My little man made his way into the world in about as easygoing a manner as any baby could -- nine pushes and oh my goodness ... there he was. No screaming, no sweating, no drama. Just this beautiful bundle of a miracle, suddenly out of my belly and lying on my chest with heart-shaped lips and curious eyes.

My little man made his way into the world in about as easygoing a manner as any baby could-- nine pushes and oh my goodness ... there he was. No screaming, no sweating, no drama. Just this beautiful bundle of a miracle, suddenly out of my belly and lying on my chest with heart-shaped lips and curious eyes.

Before Cooper arrived -- long and lean at 22 inches and 7 pounds, 7 ounces -- I had held no more than five babies in my life. I didn't attend one parenting class. The how-to books I was sure I'd have time to read once he was here (ha!) were quickly shoved not-so-neatly under my bed, untouched.

As I write this, I am almost a month into motherhood, and each day is a new adventure in what else I don't know.

But there's an awful lot I have learned.

I know that if infants sleep 18 hours a day, Mom is left with roughly 8 minutes to herself.

The math may not add up, but this is fact. (I will now apologize to every new mom I've ever given the internal eye roll to when she tries explaining how exactly it is that she can't find time to take a shower in the course of a 24-hour day.)

I know that, as grand as it looks, cream is not the best color choice for the pad cover on the changing table. (I envision the folks who make these laughing hysterically as they package them.)

I know that you cannot have too much laundry detergent. (With two fabulous-but-always-on-the-move-sports-loving teenage stepsons, I once asked, "Who can produce more laundry than 13-year-old twin boys?" The answer, in case you're wondering, is twin teenage boys and an infant.)

I know that if you are within five minutes of walking out the door, the baby will puke. That if you are sitting amid 300 screaming fans at a junior high school basketball game, the baby will sleep (and that when you turn off the lights and turn up the calming-ocean sound machine, he will prepare to party). And that one helpful sister, four diapers and a complete travel set of wipes are not actually enough to get you through a restroom change in Outback Steakhouse. (Consider this a shout-out to them and any public place that has paper towels instead of dryers. Bless you!)

I also know that the women in my life -- even those I hardly know -- have surrounded me with a blessed protective shield of calls, texts, e-mails, cards, dinners and gifts. That I can actually sit still for longer than 15 minutes, just to stare. And that everything else can wait.

Perhaps above all else, I know this: That just when you think your life is so full of love that you could burst, a baby really does change everything. I've always been a passionate person, but I have this whole new pool of it that I couldn't have imagined existed.

On that note, then, I am excited to showcase in this issue other women filled with passion on all different fronts.

In these pages, you'll meet Suzi Rapp of the Columbus Zoo, who is one of the most respected animal advocates in the country.

You'll meet Janet Feheley, a Worthington woman full of verve for all things life and talent for all things fashion. (She designed and made the dress I'm wearing in this photo!)

You'll learn about Luconda Dager, who recently took the helm at Velvet Ice Cream-- becoming the first woman in the company's history to do so.

And you'll be introduced to several other fabulous women, too, from a stylish home goods designer to a dedicated doctor.

I hope you'll sit down with this issue and raise your glass of wine to passion, whatever yours may be. Here's to finding it, embracing it and cultivating it. (And hoping that if it poos on you, you will always be able to laugh.)

-- Kristy Eckert, editor