My ever-expanding waistline isn’t the only thing that’s changing. With J gone more than ever and my two closest friends also missing in action, our usual whirlwind schedule of playdates and field trips and group activities has come to a halt. The weather finally decided it was summer after all, and our long hot days are different than they’ve ever been.
As excited as I am to welcome #2 to the family, part of me worries how my relationship with E will change. I know my heart will expand to love a new baby as much as I love her, but my attention will forever be divided. And I only have two arms.
With some big changes behind us and even bigger ones ahead, I’m suddenly aware that these last few weeks and months—before E starts preschool, before we bring a new baby home—are unique and fleeting. It’s just her and I, and now that she’s a full-fledged person (though a very short one who still wears diapers) she’s less of a liability, more of a companion. We may never get time together like this again. Realizing this has made me shove my to-do list aside, stop planning and worrying and obsessing about the future, and sit back to enjoy the lazy days of summer with my number one girl.
Last time around, I remember people telling me to enjoy my last few childless days, since I’d never get them back again. But I was too busy planning, stressing, and anxiously waiting for a baby that I forgot to relish not having one for a few last, irresponsible moments. If I could do it again, I’d do more yoga, see more movies, take a last minute vacation to somewhere far away and exotic and stay a few extra days, just because. I’d lie on the beach and read books until the sun went down. I’d go to bed late just so I could sleep until noon. It’s too late for all that, of course. Luckily, a second pregnancy means I get a do-over. Not for being childless, but for making the most of life the way it is—before it changes forever.
So we’ve been making enjoying our summer with no real agenda other than to enjoy the sunshine and each other’s company. We go out for pizza, just us, and play games on the red-and-white checkered tablecloth while we wait for our slices (cheese for me, mushroom for E.) We lie on our backs in the grass, blowing bubbles and watching the clouds. We browse fruits and vegetables at the farmer’s market on the weekends—E’s big enough to sample the strawberries and learn how to check for a perfectly ripened tomato. We splash in the pool until our fingers are pruney and white. I’m learning to listen to what she’s really saying, instead of half-ignoring her babbles. And she saying lots of things—that she really loves grapes, that her favorite person in the house is the dog, that she’s pretending there’s a circus on the kitchen wall.
Taking this time to be present with E has been one of the greatest gifts of my pregnancy so far. I don’t know if I’d have been as mindful or as grateful of this last summer together if I weren’t aware, all the time, of a very different future we’re travelling toward. It’s nice to see the joy ahead and appreciate the joy behind, but for right now it’s even better to spend these lazy summer days living absolutely in the present—and loving every minute.
How are you enjoying the moments before your life changes? Are you taking time to celebrate the final moments before you become a parent? Are you finding new opportunities to enjoy quality time with the kid (or kids!) you already have? There are so many ways to celebrate the present and look to the future at the same time…I’d love to hear your stories!