As I tuck another semester of graduate school in mental health under my belt, my mindset transitions from dedicated persistence to reflection. Looking through a retrospective lens, my heart remains full. Full of appreciation, love. Overflowing with gratefulness. Because really, I could not do what I am doing, could not have done what I have done thus far… that is, without the people surrounding me. The village surrounding me- in my husband, my parents, my in-laws, my friends, my mentors. Mom and I often joke that she’s going to be walking across that stage and receiving a masters degree alongside me for all that she’s done for my family and me when I can’t be physically present. How many drop-off’s and pickup’s from school she’s been there for, how many healthy home-cooked meals she’s prepared, how many books read and tuck-in’s she’s given to Holden all during times I’ve been working or in class. And it’s not just her presence alone, but it’s time spent being silly… dancing, exploring, singing, questioning. Time when Holden can just be a kid.

And along the way, somehow I found audacity to challenge that time being spent, if it didn’t align with those rigid rules and structure I needed probably more than Holden did or does. And I’m conflicted with that. Undoubtedly raising a child for the time being under the same house as your own parents leaves little room for who has the final word. I can caught up in the moments. Though, there’s always some perspective to be had, and that’s what helps. That’s why I’m thankful. The reminder of being possibly unthankful for my endless support. Not me?? Yikes…

There’s Nick, my husband. Or Kick, as Holden’s speech delay granted him some time ago. Somebody who I could talk about for endless hours, yet still leaves me at a loss for words. He’s been my backbone throughout this wild adventure of progress. And for what he gives to Holden… it’s given to me, too. Sometimes I choose to sit back and watch them together. The bond they have is untouchable, and it grows stronger with each interaction. Day after day. Playful, guided. Instilling within the innocence of a child wonderment, abilities, thoughts, openness, and morals. I fight back the tears knowing how precious of a relationship the two have, as it’s unconditional in all ways that there are. Knowing how it was being absent, and loving it every single moment of it that I have now. Priceless moments building a sturdy foundation of which his life is now rooted in.

The selfless, supportive team that has lifted me from the ashes of my own emotional rehabilitation and have supported me in my aspiration to become something more capable than what I had ever planned for my own self. I am truly becoming something. And there’s so much more I have left to learn. Yet, this journey is conflicted by the guilt I have deep down from being an incredibly busy person on top of being a mom. Because the mom to Holden I want to be remains above all other wants and wishes for myself, and naturally I end up feeling selfish for taking advantage. But for now, I know that I am where I need to be. I’m mindful of the knowledge I continue to gain, for the learned insight and perspective in place (and the perspective given when mine slips away), the gift of intuition, the experiences to feel deep, and the capacity for compassion. But above all is the growing awareness of the need to be present. Undistracted. Focused and listening, reflecting. How incredible of a gift to give somebody else, and not just with my patients as I am learning, but a gift to give those around me as well… and to Holden. To be in the moment. It’s something every one of them deserves. Something that has been a challenge amidst long days and endless pressure. When days begin and end far from when sunlight shifts. Something that will take constant effort and reminding, but I know this is where a true relationship can prosper. Just to be in the moment. I know this to be true.

I have been given the luxury to become something and do something that I want to do. Something that is full of purpose, for me. To do my part in some kind of greater good of which the details are unknown. But to do this is not separate from being the mom I want to be. It can be both, and it will be so. That’s my way of contributing back… of doing something with all that I’ve been given. For that I’m eternally grateful. For that I’m grounded, centered.