I was born in Birmingham and grew up in Forestdale because it was close to my Dad’s work at ACIPCO. I credit my mom for teaching me back roads throughout the city. It comes in handy with traffic and interstate construction.
My mom was a nurse at Princeton Hospital when most moms didn’t work outside the home. Working every shift, she still filled my childhood with fond memories. We ate Pete’s Hot Dogs when it was one of the few places to buy Grapico. We shopped the flea market at the fairgrounds and loved the free biscuits at Arlington’s “Art on the Green.” I used my first library card at many local libraries and loved sliding on the metal slide at Ensley Park. As a little girl, it seemed so high.
My working mom organized neighborhood kids playing at each other’s houses to give their moms a break. I remember exploring the downtown YWCA while my mom took belly dancing.
A little bit more about me: as a teen, I recovered from an eating disorder triggered when a boy called me “chubby.” I graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in communications. I got my first job with The Birmingham News, and my heart told me Mount Olive was home.
I struggled with infertility, trying for years to have my first child. Living with someone with an addiction contributed to the end of my first marriage. It wasn’t always amicable, but through faith and forgiveness, we’re now friends. He recently celebrated ten years of sobriety, and we co-parent our son, Cory Davis, a student at UAB.
Swearing “never again,” I married Tony, my husband of 17 years. His co-ownership of Alabama Hard Surfacing keeps us rooted in the Birmingham area. Subscribing to Don Henley’s lyrics, “You just bloom where you’re planted.”
Our daughters, Molly and Jesilyn, came along quickly. They’re 12 months and 25 days apart. It was like twins but being pregnant twice.
Molly was born with Down syndrome and a heart defect requiring surgery at ten weeks old. This thrust our family into the overwhelming life of having a child with special needs.
We maneuvered early intervention with The Bell Center, Hand In Hand, and a Special Place Preschool.
Molly loves school, dance class, and baseball at Miracle League. It was Molly who picked me up off the floor to comfort me when I got the call that my son, then nine, was diagnosed with a horseshoe kidney. His kidneys are connected, so he only has one. He has IgA Nephropathy, a kidney disease that could require a transplant, and the disease could infect a donated kidney, too.
After all this, I knew God wasn’t done. I knew it would be my health next.
On February 1, 2012, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Having breast cancer, ADD, and fibromyalgia, it’s a struggle to find energy to get through each day. Early detection saved my life, and I still post monthly breast self-exam reminders. I am eight years cancer-free.
Our family enjoys watching Jesilyn dance at The Alabama Theatre and The Lyric Theatre as well as cheer at Gardendale High School football games. We celebrate special occasions at The Bright Star, The Fish Market, and Niki’s West.
I consider it a blessing to have been a working mom, a single mom, and a stay-at-home mom. I am excited about this opportunity with Birmingham Moms Blog, and I hope to share what I’ve learned through life’s ups and downs. In the last month, I’ve unexpectedly lost my dad and moved my mom (who has Alzheimer’s) into assisted living.
Molly has been known to escape; she jumped out a window, leaving me unable to work a traditional job. I’ve struggled to find my purpose. I worry about the pressure on my husband to provide as well as the impression it makes on my youngest daughter. When I worked briefly from home, she saw me balancing it all and said I was thriving. Jesilyn has big plans to move away to college, and that will be challenging with one income. I don’t want her to resent her sister with special needs if I’m not able to help provide what she envisions for her college experience. But God is constantly reminding me this is where I’m supposed to be.
With all life has thrown at me, I truly believe our greatest resource is each other. Something good has to come from all this. My favorite Bible verse is II Corinthians 1:4: “He [God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort others.”
I attempt to balance it all through my faith, caffeine, chocolate, yoga, and sharing stories about our life with laughter. I look forward to sharing more of my story with all of you!