, seems to care long enough to get her the help she needs. When she tries to commit suicide by falling off a balcony, handsome LAPD officer Kaz Nicol (played by Nate Parker, “Red Tails”) is there in time to save her. The two connect and begin to explore what their lives would feel like if they were in this thing together.

This film is very sensual and be advised that if you are not happy about your love life, this flick will have you all in your feelings.

Prince-Bythewood began writing the screenplay six years ago after coming home from an Alicia Keys concert where she was mesmerized by the lyrics to Keys’ “Diary” and inspired to create a love story. But studios didn’t believe a movie about love (with two black leads!) could be successful.

“I’m not going to lie,” she said during a recent Reddit AMA. “There were days when it was tough to pick myself up, but this was a story that I was so passionate about and that fueled my fight. And the knowledge that I just needed one ‘yes.’ I’ve been here before. Everybody turned down Love & Basketball. So once you’ve made it through, you know you can do it again.”

So everyone, I’m urging you to go see it. Take your boo. Or your girlfriends. Or your cousins. Support female directors who consistently produce quality content!

Beyond the Lights is in theaters today. Find a showing near you here

Finding Beauty And Making Memories In Unexpected Places

I’m a Midwestern girl through and through. I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, went to college 45 minutes away, and bought my first home 15 minutes away from my alma mater. When I say I love Northeast Ohio, I mean it. But as of late, life has gotten downright boring here in my little corner of the state. I felt like I’ve seen it all and done it all and I just want more to do.

But a recent trip to nearby Mansfield, Ohio, has convinced me that I have seen very little of the state I claim to love. In working with the Mansfield and Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, they helped arrange a fun little weekend getaway trip for my family, giving us a new perspective on life right outside our backdoor.

A mere two counties west from us was Mansfield, an older former industrial town that, much like the rest of the cities in the Rust Belt, used to be vibrant with blue-collar workers and booming factories. After a few decades of decline, these cities are bouncing back in a big way. I admit I didn’t know what to expect from Mansfield, but I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun we had in small town Ohio.

The Blueberry Patch

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Since we were visiting in the fall, we weren’t able to actually pick blueberries at the Blueberry Patch, which is the largest blueberry farm in Ohio. But we had an amazing time anyway. We got there around lunchtime, so we ate at Blossoms Cafe, right at the front of the farm. It’s called a cafe, but I was really impressed with the hearty selections and portions. My husband and I ordered the stuffed pepper soup (so good it inspired me to make my own recipe once we got home) and my son ordered pizza, with my daughter eating the chicken and apple salad.

The gift shop was good for browsing, with me looking at essential oils and specialty teas and my kids looking at anything that looked like a toy. We got to go out to the fields, even though the blueberries were already harvested and frozen for customers. But it was a beautiful fall day and we got “attacked” by ladybugs, which made my kids squeal.

I’m looking forward to going back in the summer, when the blueberries are ripe and ready to be picked. Blueberry pie, anyone?

Hours May Through End of Blueberry Season: Monday-Saturday 9 am-7 pm, Sunday 11 am-5 pm. Blossoms Cafe Open Daily till 4 pm

Little Buckeye Children’s Museum

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This is one of the best children’s museums I have ever been to. It is deceptively small from the street, but once you walk in, there’s two floors full of hands-on, interactive exhibits, all built to capture the imagination of children up to age 12. Admission is cheap at $7 for everyone ages 2 and up and there’s easily hours of fun inside.

Little Buckeye Children's Museum

Little Buckeye Children's Museum Mansfield

What I loved most was how dense the space was. I was a bit overwhelmed at the number of exhibits and “things to do” they packed into the space. They have a life-size building block room, water tables, tree house, grocery store, pretend dentistry room, and more. In talking with the executive director, I learned there is even more to come. My children especially loved the “Deconstruction Area,” where (with parent supervision) they can deconstruct electronics like computers and vacuums.  How cool is that?

Hours: Wed-Saturday 10am-6pm & Sundays 1pm-6pm

Admission: $7 for 2 and up.

Mansfield Fire Museum

I don’t know how excited my kids were to go to the fire museum, particularly since they don’t know what a fire museum is. (Do you?) But this museum gave us all an up-close look at how firefighting has evolved over the past couple of centuries, from the horse-drawn wagons toting buckets (and neighbors pitching in with their own) to the bright red trucks we know today, the Mansfield Fire Museum is a nice weekend visit to see the beauty and wonder of something we all take for granted.

