This is it: the last month of the last year I was not a mother.
When you zoom out on your timeline to see where the most poignant dots of your life lay labelled, one of my largest will sit snugly at the beginning of the year 2017: “first baby born.”
If life were a movie, this dot would mark the before and after point when everything changes; on screen, the hue brightens, the contrast shifts, and the music (by John Williams) bubbles more energetically and complexly than it ever did before. And the deep and irreversible change in the fundamental makeup of Carly and Johnny—now “parents”—is felt just by looking in their eyes.
At 29 weeks (or 6 ½ months pregnant), part of me is daunted by the sheer size of the tidal wave that is poised to crash down on the only life I’ve ever known. How recognizable will I find the landscape afterward? Will I be the same? Will I still have a free spirit to channel, a social butterfly, a frisky lover?
And the other part of me rushes towards the swell with a surfboard, exalting in the splendour of the sparkling waters, eager to flow with the greatest and most challenging ride of my life.
As the weeks count down to February, it feels as though I’m taking turns slowing down time and speeding it up. Here, revelling in the now-numbered cozy Sunday morning sleep-ins, there, fantasizing about holding my son as I sing to him through my growing belly.
And yet, I find myself increasingly noting the dots, big and small, on my timeline.
The time we moved into the home in which we would start our family. The time I had to wheel out the garbage bin for pickup with a big belly and learned to stop feeling sorry for myself. The time I actually sat down to enjoy a fancy holiday coffee and watch folks pass by.
Time ticks away so quietly, it can be easy to let the moments breeze past indistinctly without taking pause to appreciate how truly special they are.
Some may say that December 1st 2016, the first day of the last month of the last year of my selfish, childless independent life, isn’t worthy of observation. I say every day this month is worthy of noticing. The poignancy of approaching motherhood may be the catalyst that compels me to celebrate the smallest moments. But it’s also the touchstone that will always remind me how much better life is when you pause to observe the dots as they fall onto your timeline.
So, whether yours are large or seemingly minuscule, don’t stop noticing them. The dots are truly what life is made of.