Dustin works ALL the time, 6-7 days a week, often 12-16 hour days. He is on call every other week which means he might get a total of 4 hours of sleep every couple of nights. It means we sometimes go for days without seeing or talking to him. When he has a day off, he focuses on us, but he always has more work to do at the end of the day….researching journal articles, preparing for a tumor board presentation, preparing for an upcoming surgery, updating the chemo list that tracks hundreds of patients, checking in with a resident. He never gets to take a sick day, go in late, or leave early. He works on most holidays. His time is not his own – He belongs to the hospital. It has been this way for years, so we are used to it, though fellowship is even worse than residency or med school ever were. It won’t be this way forever, but it is the way it is for now. He gets a total of 2 weeks of vacation for the entire year, so when Daddy is off, we stop almost everything to BE with him. He was off last week and we had a LOT of great “Daddy time” together!
- We spent a long fall family weekend at Beaver’s Bend State Park in Oklahoma. SUCH a beautiful spot, especially in the fall. We first went there when I was pregnant with MJ, had a little cabin on the lake. It is where Dustin could first feel the movement of the baby boy in me, and I was consumed with reading and thinking and writing about becoming a mother. It was time to make some new memories in this special place:
- We tried something new as a family, rock climbing on a rainy afternoon at Dallas Rocks Climbing Gym!
- Dustin and I did our “Doctor” presentation for both Ellie and MJ’s classes at school. (See what we did: “No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”)
- Daddy got to ride bikes with MJ to school and stand outside the school doors with all the other Kindergarten parents for the first time. We took Ellie to her ballet lesson, and then had lunch with MJ in his school cafeteria for the first time.
- We took our first trip to the amazing new Children’s Adventure Garden at the Arboretum – 8 thumbs WAY UP!
- We skipped school for a Fun Fall Family Fair Day!
- We all went to church together, and heard MJ sing with the children’s choir for the first time. Same one Mommy grew up singing in at First Pres Dallas – pretty special!
Sunday evening before Daddy returned to a rough back at work, Michael James shed tears as they snuggled in bed together crying, “Why do you have to go back to work, Daddy?” These are the moments that really break Dustin’s Daddy heart, that really test his commitment to such a demanding field of medicine. But they are also the moments that strengthen his resolve to make decisions for more family time at the point that he does have some control. We are all looking forward to that…