Mansfield Fire Museum

They also have a “Safety House,” a replica of a two-bedroom house in order to teach children fire safety. The children go into one room and the hallways fill with “smoke.” They’re taught how to find the exit, where to go, and how to get there (get low, get out and stay out). It was an educational experience that I’m glad my children got the chance to see.

Hours: Mid May through mid-October, Saturday and Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Comfort Inn Splash Harbor

Again – WHO KNEW? My kids had a great time at the mini “splash park” located inside an unassuming Comfort Inn. With two hot tubs, a twisting water slide and splash pods, my kids swam and played for over an hour. For families traveling through the area, I highly recommend Comfort Inn Splash Harbor. It was clean, the front desk staff was amazingly friendly, the splash park was a wonderful bonus and it is right next door to the Der Dutchman Restaurant, which had some amazing down home food (the strawberry cheesecake was so good!). Follow them on Facebook to stay abreast of some great deals.

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Richland Carousel Park

Located in the Carousel District in downtown Mansfield is the Richland Carousel Park. I will say that I thought it was kind of pricey, at $1 per ride, but man, the ride is long! I sat and waited for my kids to get done…and waited…and waited. I see that they priced it high, but you get more bang for your buck. It is a four-season carousel, so you can come downtown in the winter and ride. But I bet it’s really spectacular in the summer, when they open the doors (kind of like garage doors) and let the wind in.

Richland Carousel Park Mansfield Ohio

Two Cousins Pizza

I’m not even going to use a bunch of words on this one. Just look at the pizza.

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Delicious and we had perfect service. Definitely stop by if you are in town.

 

Four Reasons You Should “Drop-In” On Your Kids At School

By Erica Hawthorne

Outside of eating lunch with your child every now and then and parent-teacher conferences, how often are you able to drop in at your child’s school? Probably not often, considering most of us are extremely busy with life. However, even if it’s just for an hour here or an hour there, doing drive-bys at your kids’ school is beneficial, and here’s why:

You Get To See What They Really Do At School

If you’re anything like me, at some point, part of your daily routine is asking your kids, “How was your day? What did you do at school today?” It has been my experience that asking such a broad question, particularly to younger kids, doesn’t yield the best results. I learned a couple things by going to their school:

  1. They do exercises in class every morning while they watch the school news. This is separate from what they do in gym class, and I think it’s awesome they start their days off with exercise!
  2. They do not go to the library as a class and since there are only four passes for the class, each kid may not be able to go every day.

I have three children in school and no one has ever mentioned these things to me!

You’re Able To Better Hold Them Accountable

My daughter and I went through a phase a couple months ago, where she claimed she hadn’t been taking AR (Accelerated Reading) Tests because “she just didn’t have time.” One day, to her surprise, I showed up in her classroom right after she had breakfast. I shadowed her as she went through her morning routine and we were both able to conclude that she has more than enough time to take AR Tests. Now that she knows I am holding her accountable for how she uses her time at school, she now finds the time to knock those tests out!

It Gives Them A Chance To Show Off!

Everyday your child is learning, learning, learning–being quizzed on what they’ve learned and you’re not usually there to see it.  But if you were, it would be like a show, and who better to have in the audience than your parents? I enjoy seeing my kids light up and put on an academic show for me when I’m in their class! They’re so eager to answer every question just to show their momma that they know their stuff. They’re proud, I’m proud…it’s a win-win situation.

Because You’re Part Of The Village

Once you become a regular visitor, you will get to know all the kids and they will get to know you. When I enter a classroom, all the kids rush up to give me a hug as if I’m their mom! Having a relationship with these kids makes it easier for me to intervene when I see kids doing or saying something they shouldn’t be! As a result, I feel that being an involved parent, lowers my kids’ (as well as other kids) chances of being bullied. Now I could be wrong, but I think I’m right. Teachers, as great as they are, cannot do it all on their own, and help from parents is always appreciated.

Erica Hawthorne is a single mom who lives in Georgia with her three kids. 

OPEN THREAD: Do You Need Your Partner To Show Their Love For You On Facebook?

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Yesterday was Wednesday and as such, folks were posting their #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesdays) photos. Three of my newly married friends got a shout out from their new husbands, with each saying something sweet like, “The only #WCW I need in my life. She is indeed a dream come true.”

So lovely, right?

So why, if I’m completely honest, was I a little jealous?

My husband does not use social media like most 30somethings do. He’s busy, he says. He will hop online to check out the Lakers’ score or see just how bad Kobe’s ankle is and maybe comment on a photo or two. He is the dude that had the same profile photo for three years in a row.

