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Sunday, August 30, 2009

RT profession allows for lots of time with family

I would have to say that overall a job as a respiratory therapist -- the profession of respiratory therapy -- is overall a good career. The greatest part is that the variable shifts allow me to spend quality time with my #1 priority: my family.

I know of at least three families in my neighborhood where both the husband and wife work, and they send their kids off to daycare. Even while my wife works regular hours, I am proud to say that my two youngest kids have never see the light of day at a daycare center. Yet, while I'm certain neither has a clue what one is, my rebellious 6-year-old was recently quoted as saying, "I wish I could go to day care."

My oldest son experienced the day care setting for his first 2 years. However, he was the social type early, and loved day care. While the other children cried when dropped off, my son was happy. While the other kids were happy when picked up, my son cried.

Now my son is 11. Most moments he seems more like a chum than a son, as he takes up an interest in many of my hobbies, like baseball. And then at times he acts his age. Anyone with kids knows what I mean.

This summer he made known his individuality and decided he wanted to play football instead of soccer. Tomorrow he gets to wear pads and hit for the first time. I won't miss that moment.

My baby is 10 months old and just learned how to crawl backwards by sliding across the tile in the kitchen. My 6-year-old begs constantly to spend time with her friends, and she's gone most of the day. Yet when I go to work she gets upset, and has to call me so I can tuck her in each night over the phone.

Yesterday we went to a wedding. Our neighbor, the mother of the bride, worked hard to suck in her tears: her baby was all grown up. My wife leaned to me and whispered, "Just think, in the blink of an eye that will be us."

When you're a kid it seems time goes by slow. I remember my mom saying once the older you get the faster time goes by. Now, as adults, we all know what she meant by that. But I don't think it's age that makes time go faster: it's work. The more we work, the faster time appears to go.

That's why when I'm not working I try to absorb the moments, spend as much time with the kids as I can -- each individually and as a group.

I remember being a kid and feeling glad I was a kid, because my parents were old, and my grandparents were older. I remember thinking they were kids once, and now they are closer to the end. Now my grandparents are all gone, and my parents are the grandparents, and my wife and I are the parents. It's the cycle of life.

Thankfully the job of RT is not one I have to take home with me, so without work to do from my home time goes a little slower. Yet, as I return to work and work my 8 day cycle of days on and off, time is flying. When I start my six day off stretch,
I note a whole week has gone by in the snap of a finger. After several of these cycles, a year has gone by and my children. Several years, and life has gone by.

We all experience the same thing. While other jobs may be better paying than the RT profession, it does allow for the clock to tick a little slower. Although I'm sure there are some among us who find work wherever they go. Yet, as we now know, sometimes -- as the old poem goes (who coined that phrase I can't remember)-- sometimes it's nice to stop and smell the roses, lest we find ourselves near death and having experienced none of the great smells of life.

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