::Down With Detroit::
Born and raised in Dearborn Heights, I am a mitten kitten through and through. My love for Detroit runs deep as you can tell by looking through our family photo albums. You can find shots of my cousin and I at the Fox Theatre attending Sesame Street LIVE in 1983, many shots of me in various 90’s homecoming and prom dresses at Belle Isle, and my wedding photos that are scattered all over the best city in the world! There’s also some late night St. Andrews Hall and BLEU photos from my early twenties that are, well, reminiscent of a wilder time!
These days I love heading downtown with my family for the many Detroit festivals! My husband and I also love finding random date nights downtown like The Detroit Drunken Historical Society’s meetups, the After Dark events at the Michigan Science Center, or Detroit Santarchy.
The typical Gen X “Work Hard Play Hard” mentality is the best way to describe my twenties. I had a full-time job, went to school at Eastern Michigan University, acted on stage in tons of community theatre productions, and DJ’d on the weekends and the occasional weeknight to pay for my travel addiction. I didn’t settle down and marry the love of my life until a few months before my thirtieth birthday. Mark and I were married at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament on Woodward on October 24th, 2009. Our gorgeous wedding was followed by a few years of realizing we had no idea what it meant to be husband and wife. Through infertility, a job that was requiring me to travel two thirds of the year, and getting to the day of our final divorce preceding before realizing our marriage was worth the work, we came out on the other side stronger than ever. Shortly thereafter we were finally blessed with the news that we were expecting our first child and had no idea just how much that child was going to alter the course of our life, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Outside of a job designing and creating virtual training rooms and curriculum for a tech company, I am addicted to stories. Give me books, movies, great tv shows, or Broadway and I am instantly happy!
::Babies & Beyond::
Benjamin James Freeman was born on August 5, 2013. He was 6lbs, 1oz, and came with an extra 21st chromosome filled with awesomeness. We had a pretty good idea Benny would be born with Down syndrome at 16 weeks pregnant, but it wasn’t confirmed until he came into our world. Having the honor of being Benny’s mama has changed my world, and me, drastically. Instead of DJing and doing theatre as a hobby, I am now an advocate for individuals with disabilities. I have a blog titled Ben Through It All where I detail the life of raising a child with Down syndrome. I also have a 501(c)3 non-profit titled The Down Syndrome Diary. I organize physical journals that are sent around the world from family to family. Each family has a child with Down syndrome, and they write their story in the diary before sending it on to the next. The purpose is to bring these families together through the written word providing support and community. My first diary that I sent out has been to twenty three different families and is now in the U.K. My diaries are currently reaching families in seventeen different countries and are being written in five different languages around the world. I plan to publish these stories when they come back to me with the hopes that they can bring light and hope to families that are just finding out their child has Down syndrome.
Today, I am a lucky mama to two babies. Benjamin is now 3.5 and thriving, and our daughter Ellie has just had her first birthday. I am honored to be a part of The Detroit Moms Blog and cannot wait to be a voice for all the other Mamas out there who have children with special needs. Being a mama can be lonely, and being a mama to a baby with special needs can be even more isolating. I want to be a voice for those mamas in Detroit and beyond to make sure they know that I see them, I am with them, and they are never, ever alone.