Most of my waking moments are spent in front of the computer. (Sad, but true.) As a digital entrepreneur, my life is intricately connected to what happens online. It is the main way I communicate with friends and my online life is pretty much a digital scrapbook of my most important moments (and stuff I feel like my friends should know). So I find it natural to occasionally shout out my husband for things he does. I can get mushy, but that’s just my personality. My husband on the other hand is a less sensitive guy. Whether I post something about him on Facebook or not, he doesn’t feel any differently.

But for more than a handful of woman I know, getting a shout out from their boo can lift their spirits. One of my friends told me last week that one of the main ways she likes to feel special and appreciated was for her husband to dedicate a Facebook post to her “on a non-special day.”

“So you mean not like on an anniversary or your birthday?” I asked.

“Exactly. It’s kind of like sending flowers to the office. Everyone knows your boo sent them and everyone gets to go, ‘Aw, how cute!’ But unlike flowers or a card, Facebook is free. See, I’m helping him out!”

Another friend told me she finds it weird when couples never ever mention each other on social media.

“I have this one friend,” she said, “who got married in 2012. She must post like 10 times a day but she never mentions her husband. Like….never. Isn’t that weird? I mean, you live with this person. Y’all have a kid together. You post about the baby all the time but never your husband. Is that some passive way to keep folks out your business?”

Where do you fall in this debate? Do you think it’s cool for couples to share their love online or is that something they should keep to themselves?

OPEN THREAD: What’s The Dumbest Fight You’ve Ever Had With Your Partner?

Mine was over ground turkey. Yes, hear me out.

We had just gotten back from Sam’s Club and bought a big package of ground turkey. I was attempting to freeze it in smaller packages by putting meal-sized portions in Ziploc bags. I asked my husband to help me, because there was a lot of turkey to put away.

He did.

At the end, when we had 20 or so Ziploc bags full of turkey, I handed him a Sharpie so he could write “ground turkey” on them.

“Why do I need to do that?” he asked.

“Because later, when I go to defrost something, I don’t want to be wondering whether this is ground turkey or ground beef.”

“But…does it matter? Because you can use either one in most recipes.”

“Yes, it matters.” I sighed. “Just write it on the bag.”

“Nah, that’s okay.” He grabbed the bags and was going to head to the freezer.

“Noooooo!” I shouted. “I told you it’s important that we label them, so just label it, okay?”

“Ground turkey and ground beef are practically the same thing,” he insisted.

“You know, in the time you’ve been fighting me on this, we could have been done already,” I said.

“Listen, just because you do things a certain way, it doesn’t mean that I have to do things a certain way,” he said, hoping this would be the end of the conversation.

That set me off. “You do have to do it my way when you’re offering to help me with something. Otherwise you’re just being stubborn for no reason.”

“You think your way is the best way but I can do things my way too.”

I’m beginning to think this is not about ground turkey at all, but I also want him to just do what I say so I continue. “Listen, if Kobe Bryant was showing you how to shoot free throws, would you tell him, ‘just because you shoot free throws a certain way, it doesn’t mean that I have shoot free throws a certain way’? No, because you trust that he’s good at what he does, so you do it. I’m good at putting ground turkey away so JUST LABEL THEM!”

Now I’m yelling and he’s getting angrier. “What does that even mean?”

“It means I’m the KOBE BRYANT OF GROUND TURKEY!”

Did y’all hear that? I called myself the Kobe Bryant of ground turkey. LOL.

He stormed off and I angrily scrawled “ground turkey” across all 20 bags and threw them in the freezer. We went to separate rooms to cool off and 10 minutes later we were laughing at each other.

Our communication has gotten much better since then but every time I buy ground turkey now, I think about the argument and crack up laughing.

So don’t leave me out here by myself: What was the dumbest fight you’ve had with your partner?

 

#RaisingBrilliance: Seven Early Morning Pep Talks For Your Kids

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Each morning before I drop my kids off at school, I try to give them a pep talk. My goal is to have the last thing they hear from me be something positive and uplifting. I used to just tell them, “Mommy loves you. Have a great day!” But they started to tune that out after a while, running into the building before I was even finished! So now I switch it up! Here’s some of my favorite pep talks to give them, depending on what they have going on that day. (Yes, I’ve actually said these to my kids. I wouldn’t lie to you.)

Share your favorite in the comments:

On trying their best:

“All I want from you, and all I have ever wanted, is for you to try your best. Because if you try your best, you can’t lose.”

On making themselves proud:

“I know you think about what your dad and I expect from you, but it’s really about what you expect from yourself. Work up to your own goals and expectations. Go make yourself proud.”

On trying new things:

“No one is born knowing how to do everything. Everyone was once a beginner. The only way to discover what you’re good at is to try new things.”

