As I considered myself, the ways in which I identify, while writing the About page for this blog, I thought of all the names I have in this life. So, to help you know more about me, I am recognizing all the these titles, and enjoying the names that make my heart flutter. I thought this would be a good place to begin my blogging journey. I believe once we know who we are, we realize what we can give the world.
Professionally, I am a communications specialist for a non-profit organization that serves local youth who have been abused, neglected, and traumatized. Prior to this position, my husband and I were full time residential houseparents for this organization; we lived in a house with eight teenage girls and our own daughter. The rewards we were granted through this experience ultimately outweighed the stress, chaos, and exhaustion caused from the schedule and nature of the job. Hearing those girls call us Miss and Mr. made my heart flutter; those titles were as good as Mom and Dad. We knew our work there was purposeful. We felt confident that our presence in these children’s lives was making a difference; breaking the negative cycles their families were stuck in. Through our relationships with each other and our daughter, Stella, our girls learned that love is real and that they each deserved that authentic love. We cried, a lot. We talked about and thought about our girls from sun up to sun down. We dedicated our lives to changes theirs. The work was heavy, dirty, sad, angry, and alive. It overtook our own lives in so many ways. We sacrificed our creativity, our self-care, our family time.
After our second child was born, we knew houseparenting was no longer tenable for this season of our lives. As the universe would have it, a new position was created while we were on maternity leave. A position I was not just qualified for, but in all aspects, I was born for. So, through story telling, I continue to serve this organization with passion and love. The title doesn’t make my heart jump the same as when I heard one of my girls yell, “MISS!” as she walked through the kitchen door after school, but the work makes my soul happy.
My husband is Adam. He is Zen. He sees me and keeps me. He uplifts me and helps me grow. Sometimes he calls me Rose, and sometimes Baby or Mama – per the circumstance. Any of these names, spoken with his voice, brings me home and grounds me. But,on the occasion that he calls me his Wife, my heart flutters – fast. When I was a little girl, I never dreamed of being anybody’s wife. I wasn’t even sure I believed in the necessity of marriage. Thirteen years into this relationship, I have spent nearly ten as Adam’s Wife; a sacred title I have grown to cherish. The older the title gets, the more value it gains.
Our Stella is cut from the same cloth as my husband; while Alistair is his mother’s son. They both have crossover traits, sure. I am in love with them both, and together with Adam they own so much of my heart. My every day life is dedicated to teaching them love, forgiveness, empathy, compassion, and grace. I’m certain that I was always their mother, even before we knew each other. Meeting them, knowing them, and loving them has a power all its own. My heart flutters every time Stella’s soft voice says “Mommy…” and now that Alistair is learning to talk his favorite word is “Mama mamamama.” Has anyone ever heard sweeter words?
My best friend has been with me since first grade when we pretended to be robotic aliens in search of battery acid to survive. In third grade, her family moved into the house next door to mine. We would eventually marry brothers and become the aunts of each other’s children. Today, we have been best friends for over 25 years. We both moved from our small town in south Georgia to southeastern Pennsylvania to live closer to our in-laws. So, we see each other at least once a week, talk daily, and strive to support each other through marriage, motherhood, and finding ourselves. We call each other Bugg, I suppose we have since middle school. Our children call us both Aunt Bugg. These names have a special flutter in my heart, held only for Elizabeth and her children.
Sister is another title I enjoy having. The literal sister to my siblings and in-laws, and the greater sense of the word as I relate to humankind. When one of my siblings says to me, “Hey sister…” I feel connected and accepted as the flutters settle into my chest.
We all have different names and titles that address who we are, how we identify, how we serve, where we expend our energies. I am trying to focus more on the people who call me names that make my heart dance. Those people are my priorities. Those people are my everyday purpose.
If you read more than one post on Pausing for Grace, you’re sure to learn more about these favorite people of mine and why my heart flutters at the sound of their voices speaking these names.
I look forward to sharing my thoughts here.
Agere Contra, friends.