I guess the most obvious, most profound change is because of Charlotte.  I’m a mother.  I have a child.

I don’t think there could be a bigger change in one’s life than becoming a parent.

The focus of my life right now is her life.  Is she hungry? Is she tired? Are her feet cold? How’s her eczema? Did she take her medicine? How will we get her face to heal? Are we reading to her enough? How are we going to transition her away from a bottle? Does she get enough tummy time? Is it okay that she’s standing before crawling? Will her head round out?

She is a gift, this is a privilege, but man it’s hard sometimes.

And while doing my best to make sure she has a solid foundation from which to launch into her own, independent life, I’m also working really hard on my marriage.

Are we communicating? Do we spend enough time together, just the two of us? Does he get enough time to himself?  Do I get enough time to myself? Am I meeting his emotional needs? Does he still feel as loved as he did before the baby arrived? Is he getting enough sleep? Are we touching enough? Do we laugh enough?

And then there’s me.  I’m last.  And I’m okay with being last because my child and my marriage are my top priorities, and if they’re doing okay, I’m probably doing okay, too.

So I’m a parent, and I’m a juggling artist, and those are the two biggest changes over the last two years.

Oh, and I’m a homeowner, too.  Don’t even get me started on all that responsibility and how hard it is to wrangle all the dust bunnies that live in a 3,000sf house.

This is tough for me.

I come from an uneducated family.  I’m the first person on either side to graduate from college.

My father often struggled to find consistent work because he didn’t have a degree, but he is, without a doubt, one of the most intelligent people I know.

So I’ve come to this conclusion: if you’re smart, you’re smart. An education is tremendous thing, and it brings with it a lot of advantages and opportunities.  Its biggest advantage is its ability to open doors.

But an education doesn’t necessarily equate to intelligence.

I’m lucky in that I don’t have any one, big regret.  There’s nothing that eats at me at night, or nothing that I replay over and over again.

I have little regrets, though.  I regret eating too much sugar which led to my chubbiness.  I regret not taking control of my dental phobia sooner.  I regret not trying harder in college, not considering the ramifications it could have on my opportunity to go to grad school.

I regret my wedding dress and not getting highlights for the big day.

I regret not going to the Rolling Stones concert with my dad.

I regret not being open to a relationship with Allan the first time he asked.

Each and every mistake I’ve ever made has helped pave the way to where I am now, and where I am now is better than I could have ever imagined.  So, no big regrets.

Because this year is only 21 days old, I’ll do last year.

The obvious high: Charlotte

There were lots of lows.  Lots and lots of challenges – physically, emotionally, mentally – that accompany having a baby.

The lowest low was probably while I was in the hospital after having Charlotte.  I was alone in my room, struggling to get out of bed, and I started to cry.  I was more overwhelmed than I had ever been in my entire life.

And right at that moment, my nurse came in.  She sat on the bed beside me, pulled me into her arms, and held me when I cried.  She was an absolute godsend.

I still think about her.