“Love makes your heart flutter, like millions of butterflies dancing around in your belly.” - Beth Michele.
Growing up, I remember a story that my mom told me. She said something like, “Ben, when you grow up, you are going to be one of two things: either a nurse or a teacher.” She could see my developing and caring heart and the drive to help others in almost any scenario. Well, as you may or may not know, I hate blood and needles, but somehow made it through all of the seasons of Dexter. (Unpopular opinion: I liked the last episode of Dexter -- don’t judge, please still like me). Therefore, being a nurse or anything in the medical field was going to be a poor choice for a long term career. My interests quickly turned to teaching and helping. I was named ‘Most Helpful’ by my sixth grade class (insert me taking a bow for the honor). I LOVE the thrill of being able to show someone how to do something correctly and watch them build upon what they already know. Fast forward through high school to college time, and I made the easy choice of going into education. It was not a simple path: switching colleges, double majoring in Elementary Education and Special Education, working multiple jobs to keep up with the financial struggles of paying for things on my own, and constantly falling asleep at my desk with my hand inside a 64 ounce bag of Skittles.
Every year in my classroom we build what I can best describe as a family. Building that relationship - that family - together is something that I admire because we feel so many things together. We laugh. We cry. We grow.
Students show their vulnerability in the most unusual ways. For them to finally realize they trust you is something that just makes my heart flutter. We build this relationship from nothing more than a common place of needs and wants. They need to get a foundational education, I want to give them that education. They need this environment to build trust, values, and respect, I want them to become the best version of themselves.
Each year, these students grow on you. They glom on to your heart like a slimy goo that won’t let go, even if they use slimy goo remover.
Sidebar - Aren't we all glad that slime is not as big of a trend anymore? Seriously, that was the craze for like 2 whole school years and it was so annoying. We had make it with students as a reward or take away their slime during class because they won’t stop making weird sounds with it. Anyway, back to children being like slimy goo.
This is a bond that you cherish forever. Years later, I still have students or parents from previous schools that contact me and it just makes my heart soar. They remember my kind heart, my willingness to go above and beyond with their child, my awful(ly) awesome dance moves and cheesy jokes, me going to their child’s football game or dance recital. Each time that happens, a small flutter happens in my heart - a flutter that rejuvenates my soul.
That flutter is something that I am excited to share. And I am not talking about teaching heart-flutters. I don’t want the flutter to only happen when I am at school or over social media when students and parents reconnect with me.
I am ready to take the next step in my life. I am ready to start expanding my own family with my husband. Not just a cat or dog family (although that kind of family is beautiful and I cherish my three fancy, Harry Potter-themed cats). I am ready to be a dad to a human child! This is a journey that is new and exciting, yet scary and unparalleled. It will be unlike anything else I have done before.
Sean, my wonderful and nurturing husband, has been a great source of flutters for me. He raises me up. He makes me feel like that special someone by being a solid rock for me. I’ve been able to open my own wings and fly outside my comfort zone quite a bit because of him helping me through so many challenges. I want this journey to be #SuttonToTalkAbout with you. If you know us at all, you know that we don’t do things half-assed. We are planning. We are making timelines. We are determined. We are ready.
We do all this to help make us feel comfortable, safe, reliable. We do this to be ready for whatever may come our way. Do things change? Yes. Are there plenty of hiccups along the way? Absolutely. But that is also part of the experience. It is the same as teaching; I can plan for a perfect lesson, but something can go awry. It's how you respond and pick yourself up from those experiences that showcase your character and perseverance.
So, we hope you'll join us through that perseverance. Our wonderful (and expensive) journey to grow from a cat family to a human baby family will be documented through this blog. For me, this journey will be just like teaching full in-person class at school during COVID: unpredictable yet so satisfying.