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Veteran NICU nurse hits the road with the long-lost love of her life

After more than twenty years in the NICU, Aya travel nurse, Kathy, still finds that little moments make her fall in love with her job over and over again. “It’s rewarding,” she says. “Especially when you are able to hand that baby over to the mom to hold for the very first time. That is just the best.”

An Army brat from the tiny town of Kempner, TX, which she describes as a “blink and you’ll miss it” type place, Kathy caught the wanderlust bug early. Now a devoted mother of three, Kathy didn’t want to uproot her children when they were young so she put her bucket list on hold, until now. She and her husband have been living the travel nursing dream for the past two years, with Kathy picking up assignments in several Virginia cities, Houston and Boston along the way.

Each spot has held its charms for the couple. Washington D.C.’s many museums enchanted Kathy, with the sparkling Hope Diamond among her favorite exhibits. Their current home in Richmond, VA offers scenic hiking trails and delightfully for a girl from the Southwestern desert, a rich, green landscape. “There are so many trees here. It’s just beautiful,” Kathy sighs happily. Boston surprised her still more. She was hesitant to embrace life in a large metropolis and explains, “I didn’t think I was going to like it because I’m not a big city girl, but I ended up extending there. It was so great.”

Kathy and Tom arrived in Boston in February, during the year’s first big storm. Kathy describes her encounter with the frigid, snowy streets, without irony, as “so cool!” Anyone who can smile through a Beantown blizzard must be pretty chill herself and Kathy’s endearing, up-for-anything attitude stands her in good stead when it comes to braving new experiences. Some of that sangfroid can be traced to Tom’s unflagging support. “He does everything for me,” Kathy explains. “He does the laundry, he cooks and he cleans. He says ‘you worked a 12-hour shift, you’re tired. I’ll take care of you.’”

If you haven’t stopped reading this to swoon already, you will when you hear that Tom and Kathy are long-lost (until recently) childhood sweethearts. Their fathers were stationed together in Germany and the couple first bumped into each other while playing saxophone in middle school band. After their families were transferred back to the U.S., hers to Texas and his to Virginia, Kathy and Tom remained in contact for a long while, despite the high prices of long-distance phone calls at the time. Eventually, they lost touch but Kathy says, “One day I just thought, I wonder how Tommy’s doing? So I looked him up and we reconnected. We flew back and forth seeing each other until we just decided to get married!”

Tom and Kathy have been happily married for five years now and they’ve recently added a new family member, Daisy, a fluffy white Shih Tzu. Daisy is on a whole a very pleasant companion, but she does have one quirk. “She loves walking in the mud,” Kathy jokingly laments. This happy trio undoubtedly has many adventures, and frequent dog baths, on the road ahead.​