Finding the right balance.

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That cute face up there? This is the face of fate.

The face of a boy who was determined to join our family before we ever knew he was exactly what we needed. This is the face of the boy who filled a hole in my heart that I didn't even know existed.

There is something that I constantly have to remind myself since having the second love of my life arrive only a little more than two years ago: the fact that, before he arrived it was just me and his dad. Dan and I started as two, just him and I falling in love and taking on the world together. I lived for him and he lived for me and we exhausted ourselves in trying to figure out how to balance life when you are living it for someone else. We figured out how to compromise and we recognized our weaknesses so we could work on them together. He stuck by my side when I questioned the core of everything we both believed, and he continued to love and support me anyways. I kept him positive and uplifted when he felt dark and dreary. We completed each other in only the best ways possible. We conquered demons together, climbed mountains and stuck side-by-side through thick and thin. In the short few years that came between dating and marriage, we did all of this together and our love for each other grew fast and strong, overcoming all of the odds. And then together, we created a perfect little life form.

When Jace joined our family I'll be the first to admit that I didn't have it figured out. I was a little reckless and carefree, but most of all I was not at all prepared. I didn't take a single class at the hospital about birthing or nursing or parenting, because I felt the mother qualities deep in my core and I never questioned them. I have felt from a young age that being a mother was something engraved in my soul, one of the few things that I was born to do. Because the truth is, I had already been a "mother" a couple of times in my life. I had a new sister when I was 12 and a new brother when I was 19, and as their sister I loved mothering them. It came naturally. And through them I learned and experienced plenty of mothering qualities.

When Jace was born I was relieved and proud that it all came so naturally, just as I suspected it would. It didn't feel new, but rather it felt automatic, like riding a bike. Which is probably a terrible analogy for having a baby. But it's the truth, in that it felt as though I had done it before and it came as easy as an instinct, as easy as picking up an old talent. I had it, this mother thing. I was a good mother.

And then I took that, being a good mother, and I rolled with it. My life became a beautiful whirlwind of changing diapers and feedings and naps. I fed him enough food to get stopped at the grocery store by every old woman there who wanted to pinch his chunky fat rolls and chew on them. You're welcome for that, by the way. I rocked him to sleep at nights and oh how we loved that rocking chair. The hours upon hours I spent in that chair, gliding back and forth, will always hold a place in my heart forever and ever. I read him books that he was much too young for and I sang him songs that would put him in a trance when he was fussy and upset. I lived on a cloud for the first year of his life and I really did love every second of it.

And now! Oh, now. Other than the glorious three-day-old stage that I could go on and on about, this here two year old stage is my very favorite. I spend every evening in a puddle of mush that comes from the cuteness overload that is two-years-old. Oh how I love it! But that is a post for another day, because it is an entire book worth of words in itself.

Back to that something that I have to constantly remind myself: the fact that, before he arrived it was just me and his dad. In fact without that stellar guy he calls daddy, he wouldn't even be here today. I like to think it was all me that brought this sweet little guy into the world, seeing as I did most of the work to get him here, but I guess the truth is that it wasn't all me. I guess I had a little help.

That man who I married, who I took on the world with, who stuck by my side when not many else would have...that man who with I have this soul connection, he can't be put on the back burner and forgotten about. He still gives me butterflies and makes me laugh and I love him so much that it kind of hurts to think about. And do you know what the scariest realization is? The thought that it is even possible to forget about that. That it is even possible to push love aside and let it go.

The very truth of the matter is that now, so much of my heart and mind is focused on our little guy. And making sure I am still Dan's upliftment and best friend is a priority that I have to constantly remind myself of. It's something that doesn't come as natural as being a mom does for me. It's something that takes constant work, discovery, effort and practice.

So we make sacrifices. We make time for plenty of date nights, no matter how exhausted I feel or how much mom guilt creeps in to tell me not to leave my little guy. I push through and still date my husband because we need that in our marriage.

And then we plan vacations, which is a whole ordeal in and of itself. I am always excited to plan. Like our Lake Powell vacation last summer. Or like our Vegas roadtrip that we are leaving for tonight. It never fails that I plan and get excited, and then the time comes to leave and I feel the panic set in. My chest feels heavy and breathing becomes harder. I start to bite my nails and snap at innocent people who did nothing to deserve it. All because I hate leaving him. It hurts my heart and the guilt that ensues threatens to drown me in it's misery. Isn't mom guilt the worst?!

But here is the other thing that inevitably happens: we leave on our getaway, and everything goes fine. Jace has fun at Grandma's and gets spoiled in the kind of way that the dentist will give us a lecture about. In fact, he usually forgets that we are even gone. And Dan and I hold hands and laugh and have fun together in that same way we had fun together when we first started out, just the two of us. We steal kisses and act like we are in high school. We reminisce. We connect. And we are reminded of things that can be forgotten day in and day out. Things like the fact that we are where this family began. We remember that we together are the heart of the family, the very core of the happiness that our children will ultimately have. It's us against the world again, renewing and restoring and regenerating ourselves so that we can be the wife and husband and parents that we need to be.

And in an overly wordy post, as I so often do, my point was this: go away mom guilt. Tonight we are heading to Vegas to spend a few days regenerating and feeling carefree together. And although he will be missed, this little gap-toothed-smiley-face boy will be spending the weekend getting spoiled with grandparents on his very own vacation.

For me and mine, it's all about finding the right balance.

And also, it's all about vacations. Because statistics show that without the proper amount of vacations in our life, we are 87% more likely to commit murder. Just kidding I made that up. But sometimes it feels true, and let's just say...WE NEED A VACATION.

Astalavista! Viva las vegas! See you next week!

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