“Start at the beginning and when you get to the end, stop.”- The Mad Hatter

I am a woman who grew up in small-town, rural Alabama. I had a pretty sweet childhood. I lived within a 5 mile radius of much of my extended family and was shielded in blissful ignorance of much of the ugliness this world holds. I thank my parents for giving me and my brother that childhood experience. I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease after my 14th birthday and struggled through my teens and early adulthood in and out of hospitals, doctors offices, and through too many surgeries to number. Despite illness, those around me never limited my ambition to live in normalcy: I competed in cheerleading, I became a lifeguard, I judged chickens in FFA, I entered beauty pageants, I acted in drama club, I held memberships and offices in clubs throughout high school and college, and I obtained 2 degrees in healthcare. I was not held back or labeled differently and that has prepared me to be the mother I need to be. That whole part of my journey strengthened my resolve to give my children the same opportunity that no matter what they can go get after their heart’s desires, live in normalcy with full inclusion, and eat life. I get wanderlust and enjoy traveling. I am a sucker for any good people watching experience. I love to paint, but rarely do. Put a good Malbec on a table and I will be there glass in hand.

I am a wife who met her sweetheart at a birthday party at age 6. We began dating in high school and married after college. My husband is amazing in so many ways and continues to amaze me with kindness, strength, and brilliance. He holds my whole entire heart and has since day one. The first time we touched and I knew I would marry him: he was putting his coat around me on our first date. He is my best friend and we are partners in this life in all things. I can get Lovey-Dovey and mushy and try to not make others gag, but when asked I will talk about how awesome he is.

I am a mother to a smart, strong, handsome son named Henry who happens to have Down Syndrome. Henry is our jolly little king. He was born with a joyful, smiling yet commanding spirit. I am also a mother to a fierce force of a little boy named Ezra. Ezra is our angry little warrior. He arrived to this world with concentration and judgement in his eyes and vocal displeasure at any slights. Having Henry and Ezra is one of the greatest joys of my life. Being a mother is beautiful and gut-wrenching and joyful and raw and I wouldn’t trade one millisecond of any part of it for anything. We are on the go every day with physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, early childhood education classes, and doctor appointments sprinkled in there too. I mother full-time Monday through Friday and work 12 hour weekend shifts as a nurse.

I began my nursing career in the depths of the recession as a clinic nurse in an OB/GYN office and switched gears after one year to be an OR nurse specializing in neurosurgery and trauma in the busiest level 1 trauma center in the state. I’ve worked the last 9 years in the OR, completed a year of travel nursing in California, and recently began working in a weekend night shifts. I graduated with a masters degree as a nurse practitioner before Henry was born but have not pursued a career down that path and probably won’t for many years.

My drive in life is to create a world my sons can be happy living in. I will advocate for them and push for full awareness, kindness, acceptance, and inclusion for them and all people with neuro-diversity until my last breath.

This is me.

Woman. Wife. Mother. Nurse. Advocate.

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