Katie + Howard
Where do we start? Well, first, thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
Second, you should know we are incredibly ordinary people. We pay our taxes, watch movies, floss our teeth (occasionally) and grocery shop together. We listen to music. Get lost in thought. Do chores. We open doors for others, say "Please" and "Thank you", and enjoy a good laugh, especially when they are hard to come by.
Like we said, we're ordinary.
And like most people, we've experienced hardships. Ours of late have centered around our journey to parenthood. Which is why we are writing what you are now reading. And while our paths through life have differed, with yours undoubtedly filled with its own twists and turns, they've led us all to here and now. This moment where we're asking you to consider partnering with us in parenthood.
If you are open to it, we'd love for you to continue reading so you may get to know us better. We hope you'll find us to be the kind, good people our parents raised us to be. But more importantly, we hope you come away understanding that while we may be ordinary people, we're capable of and surrounded by extraordinary love. Love that your child will experience everyday.
Sincerely, Katie & Howard
In the summer of 2017, during our third year of marriage, we decided it was time to start our own family. After a year or so with little to no success, we sought out fertility treatments hoping that, with a little help from science, we'd have better luck. We had no way of knowing that six years and countless doctor appointments later we'd still be no closer to our goal. The fertility treatments were grueling, but as draining and stressful as the process was, we survived and survived together. We're proud that we emerged knowing we can rely on each other to get through tough times.
So, having reached the end of our road with treatments, we're ready to embrace the reality that family can be found outside of what many define as traditional. To welcome a child into our lives and home and finally have the family we began dreaming of six years ago would be our privilege and honor. And so with our minds made up and love to give, we're looking forward to the future and what lies ahead.
Originally born in Missouri, my parents moved our family to Cleburne, TX (a small town just south of Fort Worth) when I was 4 years old. My parents would tell you I was a rambunctious and outgoing child - often outside climbing trees or playing games with the neighboorhood kids. Not one to sit still for very long, I was constantly on the move, maybe explaining my love for soccer which I played from an early age all through high-school; volunteering in my free time to coach young atheletes. Though I don't play now, I do continue to follow the sport and enjoy supporting the US Women's National Team, watching games on TV and attending matches whenever they come through town.
My family (immediate and extended) were, and are to this day, very close. We attended church regurlarly together, snow skied every winter and gathered with uncles, aunts, and cousins every summer for lakeside family reunions. And since our grandparents were still back in Missouri and Mississippi, we'd travel frequently out-of-state to visit them.
It was my love for physical activity and the opportunities I had to connect closely with other young athletes that drove me to pursue studies in health at Texas Woman's University (TWU) where I stayed after my undergraduate degree to work on obtaining my masters degrees. Since then, I've had the pleasure to spend my time as a Special Education teacher working specifically in the areas of Adapted Physical Education and Early Childhood Special Education. My job affords me the opportunity to work closely with underpriviledged families and students, helping them develop the skills they need to be included in society and not just physically, but by also helping them develop their voice to be their own advocated for inclusivity. I'm also a Special Olympics coach for bowling, soccer, basketball, and track-and-field.
Born and raised in San Antonio, I'm the youngest of three siblings and have on more than one occasion been accused, not wrongly, of being a "mamma's boy". An accusation that I am rather proud of. I love her dearly and she taught me what I consider to be the most important lession in life, be kind to others above all else. She, along with Katie, are the strongest women I know.
A pretty shy and quiet kid, I'd often choose to spend time climbing trees, flipping over rocks looking for creepy crawlies, or drawing on whatever scraps of paper I could get my hands on. Most of which I still do daily. However, climbing trees isn't as easy as it used to be.
Most of my interest in art (and rock flipping) can be attributed to my father, a landscape architect by trade. He taught me from an early age that creativity was something to be celebrated and shared. My best friend's mother, who was also my high school art teacher, was really the one who introduced me to graphic design and with the support of my parents, encouraged me to pursue a degree in design. Which I did at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth. Eighteen years later, I'm now a Creative Director for a small advertising agency in Austin which has allowed me the opportunity to work with iconic Texas brands like Whataburger, Shiner Beers, YETI Coolers and Deep Eddy Vodka.
My father was also an adventurous sort, preferring to spend time outdoors exploring the strange wonders it held. He'd take my siblings and me sailing almost every weekend in the summer; sometimes staying out on the water for a week or two at a time where we'd fish every day and spend every night staring at a night sky unobscured by city lights. We'd go skiing in Colorado every winter as a family and found ourselves taking "the scenic route" to get there. Which really meant going the long way around. But, hidden within that decision was a life lesson my father was trying to teach us. The scenic- route is where all the interesting places were hiding.
Having shared mutual friends from high-school and college, we actually knew of each other long before we ever met in person. And year-after-year of us having to listen to our friends always saying, "My friend, Katie" this or "My friend, Howard" that, we eventually found ourselves finally meeting at one of those previously mentioned friend's father's 60th birthday party in Katie's hometown of Cleburne.
To say we hit it off immediately by no means would be an over statement. However, remember what we said earlier about Howard. You know, we mentions he was shy, yeah? Well, it's a good thing Katie is the opposite. Headstrong and not one to sit idly by, Katie excelled in every way I didn't. We lived close to each other in Austin. We became good friends and eventually, after realizing how much we enjoyed each others company, we became more than just friends. We became best friends and life-partners-in-crime.
In 2013, we were engaged in the historic Driskill Hotel on the corner of 6th Street and Congress Avenue in downtown Austin and married the following year - surrounded by friends and family - at a quiet bed-and-breakfast in Fredericksburg, TX.
One last thing before we go
If you've made it this far, thank you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We can't imagine what this whole experience must be like for you. We all have our burdens to bear but if there's one lesson we've learned over the years it is this, we don't have to bear them alone.
There's another quote, rather a proverb, that makes its way around that says "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together." Hopefully what you take away is that we'll happily lock arms with you so that we all can face the future together, as partners in parenthood.