This little boy has not only brought so much joy into our lives, but he brings joy into any room, any setting and has no idea how much he’s changed my life. As a parent, I have learned to live with more care, more intent, and more discretion because he counts on me. He matters, his feelings count and while I can’t (and won’t necessarily) shelter him, I won’t live with any more burdens.

The funny thing is I think kids innately understand this and what he needed from me was to know that I matter and my feelings count, that I needed to do what was right for me while working towards what is right for us.

There will always be challenges, but again, I won’t live with burdens. This year brought with it so many choices that I finally learned I was strong and worthy enough to make. Whether it was things or people, choices had to be made, and as hard as they felt at the time, the truth was I gained more than I left behind.

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I gained a life of fun and laughter. I gained time. I gained freedom. I gained clarity and perspective. I’m a better mom for it, a better wife, a better person and a better employee. The burdens of negativity and the weight of baggage distracted me, and they made me tired. I was giving so much less of myself because they demanded too much and it was time to cut them off.

Things can change, and you should never burn a bridge. I’m not one for absolutes but turn your back if you need and keep moving forward. You can always check in through the rear-view mirror. No one says things can’t change, but if they haven’t at least this time, it won’t catch up to you.

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Less baggage. More Joy.

Location: San Antonio, TX