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PHOTO: The Browns had a family photo taken at Five Points in downtown Franklin. From left are Ansley, Taft, Reese, Kristen, Cooper and Perry Campbell. // Photo submitted

By JOHN McBRYDE

Kristen Brown knows what it’s like to be pulled in multiple directions.

As the mother of four children — each with their own interests and their individual schedules — Brown has simultaneously learned how to juggle, how to perform a balancing act, and how to be in two places at one time. She’s as much a magician as she is a mama.

And come Mother’s Day on May 12, as mothers all over the country are honored on the holiday that dates back to 1914, Brown can bask in the satisfaction that she has lived the dream of what she wanted in her “professional career.”

“I’ll be honest, being a mama is probably the No. 1 thing I wanted to accomplish in my life and I am living in the moment right now,” Brown said. “We’re busy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Brown was a stay-at-home mother for about 16 years, working with her husband, Taft Brown, in raising three daughters and a son. She rejoined the workforce last August when she was hired as a full-time receptionist at Poplar Grove Elementary School, where three of her children attend (two in the middle school).

“It was pretty much already home for me,” Brown said of the school in the Franklin Special School District. “I’ve been heavily involved with PTO and volunteering at the school. [The receptionist position] allows me to be in the same location where my kiddos are, and on the same schedule. When they’re off, I’m off, and I get to go and be Mom in the afternoons and evenings.”

And Mom stays plenty busy.

The Browns’ oldest daughter, 16-year-old Ansley, is heavily involved in theater at Centennial High School. Cooper, 14 and in the eighth grade, plays football and baseball and is constantly on the athletic fields. Perry Campbell, 12 and nearly 13, is in the seventh grade and a basketball cheerleader. Reese is a 10-year-old fifth grader and perhaps busiest of the four playing soccer, being involved in theater, and “trying out for all sorts of sports for next year,” Brown said.

Brown and her family — which includes her parents, John and Peggy Cottier, who moved to Franklin from Colorado about a year ago — will spend Mother’s Day going out to some place special for lunch and simply enjoying each other’s company.

As for any gifts, Brown said, “I’ve requested a new lawn chair so that when we go to sporting events, I’ll have something to sit in.”

Otherwise, just being a mother to her children is the gift she treasures most.

“I think my biggest advice [for any new or young mother] would be, live in the moment, because none of these phases last for long,” she said. “So if you especially enjoy one, soak it up because it’s not going to last; you’re going to move into something else. And if you don’t love it, just hang tight because it’s not going to last long either.

“I had a great mentor when my children went to preschool who often said, ‘They’re long days but short years,’ and they go fast. Those days can seem long at times, but the years just fly by.”

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