Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a love for words. I recall listening to the The Cay, hearing Timothy’s thick accent crafted aloud from the comfort of my mama’s arms. “Young baaaassss.” As I grew, my love for words endured – I remember reading a book under the covers with a flashlight on many, many nights. When I entered my teens, my mother told me that her biggest fear for me would be that I’d decide to read a book while driving. Imagine that! I do admit that, these days, I’m thankful for audio books and public radio.
And so… degree in journalism, check. Graduate work in bilingual education/language acquisition, check. Loving every second of my work in the middle school classroom, serving as publicity coordinator for a local theater, and volunteering as a babywearing educator… triple check.
But the truth is: balancing a work life is an immense challenge with small children. I had two of my own by this time, so when the opportunity arose to combine my instructional and communications background with my love for children, I took a deep breath and shifted course.
But I have to go back in time a bit, because life creates magic for you sometimes years before you ever knew it was coming.
I met Chrystal in 2007, before we signed the line with our soon-to-be-husbands…. years before kids would enter the equation, and back when dancing into the wee hours with our girlfriends was a thing. When Chrystal’s first daughter and my first son were born just a few months apart, we began navigating the road of parenthood together. We wore our children in carriers, questioned the norms that hurt our hearts, and began to find the answers that fit with our own versions of parenting. We grew closer. Along the way, she and other women in our circle of energetic, passionate creatives and movers began to see our lives intersect in incredibly special ways. I brought my background in education to the table as I started teaching babywearing to local families and moved into a different career path; Chrystal’s talent and eye for capturing moments through the lens began to catch notice.
It was Chrystal who so lovingly crafted the idea that would become Free Hands Full Heart – a place of connection for parents on this road alongside one another, and an intersection of babywearing and photography – and, from my very first word on the blog over a year ago to today, and into the future, I only hope that my handling of her dream will do it justice.
These days, I feel incredibly blessed and fulfilled by what I do. I work for an immeasurably special family-run small business in a role which pairs my publicity, content creation, and educational background with helping families to find comfort and connection with their own children. We are nurtured in finding the pieces of ourselves that feel most authentic in our work, encouraged to spend time with our families through travel and flex schedules, and loved and supported in every way, every day. The honest truth is I pinch myself most afternoons on my drive home, thinking how fortunate I am to have this incredible opportunity which allows me to balance my extrovert personality, my passions and experience as a babywearing educator, and my love for the written word – all while working for a company in whose products, values, and team I believe so wholeheartedly.
And then stepping beyond that… here, at Free Hands Full Heart, from my very first words shared on this blog and into the foreseeable future, I am thankful for the chance to bring you into this sense of normalcy and belonging as well – through my personal experiences and through the stories, photos, and writings shared by others. Parenting, babywearing, all of it. Sitting here on my youngest’s bed while he dozes off an afternoon of Dory and popcorn, the strongest feeling running through my veins is the excitement of this journey. I can’t wait to see where it takes us together.