I haven’t gotten much right in my life. I was not an easy child, and although I do know I was loved, I have always been impulsive and precocious, quick to jump in to trouble. School was a horrific experience for me. I was smart, but not at all good at being smart in the ways that brought praise and good grades. I drove more than one teacher to distraction, and failed more than one class. When my teachers started talking about colleges I rolled my eyes, as I considered the combination of my inability to function or cope in an academic environment and the fact that in my family, college simply wasn’t an option. I was also a bully magnet – that annoying, loud mouthed kid who didn’t even have ONE similarly irritating friend to their name. And I’m not the kind of person who can take rejection, disdain and insults in stride. The end result being, by the time I made it to my teen years, I was a screwed up mess of self- loathing and raw angst. We all know how that fares when one is female and moderately cute. I went from being a bully magnet to being a bad boy magnet. My parent’s hair turned white overnight, and my self – esteem, already in tatters, completely fell apart. I fled to Guatemala at 18, got sick, came home, worked a bit, fled to the Dominican Republic, and got sick and came “home” again. Two years later, I was getting married. No where along the way have I had a successful “career”, made it to college or even managed to sort of make up for my history of preemptive failure – at least in my own eyes. And then, in November of 2009, I found out I was pregnant. Whether I was ready or not, whether I was capable or not, a baby WAS coming to live with us, and as completely lost and terrified as I was, I knew, for the first time in my life, that I couldn’t back out. My biggest fear was – and still is – that I would fail miserably. The jury is still out on whether or not I have – but I do know one thing. IF I fail, it won’t be from lack of effort. It won’t be because I gave up before I even started, or because I was too overwhelmed to see things through. Being a Mama is the FIRST thing I’ve done in my life that has unequivocally NOT been a failed attempt. Leo and his brave Daddy are my anchors. I can’t even begin to appreciate them enough. And Motherhood has changed me in every way conceivable. Being Leo’s Mama took me down my path to where I am now – firmly in my “crunchy”, Montessori teaching, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, natural parenting niche. He’s shown me that I do indeed have strength that I NEVER imagined, and his love and faith heals me daily.