How I Got Here

Cleveland Heights is home. I’ve moved around a lot as an adult—for my master’s work and for my husband’s job. But there came a moment when our family realized we needed to put down roots.

We chose Cleveland Heights deliberately. We wanted to live near family. We wanted to be someplace beautiful, someplace we could breathe. And we wanted community—to be surrounded by creative, caring, and engaged people. When we landed here, I quickly knew we had made the right choice. This is where we want to raise our children, become empty-nesters, and grow old. We have come home.

Since moving here, we have bought our “forever home.” We had our third child, and my husband and I love getting involved with our kids’ school and other causes. And slowly, as our third-baby fog began to lift and we could finally see past the next bedtime, I tuned in more and more to the unique community advocacy and local governance here in Cleveland Heights.

Going back further, I was born in Columbia, Missouri. After my parents’ divorce, my mom moved us to Denver, Colorado, when I was about five so we could be closer to family—it’s always been true that single mothers need a strong community. My mom worked full time, lived frugally, and always put me and my two brothers first. Our grandfather—her father—was a huge presence in our family life and our primary father figure. The older I get, the more I recognize the huge impact he had on who I am today.

I earned my bachelor’s degree, with a double major in English and Philosophy, from the Metropolitan State University of Denver while working full time all the way through college. After college, I worked for a few years in the service industry while also doing freelance editing work. This was a period of hustle for me, when many times I struggled to pay the bills on time each month. I remember laying in bed at night with a pit in my stomach, trying to figure out how to pick up more shifts, or maybe sell something, like my bike, in order to pay my rent, my student loan, the utilities, and so on. I will never forget that feeling of anxiety, struggle, and exhaustion.

At 31, I moved to Buffalo, New York, to pursue my graduate work, where I earned a master’s degree in Literature while continuing to freelance with editing while expanding into writing and brand strategy and messaging. One day, while having coffee on the patio of a local café, a handsome man in a kilt came walking by, and I introduced myself to him. About a year and a half later, we were married, and about nine months after that, we welcomed our first child.

We were both freelancers, and we knew that now, with a child, one of us needed a “real job.” My husband found one, and it took us to the Albany area of New York, where we knew no one. Although I did eventually build an amazing community through my political activism—the bonds forged through working for what you believe in are very strong—my husband and I reached a point, as my mother had decades before, when we knew we needed to be near family and put down roots.

We chose Cleveland Heights. A choice I am grateful for every single day.