My Mother and the Thing That’s Happening Now
The last story I told you of my mother was about a year and a half ago. She had finished her attempt at hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and had been called up to do search and retrieval after a particularly vicious set of wild fires.
As I’d mentioned before, at an age when many are looking at retirement, she had been downsized from her tech writing job. Instead of scrambling for a new job she applied for unemployment then took one of those What You Should Do When You Grow Up tests that they usually give to high school students. After thirty years of tech writing she wanted a change. The test spat out that she should be a nurse. She already had her EMT and Paramedic licences and had been helping to teach Red Cross classes for years. Honestly nursing was a good fit and probably something she would have been happy to do most of her life except she is of that generation of 70’s feminist that pushed back against anything that was labelled “women’s” work. She refused to learn to type in high school so she could never get a job as a secretary (and I assure you that is the most on brand story I could tell you about her). Instead she was a security officer and drove a forklift for a while.
There have been a couple more waves of feminism since then and she’s now in the second half of her 60’s and cares a bit less about what people think of her job so she decided to retrain as a nurse. Since nursing is in short supply, she was able to find a government paid for program that squeezes a two-year nursing degree into one year. Ninety credits in one year. There were twenty-page papers due the day after thanksgiving. They got three days off at Christmas.
Two days ago she took her final exam. The last month of lectures had all been done online and the exam was given using a program that lets a proctor look at your computer screen and stare at you through your laptop camera. She got an 1190 final score. She needed 850 to pass. 4.0 gpa. She is literally twice the age of the next oldest student and the only person who did better was 19. She still has to take the national tests in a month but she can get an interim licence and start work now.
She is in the second half of her sixties, my dad is diabetic with bad lungs, and she’s about to start a nursing career in the middle of a fucking pandemic. And she’ll do it. She hasn’t said she will but I know her. There are people who need help and she is incapable of not helping.