Being my own boss

Most of you know the story behind why I am planning the Little Fire Big Heart event to benefit CCA. On the surface its simple - we had Aiden, we were shocked/scared/worried about his condition, we hit the ground running, did our research, found a great team of doctors and stumbled upon the wonderful group of people at Children's Craniofacial Association when we needed them the most. Planning this event for CCA was a no-brainer. We have been very fortunate to have much help and support from friends, family, and even strangers. We know how much easier our road has been having people to talk to and lean on. CCA helped make that happen, so we wanted to make sure we gave back in some way.

Some people said I was crazy for taking on a project this large - right when we were finally looking at some surgery-free down time - but to me, this whole idea has been about more than just giving back to CCA. Quite honestly, all of the planning, phone calls, meetings, brainstorming and time spent developing this event has been a very positive outlet for me.

After Aiden was born, I can remember being at the hospital, my mind swirling with emotion, and having a hard time figuring out what foot to put in front of the other. There were so many unanswered (and unanswerable) questions. So much to think about. So much thrust onto our plate without having a choice or a clue as to how to handle it. There was talk of surgeries, appointment after appointment with specialist after specialist, therapies, disability health insurance - really mind-boggling stuff. I needed to be sure I could take charge of the situation and that meant leaving my job, which I loved, so I could focus on my newly appointed role as Aiden's mom. My employer, my boss and my co-workers were all very supportive and knew that home was where I needed to be.

As my career in marketing ended, my life as a full-time stay at home mom began. I always dreamed about having the opportunity to stay home with my family, I just never thought it would be more out of necessity rather than a choice. At the time it didn't phase me - I was doing what needed to be done. I grabbed the bull by the horns and worked tirelessly to make sure I was not leaving any stone unturned. I took my newfound role very seriously to say the least. Sometimes I had to remind myself to just stop and enjoy being a mom, and not just look at every day as another day on the job.

We made it through the first year and a half - surgeries, therapies, milestones and all - and life started to become more predictable. More routine. I no longer had to focus my energy on coordinating Aiden's care. Bills got paid and doctor visits were stretched farther and farther apart. Stress gradually diminished. And suddenly I found myself antsy.

I had become so good at what I was doing - managing schedules, discussing treatments with medical professionals, making follow-up phone calls, all while wiping bottoms and doing laundry. I had the multi-tasking thing down pat. So when it was time to sit down, take a deep breath and RELAX, I just couldn't do it.

My mind had shifted from defense to offense. I had the opportunity to start thinking proactively rather than reactively. And so the spark for doing something for CCA was lit. A few friends and family members and I got together to talk about what we could do, and Little Fire Big Heart was born.

With many hours of work going into this event it really has become my new "job". It allows me to think creatively, set and work towards a goal, utilize skills that I loved to showcase in my short-lived career in the corporate world, get out of the house to meet people and converse about things other than Winnie the Pooh or peanut butter and jelly, and, best of all, I still get to kiss the boo-boos, snuggle with the boys on the couch in between emails and stay in my pajamas if I so choose. I'm my own boss and I love it.

So while I am definitely enjoying the surgery-free downtime, clearly I need to work. It helps me feel useful. It helps me feel like I am making a small imprint in the world. And sometimes it refocuses my energy from the doubts, the fears, the worry that can creep up without warning into something more positive and productive. It's a win-win.

As the months go by and Little Fire Big Heart takes shape I am continually amazed by the support I have received along the way. I'm so excited to see all of the hard work materialize on September 25th. Thanks so much for the people near and far that have come together to make it happen. And for understanding that adding more things to my plate is just something I'm used to now. Knowing I have people there to help bail me out if I need it is one reason I'm able to keep pushing forward through it all. ;)

PS - Don't forget to register for tickets. There are only 150 of the 250 tickets remaining!

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