On facing their fears:

“Fear is a natural part of life. I get scared all the time. Your classmates do too. But you have to take a deep breath and do the thing you’re scared to do. Great things are on the other side of fear.”

On being secure in who they are:

“Celebrate who you are. There is no one else who is quite like you and that is a beautiful thing.”

On knowing how much they are loved:

“I love you to the end of the universe, you know that?”

On knowing the importance of a good work ethic:

“Talent is important. And you have it. You’re both naturally smart. But it will only get you halfway to where you want to go. You must put in the work in order to reach your full potential.”

 Do you give your children pep talks in the morning? What do you usually tell them? 

 

Boy Or Girl: Is It Easier To Raise Sons Or Daughters In Today’s Society?

by Mike Mitchum

Back in the day, parents didn’t have the luxury of having an ultrasound to tell them the sex of their growing fetus.  Because of this advance, a conversation was born between my fiancé and I as we anxiously await the arrival of our child.  I had been singing the “I want a boy” song to anyone who asked about my preference.  It wasn’t until she told me that she didn’t want me to be disappointed if we waited for the child to be born only to find that it was a girl that I realized I might have been sending the wrong message.

My first wish, as I’m sure is true with any parent, is to have a healthy baby. I think I put so much energy into saying I wanted boy that it translated to, “I absolutely do not want a girl.” If we have a baby girl, I won’t be shocked or disappointed.  I mean it’s a 50/50 chance right?  I can tell you now, that she will be a daddy’s girl and that she will be absolutely spoiled rotten!  Now if we had a panda, I’d be more than a little confused, but I think that’s a far shot off.

Anyhow, even as I sang my song there was a narrative that played in my head.  It took that comment from my fiancé to make me realize that the narrative had never come into the wild, so here it goes:

We live in a hyper sexualized world where women are constantly objectified and false standards of beauty and worth are currency.  I think that the challenge with raising a girl in this culture is what makes me want a boy more than anything else.

At the same time, I know that there are also positive forces and movements to help women and girls navigate these treacherous seas.  Also, as parents, we would do our very best to educate our daughter and help her to develop a healthy sense of self-respect, but we would be battling a lot of outside forces.  You can’t scroll through your Facebook timeline or even watch daytime TV without seeing booty cheeks hanging out or highlighted in trendy leggings or some other such imagery.  That spills out into the real world in the form of teenage boys and grown men who see women as potential conquests instead of potential queens.

With this internal river raging, the constant question that whirlpools in my head is, “How do I protect our little girl from becoming the misguided object of some hormonal youth’s attention?”  It may sound like the lazy dad way out, but I think it would be easier to educate a son against following that behavior than to educate all the other little boys against treating/looking at our little girl in such a way.

My only real worry about having a girl is putting up with assholes as she grows up.  Now, I know that eventually my little girl would grow into a woman, find a beau who cherishes her very breath, marry and begin a family of her own.  However, I anticipate that there will be a lot of dumb-assness to thwart before she gets there.

What do you think?  Am I thinking too much about this or is there validity in my concerns?  I can’t be the first person to have this thought.  What does your S/O think of this topic?

#Blackish Episode 4 Recap: “Crazy Mom” – Nailing The Truth About The Mom Life & Gender Roles

I was a little skeptical when I first saw the trailer for ABC’s new comedy, “Black-ish.” It looked a little corny, and I wasn’t sure how much Anthony Anderson I could take weekly. He’s a funny guy for sure, but would the material be his style? Would it work?

Episode four of Blackish is what sealed the deal for me. In this episode, “Crazy Mom,” marketing executive dad Andre (Anthony Anderson) tells his lovely doctor wife Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) that he will take on all her duties for a week.

First up: making two dozen cupcakes for the twins’ class. Instead of making them from scratch or at least picking up a couple from the grocery store, Andre goes to where? The liquor store. (Was I the only one who thought, they sell cupcakes at the liquor store? Must be a nice neighborhood.)

It was such a “YES THAT IS WHAT MY HUSBAND WOULD DO” moment. He’s not going to pull out the cake flour or even a box of Betty Crocker. Off to the store, with no hesitation! Ain’t no scouring Pinterest for “creative cupcake recipes.”

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And when Rainbow told her husband, “Moms do everything and no one ever notices,” and how she pulls a second shift once she gets home from work, I damn near rolled off the couch. Yes, speak to my life, Black-ish writers! Speak to my life! 

