The last few weeks have been very busy, filled with all the end of school year field trips and events. Each night I have collapsed into bed at around 9:07completely exhausted. When my children were babies another mom said something to the effect of, "wait until they're older and in school, then you'll be busy". I remember thinking, I am busy! And I was, but, she was right, NOW we are busy! As I lay in bed each night, I think of the day and smile because I am doing exactly what I always dreamed of doing. All I ever wanted to do was be a mom. A stay at home, cook hot breakfast, pack home lunches, afternoons at the park, driving around to school, sports, fill-in-the blank activity, mom. My home life as a kid was....not so great. Please, let me emphasize first though, my parents loved us and did the very best they could. We were always fed, clothed, and taken care of and I know there are many, many other families who have it far worse than we did, however, it was rough. My parents struggled with their marriage and that fact was made very apparent to my brother and me. There was a lot of anger in my home. I always felt like we were just pretending to be a family. I would look at other families and wish my family could be like that. Of course, I never knew what struggles those families certainly had, but as a kid I wanted my family to be close and happy, like them. I remember one very specific night. My dad came home from work and announced we were all going to go have a family night and go bowling together. I remember it so clearly because that was something our family never did. Don't get me wrong, we did lots of things, we went camping and rode motorcycles and had vacations, but it was almost always with just one parent and us kids. Very rarely did we all go out together as a whole unit. So this night was very special. I remember sitting in the bowling alley and looking around at the other families and hoping they would all see me, my family out together having a fun time, like a real family. I wanted a real family. That is what I set all my future goals and dreams upon: having that family. As I grew up I realized that my parents had very real struggles and now, as a parent myself, I have so much gratitude for my mom and dad for taking care of us as well as they did despite their personal battles. I love my parents, I really do and this is not about raking them through the coals, but I want to be completely honest. I wanted something better for myself and my children. My dreams came true when I met curly haired, red cheeked, 18 year old boy named James. We fell in love so fast and made plans for the future. My husband in an amazing father, the best any kid could ever, ever have. He works harder than anyone I know and goes way above and beyond to support his family. He is wonderful to me, he makes me laugh and has always told me how beautiful I am, even when I was pregnant with Savanna and weighed 200-ish pounds (ish meaning more than 200). My children are the most amazing kids in the whole wide world. They work so hard, they are super smart and funny and kind and loving. When we go out to do family time I still look around at the other families and want everyone to see me, my family out together having a fun time. Only this time, we aren't pretending, we are a real family.