My name is Lauren, but I almost forget that when all I hear is “momma” these days.
As a child, I was seriously invested in the welfare of others.
My step-dad had previously lived in Africa and returned with dozens of paintings peppering our walls, sparking my obsession with Africa and all of its wonders.
I wanted to be a National Geographic Photographer and I wanted to join the Peace Corps. I came as close as joining the American Field Service (AFS) at 17 years old, living with a Ghanaian family for a month and working in two orphanages.
As a child, I rescued birds, dropped from their nests. I used heating pads and eyedroppers to try and care for them. I taped plastic containers on top of the sand mounds the ants made along the short walkway to our home, so that they would be safe during the rainstorm.
I worked closely with the homeless at soup-kitchens and inner-city teenagers through a missionary church.
I dressed my dachshund and walked her in my babydoll stroller.
I published my very own magazines, full of articles and quizzes (“Does your dog a: run out and pee b: walk a short distance to pee or c: sniff each and every blade of grass, peeing on everything in sight?!)
I never wore shoes outside and gained notoriety for this (even today for my total lack of a shoe collection).
I played “teacher” and “store” almost every single day, complete with tests and inventory.
I played the piano, easily.
In high school, I was the lead in three school plays. And I was good.
I was smart, but unpopular.
And now, I am a mom.
Trying to teach my four daughters everything I ever learned while still learning on-the-go.
Trying to witness and support their innate gifts, while wondering where the hell mine went.
Wondering how I can lead by example, when all I seem to do these days is serve.
My name is Lauren, and I’m still here, somewhere.
I just have to make time to find her and teach my daughters to do the same.