The End of an Era

These days are ticking away at a pace that's fast and slow all at once. I'm five weeks away from my due date, and were it not for this giant belly and baby's constant kicking, I can't imagine anything feeling less real. It's all gone by so fast this time. I've hardly had time to process this pregnancy, let alone write about it. I can't believe it's almost over. And despite the discomfort of late pregnancy, I've got to tell you, I'm not quite ready for it to be over.

I remember being this pregnant with Lucas. I was so excited and so ready to be a mother. I could hardly wait for my water to break or the contractions to become regular. The car seat was installed, the hospital bag was packed, the nursery had been ready for months. I would take long walks in hopes of inducing labor. I went to the hospital twice with false alarms. I was anxious, restless, ready.

These days don't feel anything like that. I'm trying, without success, to slow down time. I know her day is coming, but every day I seem to whisper beneath my breath, not yet. The laundry isn't done yet, the car seat isn't installed, the hospital bag is not packed - as if somehow my  lack of preparation will hold off the inevitable. As excited as I am to meet her, hold her, kiss her beautiful face; I'm still not ready. Not yet.

Because her arrival marks the end of an era, a time and a place I will never be again. It will be the end of Lucas' run as my one and only, and it makes me sad to know the days of just us two are almost over. Before I became pregnant again, I thought Lucas was going to be my only child, the first and last, my forever baby. Letting go of that notion had not been easy for me, and as our duo days come closer to an end, the more I find myself struggling with it.

I'm missing him while he's sleeping; sneaking into his bedroom to watch the rise and fall of his chest. I'm letting him watch too much TV for the simple pleasure of having him sit next to me on the couch. I'm reading Goodnight Moon ten "last" times, because I'm the one not ready to say goodnight. I'm allowing him to pass the days as he wants; going on walks just to gawk at the granite boulders in front of the elementary school or spending hours in Target staring at vacuum cleaners and detonating all of the noise-making toys.

I'm cherishing the simple moments; the unrushed nature of our days. I'm appreciating how calm and quiet it is, tantrums and all. I know this is the end of an era, and the beginning of a new and even more exciting one. Soon our lives will be forever changed; our realm of love expanded to include this new life that I still can't quite wrap my head around. We'll succumb to the unpredictable rhythm led by small, flailing hands and primal wails. Soon, but not yet.

Not yet.