This I Know - I Have No Elevator Speech

Have I mentioned how much I love NPR? There are just so many amazing shows on there.
For sure, This American Life is at the top of my list. The Moth is a close second.

There's another great show out there called This I Believe - it's short essays written by random people on various pieces of their life. I thought of that show this weekend as I was helping edit my niece's college application essays and was thinking about how I would answer the question in her essay - Who am I?  If this were for the show This I Believe, it might just be the most boring and convoluted show they ever made....

I'm almost 40 years old - I should have a pretty solid answer to this.
My manager at my new(er) job once told me - always have your elevator speech ready. If someone asks you about your job in the elevator, you need to be prepared to speak to what your role is for the entire elevator ride. Be prepared. Always have an elevator speech.

I don't have my elevator speech ready to define who I am. That's a pretty big question...maybe one I will always be changing.

For nearly half of my life, I have defined myself by "I am a single parent." And though I am still single, and I will forever be a parent, I really don't define myself that way anymore. Except when I look at my pathetic bank account and non-existent retirement fund and then I remind myself that it's okay..cause I'm a single mom. I can choose to send my son to college, or I can save for retirement. Single mom choices...and I have chosen to invest in my son, not my future goal to end working at a particular age. I am a single parent - but my Andrew is an amzing young man, out in the world on his own, doing amazing  as always. He just doesn't need me as much...

My new elevator speech about Who Am I would have to mention that I am a therapeutic foster parent. Even though I only have a child about six days a month, and the required meeting 1-2x a month, my life feels more complete now that I can share my experiences. It's such a rewarding part of my life. I haven't been volunteering much - I have too unpredictable of a work schedule right now - but having a foster child is definitely filling the void.

In my Who Am I thoughts, I try not to include that I'm a person who has heart disease. It's difficult though, as I honestly think about my heart at least five times a day (maybe 50). That's down from 65 times, so I'm making progress. My friend told me the other day about how Rosie O'Donnell was hosting a tv show the other day and brought up her heart issue (the exact same kind that I had) MANY times during the show, and my friend thought of me. I feel bad, as I know that my friends were just overwhelmed with how much I brought it up last year, but I know exactly what Rosie is going through. It's such a huge shift to go from being "normal" to being someone whose most important organ nearly stopped working without warning. I had rarely ever stopped and thought about how my heart felt before my heart incident, but now I can't remember a day in the last 18 months that I have not thought about it multiple times a day. So as much as I would like to not include this in my elevator speech - I probably would have to.

I'd also add that I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady. I love my cats!!! They have been so sweet and cuddly lately! I have to refrain from talking about them every day. I recognize that nobody else cares about them as much as I do.

So - to recap:
Who Am I?
  • I am a single mom to my wonderful and amazing Andrew.
  • I am a therapeutic foster parent.
  • I am a closeted crazy cat lady.


  1. Lenore Webb said...:

    Gather round good folks and meet the amazing Kaylen! Yes, I did say amazing. You know she will not be the one to toot her own horn but I have a whole brass band here to do it for her. This is a woman who has the strength of a dozen men inside her. No do not look at her muscles, but at her heart that gives unfailingly. No matter of how hard it works to beat the love it shares is flowing over her family, friends, coworkers, many that she helps in her therapeutic ways and all of us in the blogsphere. Kaylen who gives a sweet smile while she is thinking of how she can give an extra step up to Andrew. The soul who gave birth to this man, the woman who nurtured him and the spirit that lets him fly. See she is amazing, I know you can see it too! Kaylen, our friend. Kaylen, that lady you see with the secrets in her eyes, the dazzle that shines bright, the love that pierces the heart.

    (How is this for you elevator speech?)

  1. I think you'd write an amazing essay on the foster parenting. You've already expressed some interesting thoughts in that vein in previous posts:)

  1. Denis said...:

    Hey is your heart in good shape? Maybe it was just blocked arteries which are now cleared up?

  1. Unknown Mami said...:

    You are anything but boring.

    Here's the elevator speech I would give about you.

    Kaylen is an inspiring woman who knows how to get things done. She can identify a need, harness the resources required to provide for that need, and turn that need into an accomplishment. She is creative, interesting, and interested. You most definitely want to be like her when you grow up.


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