Best Nine

Best Nine

Instagram goes crazy this time of year with everyone's Best Nine.  You haven't heard of it?  It's the nine most 'liked' pictures you've posted over the year.  Though it's original intention was to help with the online dating world, Best Nine has become an Instagram tradition.

Last year I had barely been on Instagram for several months so I didn't pull those pictures.  This year, I was excited to see what came up.  See mine above, according to I'm proud that it includes Special Delivery and also the Bookworm Girls protest against the wall.  And Mulan, of course, because I am a woman warrior.

A Different "Best Nine"

And in this quiet morning (it's the day before Christmas as I write this, and, no, I'm still not ready), I started thinking about a different 'Best Nine'.  What am I proud of this year?

Of course, Mini Me and Little Lion because I will always say that my kids are my greatest accomplishment.  It's oh so trite, but it couldn't be more true.  But what about me?  I'm choosing to think about my best nine to see what I need to do for next year.  A sort of set of resolutions.

This year I've managed to post on this blog almost every week.  Though I know I'm a small blog, writing makes me happy.  And working on this blog makes me happy.  So the fact that I've managed to keep it up all year makes me proud. I'm also writing.  Not as much as I like, but I have been working on picture books and submitting.  And I re-started a middle grade novel that I've been thinking about for a while now.  In the last few weeks, I've been inspired to start a novel that I'm dubbing a med school mystery of sorts.  We'll see what happens.

What else?  There are small and big moments as a doctor.  Though I can't write about the details here due to privacy issues.  I will say that I think about certain moments.  Sometimes they are big--like knowing exactly what's going on with someone or knowing in my gut when someone needs to be admitted to the hospital. Most times it's the little moments.  When I get a truly heartfelt smile or when I know I've made a connection with a little one or their parent.  Sometimes it's taking the time to listen, in our busy, busy world in which I am often behind schedule.  Sometimes it's a phone call--if I'm thinking about you later in my day or the next day or the next week, then I'm calling you. 

What other things stand out? I'm still thrilled about taking the girls to see Hamilton and that I was able to get those extra set of tickets.  Frivolous? Maybe.  But my girls were so happy.  And the inspiration that Hamilton and Lin-Manuel Miranda has spawned through our house is phenomenal.  Both girls are rapping.  And both girls are writing and creating.  In fact, we are having a mini-presentation of Hamilton at our family party later today--their choice.  There's something about being inspired that makes me so happy, and I can see it in my girls.  Mini Me has been writing non-stop.  Pardon the pun if you know Hamilton.  But really, I know she is gifted and I am proud of aiding in that creativity, however small my part may be.  

Earlier this year I wrote about an incident of sexual harassment that I encountered as a medical student and was brave enough to submit it to a physician social media site.  I got criticized (there and other sites).  It was tough.  But you know what?  Someone reached out to me and was brave enough herself to tell me her story.  Mine was minor.  But if we don't give voice to these things, they continue.  And then, and then if you haven't been living under a rock, you know all about what's going on in the news right now.  And though it's tough for me to read, I did make myself read about what happened to these women (and some men).  And I'm so incredibly proud and humbled of these women for standing up and making their voices heard.  They're being criticized.  And they're being applauded.  They're being scrutinized for every little thing.  But they are a big part of a movement that I hope will change our culture. 

For me, it settled something for me that happened in my distant past that I really hadn't thought about.  But it also made me think about what changes still need to be made across many industries, including medicine. 

Another smaller (yet, really not so small) accomplishment: Mr. Bookworm is still my best friend.  I say my sisters are too, and it's true.  But I love that despite my shortcomings, he still loves me.  And that I can literally tell him anything without fear of judgement.  And I love that I still love him.  That I still reach out to hold his hand.  That I can still learn from him everyday.  Mr. Bookworm has always made me a better person.  And he continues to do so.  So, in a world where relationships are tough--and ours can be too--I love that we are still committed to each other.

Regarding my girls: I'm not a perfect mother.  If you know me or if you are one of my patient families, you already know that.  The challenges are real and I make mistakes.  But every day I hope for more patience.  And every day, I vow to do better. 

There are times when I second guess myself.  Who doesn't as a mom?  And there are times when I realize I need to take a deep breath, take a step back, and let go of my own ego.  And also let go of our ever-ticking clock.  Raising kids takes time.  And if I don't take that minute to sit down and find out what's at the heart of the matter, I'll never know.  And my kids will continue to grow....without me. 

So what I'm hoping for is to remind myself to take the time--take that extra minute or five to figure out what's going on with my girls, with my husband, with my patients (especially the teens), and with my writing.  If I'm running behind or running late, it's okay.  I'm running late anyway, what's a few more minutes, especially when those minutes can make all the difference in the world?

What's your 'best nine' for this year? What are you most proud of? Let me know in the comments.

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