It's been a big year. In the last year, I've watched Zoe grow into a 1 1/2 year old, wild toddler with her own opinion about everything. I've seen Chris excel at his job and become a man I am ever more proud of,  and I've watched my slow, painful, yet exciting transition into full-time mommy, part-time careerist.

The last process was the most difficult. I've felt like yelling "NO! I'm not ready for this!". I've literally kicked, screamed, and fought my way through motherhood (much the way leaving Baby-Time at the library is on Wednesdays with Zoe). The first three months post-birth were the easiest because I felt like I "deserved" those blessed, exhaustion-filled, bleary-eyed moments of pure bliss. Plus, I was literally, attached to Zoe by the breast. There really were no other options. If I left her for longer than 3 hours, it physically hurt. Yes, physically. During this time, I somehow managed to survive the GRE (a five-hour ordeal during which I pumped directly before, considered requesting a strange bathroom break to pump in-between, and also pumped directly after). Around the time Zoe was a few months old, I took a Certified Nurse Assistant class because birth had produced a new wild passion for healthcare. My husband graciously allowed these endeavors, and other people were quick to help me with Zoe in those early days.
Then, one day, my parents (who had stayed in the area for 3 months after the birth), packed up their bags and went home. I wasn't prepared for the sudden loneliness and daily "Who am I?" psychological struggles that barraged my personality. I had a crazy, crying motherhood-crisis on my hands. I loved Zoe, but I also loved my life. I loved Zoe, but I also loved my dreams and ideas. There were many days where there wasn't room for both.
This marked the time in my life I will call the "Physician Assistant Era". I threw myself into Biology, Chemistry and Health classes, to the surprise of my Biology teacher husband. I took several online classes, community college classes and researched getting my masters in Physician Assistant studies. My experience in the hospital with the excellent nursing staff and healthcare workers had given me a marked appreciation for science and it's practical applications. For about a year, I was obsessed with applying to P.A. school. When Zoe was napping, I was studying. (I'd like to note, this was only possible because I have a miracle baby who takes extremely long naps.)
Long story short, I got into one school with several prerequisites outstanding. I had applied early (before I had all my classes finished) on the off-chance that some school would take a chance on me. It was about this time that I realized, lo and behold, that I was pregnant again.
If you were so obsessed with P.A. school, why would you go and get pregnant again? You may ask. I felt the same way. I felt lame, unsure of myself, and well, kind of stupid.  I was so sure I knew what I wanted, that I couldn't believe that I had allowed a brand-new baby to tag along. What was I thinking?
I had to do some serious soul-searching. I realized that I had been unsure all along that this was the right path for me, right now. It was hard enough to take classes at night, on Saturdays and during naptime. Physician Assistant school was 8-5pm, with no breaks to see Zoe, no playtime, etc. for 2 years. Somewhere in the back of my heart, I was adjusting to motherhood and the rhythm of staying at home with Zoe. 
At the same time, I secretly wanted to be the mom who could do it all. I wanted to be the mom that threw caution to the wind, showed up on the first day of class with a burgeoning belly, ready to pop the second one out, and aced all her tests. The problem was, I knew I was NOT that person. I am the kind of person who has to sleep 8-10 hours a night. The kind of person where someone sneezes across the room and I get sick for a week. The kind of person who thinks she can handle everything, and then ends up crying in the shower and having a mini-mental breakdown that has to be alleviated by her husband. I am not the kind of person who can work 50-60 hours a week and be an awesome mother. I believe there are those people out there. I know there are, and I secretly envy them.
It was hard blow. Chris was supportive of me, even to the point where I had concocted a wild plan of moving to Minnesota, Chris taking care of the kids, taking on $125,000 in school debt, and working part-time with 2 kids after I graduated (while Chris found another job?!). We couldn't afford two kids in daycare without taking out a bazillion loans. I felt, well, ridiculously trapped. I was a permanent, never-gonna-change-the-situation, real-deal mother.
Then, miraculously, God stepped in. He provided an older mother who mentored me to realize that my mind was in la-la land, and that I was not really enjoying the whole motherhood thing because I had over-extended myself. Then, a new job opportunity came up that was right along the lines of my original major in English Writing. I began to write resumes, at home, part-time as a contract writer. And I loved it. And I was able to be with Zoe. And I was able to feel like I was using my brain during the day.

So that's where I'm at. The wise mentor mother recommended that I file "P.A. school" under "maybe-later-but-not-now" in my mental filebox. That's what I am doing. I'm taking it all one day at a time. I remember telling this same woman, "but you don't understand, I'm not even good at being a mother!" when she asked what was making this so difficult. She laughed and told me I had only had one year at my new job as a mom. "I don't know very many people that are good at a job after one year."

So true. Someday I will be an Executive-Level mommy with more than 5 years of experience. Until then, Zoe will have to deal with her green, fresh-out-of-college, entry-level Mom.