I’m the keeper in my house.

I keep the calendar. I keep the lists. I keep watch. I keep the silent prayers in my heart. I keep the budgets. I keep the snacks in my purse.

I keep our house running like a mix between a well-oiled machine and a chaotic pirate ship.

I keep everyone taken care of.

It is just what I do.

But before I became the keeper, I was someone else.

There is the girl I was before I became a wife and mother–before my world changed.

Sometimes I miss that girl.

That girl, she was spirited. She was loud and sometimes messy. She didn’t always get it right. She had plans and she had goals.

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I miss her carefree spirit. I miss her laughter. I miss her boldness–the type of bold that packed up and moved to a city far away to live out her dreams and set the world on fire.

It was that same kind of bold that saw her meet the man of her dreams and pack back up and move right back to where she started.

Love changed it all.

Once that girl found the one, when I found my one, the path changed. Suddenly, setting the world on fire wasn’t what I desired anymore.

My goals morphed and became about building a life and a home and a family.

So we did just that.

I became the keeper.

I keep the vows. I keep rocking the babies. I keep moving forward.

I keep on keeping on.

But, I’m more than the keeper.

Yes, I am a wife and mom.

Most of my days revolve around being a caregiver for my family. That is where I am in life.

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I have four children and two of them have autism. There’s a lot that goes into keeping my family rolling along.

It is the greatest job I have ever had. It is also the most exhausting and demanding.

But I am also a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and a friend.

I am still me. 

Yes, somewhere along the line I lost a little bit of myself. I lost touch with the girl who used to be me.

But I’m working on it.

I’ve started to prioritize myself a little more. I take time for myself to read or write or simply exist in my own company.

I’m not the girl I used to be, but I’m more than the keeper.

And I’ll keep going.

I’ll keep learning. I’ll keep advocating. I’ll keep evolving.

I’d like to think the girl I once was would be proud of the woman I’ve become.

Originally published on the author’s Facebook page

Marisa McLeod

Marisa McLeod lives in Waterville, Ohio with her husband, four kids, and two dogs. She is a Golden Girls, Disney, and organizational junkie. She can usually be found sipping coffee (or wine), watching terrible reality television, or Pinterest-dreaming her next adventure. You can keep up with her on her blog https://howmanymonkeysjumpinonthebed.com, Facebook @howmanymonkeysarejumping, or on Instagram @risasue040582.