It was real dialogue about real issues facing working women. As much as I love Modern Family, one aspect of the show that bugged me for years (before Claire took a job at her father’s business) was that none of the women on the show worked. Stay-at-home moms definitely need to be represented and there’s no denying that Claire’s version of a SAHM was always, always busy. But dang, for a supposedly “modern” family, they sure were not representing for the working mom (a phrase, by the way, that I hate).

But I loved hearing about the second shift and wondered how many women were giving their husbands the same arm punch I did when Rainbow delivered this line:

“We both have huge jobs. When I come home from mine, from you know, saving lives and whatnot, I start a whole other second huge job. When you come home, you play video games….There’s like a thousand invisible things I do around here that aren’t even on your radar.”

In a later scene, Andre was late to a meeting after handling some kids’ stuff.  “Family comes first,” his colleagues said, giving him an approving head nod. A few seconds later a female co-worker comes into the meeting late with the same excuse and was reprimanded for not being professional.

MESSAGE!  

Black-ish’s “Crazy Mom” episode reminded me of a day, early in my marriage, where I had enough. I had been working 14-hour days, would come home and check homework, make dinner, fill out school forms, pack lunches, bathe the children and read them stories before bed.

In the midst of doing all this, I looked up and said out loud, “Who decided I was in charge???”

To me, I see our family as an endless to-do list. Wash clothes, double-check backpacks, volunteer in the classroom, etc. For my husband and a lot of men I know, they see their family as just that: family, or “those other people that I live with.” Not necessarily “things to do.”

Is that good or bad? I don’t know. But I’m grateful to Black-ish for resurrecting the conversation.

Did you catch last night’s episode? What did you think?

Making My Net: The Life Of A Single Mom In Medical School

MeganThruston[1]by Megan Thruston

“Mamaaaa. Heyyy Mamaaa! I need fresh water with ice! HEY MAMAAA! It’s morning time!”

I glanced at my phone and saw that it was indeed morning time. In fact it was already 6:10 a.m., which meant that I had overslept, though I hardly felt refreshed since I had been up studying until almost 2:00 a.m.

After a few minutes of silence, I heard the soft thudding of feet on the hallway carpet. A moment later, a smiling face surrounded by a halo of wild curly hair appeared at the end of my bed.

“I opened the door all by myself!” my daughter announced, beaming with smug self­-satisfaction.

While this development had some undesirable implications for my privacy, I knew it was another critical step toward independence for her, and perhaps for me as well. Juggling a young toddler’s needs alongside the demands of medical school is no easy task, and I have come to appreciate even the smallest acts of self-sufficiency whenever they appear.

Thinking back to this time a year ago, my daughter and I had just arrived in Portland. She was 14 months old and though she could walk and talk, she was still a baby in most respects: she needed multiple naps a day, she nursed every few hours, she dissolved into tears at the slightest provocation. Returning to school meant that I would no longer be around to cater to her needs 24/7, a fact which filled me with anxiety and guilt at the time. What if she was traumatized by the abrupt separation? What if she hated daycare? What if she loved daycare and didn’t want to come home? What if she liked her caretakers more than me?

In addition to concerns about my baby, I had serious doubts about my own ability to survive in this new environment. I had spent so much time reassuring everyone else in my life about my plans that I hadn’t had the chance to reflect on whether this was still really what I wanted to do. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that I wasn’t qualified to go to medical school, let alone to go to medical school while singlehandedly caring for a small child. As a stay­-at­-home mom with a background in psychology and special education research, I hardly seemed prepared for such a big undertaking.

Now as I enter MS2, I am happy to report that most of those worries have subsided. Over the past year I watched as my daughter blossomed from a clingy baby into a vivacious little girl who can open doors and do jigsaw puzzles and give startlingly specific instructions on how she wants her oatmeal prepared (hint: don’t even THINK about putting bananas in there). One need only spend a few minutes with her to see that she hasn’t been traumatized by this transition; in fact, she’s thriving.

As for me, I managed to pass my first year courses and gained a profound new self-­confidence in the process. Overlooking the chronic sleep deprivation and occasional lapse in personal hygiene, I actually think my first year of medical school was among the most rewarding in my academic career.

I know that I have only just started down the road to becoming a physician and that the worst is likely yet to come given that I still have rotations and residency looming on the horizon. Even so, I will continue on this giant leap of faith because I am confident now that the net will appear, even if I have to make it myself.

In addition to being the single mother of a very spirited toddler, Megan is currently in her second year of medical school at Oregon Health & Science University. Outside of school, her hobbies include photography, cold showers, making pillow forts, and knowing all of the words to Frozen. Visit her online at OHSU’s StudentSpeak blog.

Read more about being a mom in college

in our “Student Mama” series.