Just like that we were on our 5 hour drive south.
Let's start with this: Every moment of this conference was worth it. I learned here what I feel like I should have learned in vet school... and then some. I would say that I really took my dentistry to the next level but that assumes my practice had an above-beginner-level launching point, which it didn't. What I did find is that not only is dentistry not scary, it's actually a ton of fun. I also got to say "hello" to that part of me that keeps wanting to press forward academically. Eek! One of our instructors looked a lot like Justin Timberlake without the dancing or the singing - but a good dentist. I was physically sore at the end of the first day - body all tense and rigid trying to get the moves right - don't slip, be patient, "hold it like a pencil". In all, I spent three solid days doing this:
Santa Barbara is beautiful. I mean, really. It's beautiful. The beach is picturesque and nearly on all sides you can see mountains in the distance. We stayed on the main street with all the shops and restaurants. Our conference was literally around the corner and a good coffee shop was a stones throw in any direction. There was a super cute boutique attached to our hotel and I shopped at it 3 separate times. Because I could, I ran every morning ("run" might be a slight exaggeration) at sunrise. I savored and sipped my morning coffee and I savored and sipped my evening wine.
I could have sprawled on the bed but I habitually stayed on one side. I could have slept straight through the night but I woke up periodically anyway to listen for the soft breathy humming of my daughter - instead I heard drunken college students singing "Yooooou you got what I neeeeeed. But you say he's just a friend..." as the college girls cheered them on. I could have stayed out dancing with Liz to the New Orleans brass band style of swing jazz played by a band called Ulysses at a joint called the James Joyce (get it?) but instead we left when the band took a break. I could have blown off the conference to do some serious damage to the wallet in those shops...but I didn't do any of those things.
Instead, I was an earnest, attentive learner at the conference, making the most of every moment I was apart from my little Heart. To quell the pit that developed without her I accosted anyone with a baby, "How old is he?" and "What's his name?" The people I was with started to draw my attention to other things (like across the street) whenever they saw a baby coming.
It's funny to me how questions so intimate from a stranger would normally be considered offensive ... but questions about your baby? No, these fall into a category where you can't help it but get to talkin' so long as the stranger follows the "look but don't touch rule". When I explained that I was away from my 16 month-old? Facial expressions changed to those of complete understanding: I missed my own baby.
This weekend I fully experienced something I haven't really experienced before now:
I truly, deeply, and sincerely wished that there were two of me.
On Saturday I faced a choice: leave early and miss an important 3 hour lecture and a full day of labs OR I cold stay another 24 hours and take it all in. I would get the training but miss a whole day with Tim and Ada (and the Blue Angels). I stood at the registration desk mulling over the fact that I was scheduled for one and a half hours of lab on Sunday but that was all. It would have been so easy to blow it off - to waste that registration fee. I called Tim to make sure he was OK at home - he was, because he's a rock star of a Dad. More importantly, I was concerned about how Ada was. Her cold had cleared, she was happy, and I was free to..do whatever I wanted. So why did I have tears in my eyes? Ugh. And YAY! I decided to stay and signed up for the rest of the Sunday workshops. It was the right choice but it was so hard. Sooooooo hard.
That night I found this silly little painted sign. Sums it up. That moment. Every moment:
So I did.
So I do.
Every time I look at that sign, I remember to "enjoy this" - whatever this is: an iced mocha, a blissfully passed out freshly-bathed baby sleeping on my numb arm, a friend about to give birth, a friend who just gave birth, a tough case, an overwhelmingly busy day, the immediate use of new knowledge, visitors, a house that is a pit because there is just so freaking much good going on...
As a part of this conference we got a few hours as the only visitors in the Santa Barbara Zoo. If you're ever in the area, it's worth a trip. Good zoo. I clearly favor the big cats (so magestic) - I caught each of them yawning just before their bedtime. Happy animals with really nice teeth!
She's a new camera and I hardly know what to do with her (classes on Saturday) so please be forgiving:
|I work with these ladies pictured above: talented, compassionate, fun, and one of the biggest reasons I stay at my job.|