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More Teaching To Do

It was a ritual, of sorts. Shower before bed. Clean t-shirt. Jeans over the footboard. Sneakers pointing toward the door.

A phone, ringing in the dark. Sometimes,  a general surgeon. “The Saturday night knife and gun club is back in business.” More often, the nursing supervisor. A section for failure to progress. Or fetal distress. Moms 12 or 13 years old. Really.

Not one of them ready to be there.

Farther back.

First year in college. Mid ’70’s. A gym teacher. Extra credit for women students who had a GYN exam and brought a signature from the doc. (I suspect she had a story of her own.)

Planned Parenthood. (I needed the extra credit!) A heart murmur. A heart murmur I never knew about.

Tests. Calming news. Not too serious. But, worth watching.

Today.

I’ve set aside my gloves and mask, though the stethoscope comes in handy now and then. And square knots. I can still tie one with my left hand.

Mostly, though, words. A lot of education. A bit of wisdom now and then. The kind that comes from hard stories.

A couple of granddaughters.

A couple of books. (Who’d have guessed?)

And more numbers than you might imagine. Sales. Clicks. Views. Shares. Lists. Comments. Likes. All part of being heard in this cyber world.

Hard to predict. Not so different from preaching, actually.

Late nights. Endless editing. What to put in. What to leave out.

Hunting for threads. More of this? Less of that?

Then, a surprise.

A Facebook photo I shared. The one above.

A bit of back and forth. Should I? Should I not?

Finally, a deep breath. Following my heart. The button pushed.

Many, many people reached.

Women and men, guessing from the names.

Friends. New friends. People I’ve never heard of.

People I’m glad to hear from.

People who care.

Not just about choice.

About the endless choices women must make for their health.  For their families.

About access and affordability.

About a heart murmur that hasn’t been a problem. And still needs watching.

About late nights. And early mornings.

Holding the hands of 12 or 13 year old moms.

Not one of them ready to be there.

Especially not the 13 year old with an intellectual disability, giving birth to her stepfather’s child.

We all have more teaching to do.

And, perhaps, learning.

sister-giant

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