Things look a little differently around here at Meek Manor. We’ve had a hot air balloon make-over!

When my husband and I met at a coffee shop in 2011, we were drawn to each other through our love of comic books and children’s literature. We each identified with a character, and we quickly became known as Batman and Ladybug Girl to our friends.

Our relationship was built on these foundations–imagination, adventure, and love. When our first son was born still, we clung to these. We struggled to find our new normal. During those first months, we looked for a metaphor to help us keep going–to find hope. While choosing a new charm for my Pandora bracelet one day, we found that metaphor: a hot air balloon.

Hope Floats

The hot air balloon in rainbow colors added hope to our foundations. We knew that no matter what came next, we could have hope. We hoped that we would get pregnant again, and if we did the hot air balloon would be our theme for that baby. But, even if we didn’t, the hot air balloon would be our symbol of hope, adventure, imagination, and love.

We did get pregnant, and the hot air balloon became our little “Stitch’s” symbol. My baby shower had the hot air balloon theme, and my mom even made her a hot air balloon floor quilt as a gift at the shower.

After a very anxious 36 weeks, our daughter was born alive and healthy in February 2016. She has been the light of our lives for the past 18 months, and fortunately, she loves hot air balloons.

Stitch has a hot air balloon mural on her wall, designed and painted by her daddy, with a little help from her Godfather. Her grandma made her another gorgeous hot air ballon bed quilt. We’ve fully embraced the hot air balloon in our home!

New Beginnings

In November 2016, I was introduced to Usborne Books & More, and I was so impressed with the quality of the books. For Christmas, we decided to host a book drive for the pediatric unit at the hospital where we delivered both of our children, in memory of our son. As the books arrived, I wanted to keep each one. After chatting more with my friend, a fellow loss mom who was the consultant for our book drive, I decided to become a consultant myself.

For the past nine months, I’ve been working to integrate the different areas of my life–wife, mom, writer, bookseller, crafter, and operations director of a non-profit. Like so many things in my life, I was probably overthinking it. The hot air balloon was right in front of me all along. It was our symbol of hope and the future before my daughter came along. So, it will continue to be OUR symbol.

Creating a Storybook Life

Books and storytelling have influenced my life more than I will probably ever fully understand. I even looked at storytelling for my honors thesis in college: “Oral History as Literature.” I conducted hours and hours of interviews with my step-grandmother, a gifted storyteller, about her life. I analyzed one three-minute portion of those interviews to show how oral history contains all of the elements of literature. My point is, storytelling has shaped me, through books and through the stories of the people in my life.

A family selfie at the place where our family started–the Asa Waters Mansion where we were married in 2012.

When you look at much of the great literature, fairy tales, and comic books, bad things happen. You can’t have a “fairy tale ending” without some sort of loss or trauma. Just as it is in real life.

My passion in life now, outside of my family, is connecting and supporting other families. While so much of what happens in life is out of our control, we still create our own stories in the ways that we respond to what is out of our control. We do that through sharing our stories with each other and keeping stories alive in our children.

I hope you’ll join us in this new adventure.

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