My name is Chris Bird, but I also go by Mama Bird, a name coined by my coworkers in St. Louis when I became pregnant with my first and only child, Reagan (AKA Baby Bird). When Reagan turned six-months-old, we migrated from St. Louis to Denver when my husband, Danny was hired to fly for Frontier Airlines. The week of Reagan’s first birthday in 2008, life took an unpredictable nosedive when one night after being struck by an out-of-the-blue stroke at 39 years of age, Danny’s emergency room CT Scan showed tumors in his chest. He was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
For one year Danny endured a very aggressive cancer treatment and recovery program involving chemo, radiation and a stem cell transplant. His cancer had been completely obliterated and he was ready to begin a normal life again… and so was I. I had spent that year caring for both my baby and my husband in a city where we knew very few people and I just wanted to be able to hit the reset button and start fresh. However, it would be at least one more year before Danny could return to work at Frontier.
It was time for me to dust off my graphic design resume and 20-year career that I thought I had just retired from. After winning a Mom Makeover from Denver Parent Magazine, a career coach thought I should try adding blogging and social media to my resume to expand my career options. I took her advice and Mama Bird’s Blog was born.
My career coach was right, a lot of opportunities have opened up to me by way of this blog. Not only have I procured some pretty cool work in social media, I’ve gotten some really nice paid writing gigs too. Like this one for Hinsdale Living Magazine.
But, the most amazing thing that has happened so far? Being interviewed for and profiled in New York Times Best Selling Author Sir Ken Robinson’s newest book, “Finding Your Element,” which came about after Mr. Robinson’s co-author, Lou Aronica, found this post on my blog.
It has been a pretty wild journey. But, back to where we left off on this windy road…
What we thought would be only one more year before Danny could work again stretched into two. In addition, he was forced to medically retire from the U.S. Air Force Reserves after 20 years of service. Another big disappointment. He loved the Reserves. All of this meant I would need to continue freelancing.
In between graphic design contracts and freelance jobs, we tried to make the most of Danny’s time off from work by doing some family travel when we could. After all, we still had use of his flight benefits. At the same time, a friend introduced me to travel blogging and TravelingMom.com, convincing me it only seemed logical I should become a travel blogger. Duh! I’ve now been writing about our family adventures as Standby Traveling Mom there and as Mama Bird here for three years and haven’t looked back since. I can’t believe I resisted the idea for as long as I did.
Today Danny is back flying for Frontier again after more than three years away. And after six years of juggling home and career, I’m finally able to do what I always wanted to from the start: be a stay-at-home-mom. Who travels. And writes about it. Never expected that last part to be part of the equation, but how can I give it up now?
Our journey from 2008 until now has given us fresh perspective and new goals, as summed up pretty well in the Disney movie, “Up.” If you haven’t seen it, rent it. Now.
Doing our best to live in the moment and making the most of each moment we’re given.
Email me @ Chris [at] mamabirdsblog.com.