At the preschool where my sons attend, I’m becoming known as, “The One-Arm Mommy”. I can hear the kids whisper it to each other as they see me walk by.

Picking the boys up at school, you’d almost think I had 12 kids – they all gather around when my boys run up to me.

And, it’s all ok. In fact, I’m super good with it. Those kids are recognizing a memorable characteristic in me. And, they’re talking about it. Not in a mean way. They aren’t making fun of me. Or making fun of my boys.

When they ask why I have one arm (which they do, every time) I tell them. I kneel down and let them touch little arm and little fingers. It’s who I am.

I’ll periodically ask Luke if he’s ok with the kids asking about little arm all the time. He says, “Sure Mommy, they need to know.”

I’m the One-Arm Mommy. I’m other things, too. I’m a wife, a daughter, a friend, a college professor. You can put “one-arm” in front of all of those titles and you would be 100% right.

I will be one-armed wherever I go, no matter what I do. It’s part of my identity.

There was a time in my life when that was pretty hard to accept. Having the title of “one arm” or “different” or “fill in the quotes” – made me feel set apart. Self-conscious. Awkward. Abnormal. Weird.

But over the course of my adult life, I’ve really leaned into it. Leaned into the describer by which I’m so easily recognized.

Which one is Anna? Oh she’s tall with blond hair, wears glasses sometimes. No…dude, I’m the one-armed one! Let’s be real! The only one-armed woman in the immediate area – might as well call it as you see it!

Being on-armed is part of my identity but it doesn’t define me. It doesn’t confine me or set any rules. It doesn’t break me down or limit my abilities.

Instead, it tells a story. My story. It lets people in. It communicates that I’ve discovered a few things about navigating life. And, I have a lot more to learn. We all do.

What’s your story? What can you share with others to help them on their journeys?

What can you bravely and boldly embrace in your life so that when you walk by, you’ll hear people whisper to each other, “she’s been there, how do I even start?”

By leaning in. Taking one day at a time. And realizing that your “fill in the quote” doesn’t press you down – it can lift you up.