Marley aka Marley-girl, Marley-Moe, Marley-Marl
My 8 year old is the epitome of the quintessential older sister. She is headstrong, smart, at times a little bossy and has no problem telling anyone who will listen that the first is the best. She’s my little drama queen and isn't ashamed to admit it. Like her father, her brain soaks up every bit of information, but like her mother she’s always ready to perform. Sometimes she’s a little too smart for her own good. She's the kid whose hand shoots in the air before the teacher asks a question and 9 times out of 10 she has the right answer. She’s spunky, kindhearted, sentimental and loves deeply. My Marley is beautiful inside and out. When she was born, my father would say “now you’ll always have a buddy”. I didn’t get it until after he died. She and her sisters love me unconditionally and I am blessed to be their chosen one.
Maya aka MyMy, Maya Papaya
My beautiful and smart middle daughter is my tough girl. At 6, she has a no-nonsense, take no prisoners attitude. She’ll give you the roll of her neck and tell you like it is. I joke that Maya will be Director of Secret Service when Marley becomes President of the United States. She’s reserved, cautious and extremely observant. She notices EVERYTHING. It takes a little time for her to warm up but when she does, she’s witty, silly and ends up being the life of the party. She can get on the floor and roll around with her baby sister or sit cross-legged and have an intense conversation with her grandmother. When she was born, I was sure she’d grow to be a tomboy but she’s a true girly girl and fashionista, which she doesn’t get from her mama. She was my first “oops, my bad, what had happened was…” baby. We hadn’t planned on having a second child so soon, but we are blessed to have her and wouldn’t change it for anything.
McKenna aka Mac, Mac & Cheeks, Big Mac
Throughout my pregnancy I was convinced she was a boy. I’m sure it was because I was jealous of my husband and his daddy’s girls. I really wanted a mama’s boy. I still do, but that’s another topic for another day.
Mac is the baby of the bunch. We’re still trying to figure her out. She’s got a few years before we can pinpoint her personality. She was “oops, my bad, what had happened was…” baby number two. She brightens our days and brings joy to our lives with her beautiful smile. She adores her sisters but makes it very clear that she doesn’t enjoy being treated like their doll. She loves mommy and daddy unconditionally and does a great job boosting our egos. We live to hear here speak our names and love when she gets excited as we walk through the door. Although we didn’t expect her, we couldn’t imagine our lives without her.
I am a mother! I am a wife!
Owning these statements does not minimize my individuality.
I used to get offended when people would address me as "Marley, Maya and McKenna's mama" or "Frank's wife." I'd respond with a sarcastic "Oh, so that's who I've become?" or I'd reintroduce myself with a firm "No, I'm Gabrielle." I fought it because I was afraid to lose myself. One day it dawned on me that I work hard at being their mother and his wife. I decided, then, that I wouldn't shy away from wearing that badge of honor proudly.
I am also a career woman!
I strive to set a positive example for my girls. Constantly reinforcing, by my actions, that you can do it all, if you want to. It's not always easy but it definitely is possible.