I can breathe again. That deep inhale-exhale that comes at the end of a marathon, an end that doesn’t seem to come soon enough. There’s an exhilarating feeling that comes with those deep breaths though, the knowing that you’ve accomplished something… that the running uphill was worth it.

In parenthood there comes all sorts of moments that elicit feelings that run deep. Blood deep.  Not the least of which is guilt. And in our world today, we stand like that guy on a stage with about 20 balls spinning on every part of his body and you’re looking on with dropped jaw just wondering where he’s even going to put one more, because there’s no way he can add another one. THEN HE DOES. And here comes the mama guilt… because you know we’ve dropped at least half of those figurative balls by now. Because even as I type this I’ve got about three loads of clean laundry gaining creases by the minute in baskets on my bedroom floor and a suitcase that sits at the end of the bed only half-unpacked since my first day home from my last trip was spent bouncing a teething baby on one hip while popping Advil and longing for a bath to sooth some crazy sore muscles, and I don’t even have a fun excuse like mountain climbing or a new pilates class to explain how they got that way.

But that’s the beauty of motherhood and parenting… of living life in general, because even without kids, we’ve all got a balancing act going on. Balancing life’s overt beauty with the times we have to look, even squint, to see it.

Ahh, but home, even with the whining and the uncooperative muscles and the laundry piles we can’t keep up with, it trumps every other place I’ve been in the last couple of months… and I’ve got a few weeks of those deep breaths ahead of me.

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In the meantime, I’m learning to balance the balls I do have spinning and the ones that fall, the ones that stare up at me giving those guilty vibes? I’m gonna kick em’ right off the stage. Because sometimes, us mamas (or whatever place you may be at in life… student, grandma, etc.) have to realize that maybe, just maybe, we aren’t always supposed to spin twenty balls at once.  Maybe we can just take one, one really magnificent ball and spin the heck out of it.

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I’ve had my share of face-palm realization moments lately, and have even been remembering to really be with my little ones. Like realizing I’m on the phone when I don’t have to be… on a boat, just before sunrise, and quickly stashing said phone away in my pocket for the duration of it’s jaunt so I can fully breathe in the chilly morning air and the vibrant blues that steal across the sky.  Like enjoying the rare occasion that my big girl climbs into bed in the middle of the night, just because she wanted a hug… and keeping her there to cuddle, watching her smile grow wider as I kiss the bridge of her nose and tell her I missed her while she slept.  Like embracing a weary little body, knowing our nighttime feeding routine is fleeting with each day he grows older and milking it for all it’s worth (pun intended).

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And mostly, knowing that it’s okay if a ball drops here and there. That sometimes after all the running, it’s good to just be home.  To just be.  And yes, a clear space makes for a much more creative and productive space and so I will get to the piles of clothes and the suitcase cluttering my floor. But that’s another ball for another day.  For now, I’m going to pick ONE really, really great ball and spin the heck out of it.

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