Heart of a Lion, Hands of a Woman: What Women Neurosurgeons Do
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Birthday Mom

Once a year, I have a week in which I celebrate the birth of both of my children.  They had the same due date, just one year apart and ultimately just a year and four days separate my oldest and youngest.  So when the last week of February nears, I am taken back to those challenging days-the end of pregnancy when the anticipation and anxiety of childbirth (especially the first time) are nearly overwhelming.  I worked full-time up until the very end with both and I think that actually helped distract me but it also meant I was utterly exhausted.
Fast forward 21 years and I am relaxing on Amtrak traveling from New York to Washington, DC-a far cry from the 13 plus hours of labor.  Wand then on Saturday a lovely jaunt to the Phillips Collection in Dupont Circle on and then a special dinner at Citronelle.  I think every parent-daughter relationship has its good and bad moments-right now we are all in a nice place and the time shared was a joyous celebration for all.
Somewhat in contrast, my son turned 20 on the day we left DC.  He is currently on a volunteer project in Tanzania, after 3 months of work in Ghana, and we were not able to reach him in any way around the time of his birthday. Mail takes 3-4 weeks to arrive (and succeeds only about 75% of the time), his nearest internet cafe seems on-line about half the time when he gets there (infrequently), and he lost his phone...Finally a week letter, we did make contact and were able to extend him a "virtual" hug.
For me, it is always a week of introspection, thinking about the early years of my marriage, the decision to have kids, the financial struggles intrinsic to most young families, and the many, many challenges of raising children simultaneous with building a career in neurosurgery.  Despite the challenges, I have found both to be extremely rewarding.  I look forward to many years of reaping the rewards of both of these essential parts of my life.
Happy Birthday Dina and Daniel!

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