Friday morning I woke up to my weekly pregnancy update on my phone:
Congratulations! You are 36 weeks (9 months) pregnant!
Even when you feel 9 months pregnant it's a little shocking to see it in print like that. Over the last couple of weeks I've been doing a great job of nesting and checking to-dos off my list, but I haven't been appreciating these last days alone with Michael as much as I should. So, I decided we'd go on a date that morning - no errands, no chores, just me and Michael doing things he loves.
When the heat index is 108* (as it has been here for nearly a week), nothing sounds as good to me as the nice cold mall. It probably wouldn't have been Michael's first choice, but on this particular day I decided we'd go to the fancy mall - the one with a carousel, and a pet store, and a Disney store, and fountains and a giant fish tank - so I knew he'd be happy. Also, I had birthday money from my parents burning a hole in my pocket, and the fancy mall has the closest Anthro, so that settled it. We put on our fancy mall clothes and off we went.
We were only there for two hours, and I didn't buy Michael anything but a pinkberry, but we had a great time. He took his sweet time and chose just the right animal to ride on the carousel (a frog). We spent 45 minutes at the pet store - Michael chattering away to the birds and rabbits, both of us fawning over a feisty little pup who looked just like my childhood pup, Patty. We tested the entire line of Toy Story toys at the Disney store very thoroughly. We shared our first pinkberry - good! - and rode the elevators. Michael ran along beside the stroller most of the time. I didn't rush him or direct him too much, I just kept snapping pictures and taking in his happiness.
Once we were back home I started to feel a little sad that this chapter is coming to an end. Most of the time I'm so focused on what's ahead with the new baby, I only feel excitement. But our morning together was so sweet and fun, and Michael has been my little sidekick for so long now, the realization that change was right around the corner made my stomach turn. Then I remembered that when I was a girl (in a family with four children) my Dad made time to do special dates with each of us. I loved those dates and they always made me feel so special. They were never fancy or expensive dates, but I got to choose what we did and the emphasis was on spending time together - going to the beach and taking pictures, going to an art museum, and going to the movies stand out as some of my favorite memories.
So, instead of feeling sad I've made a resolution to start having regular dates with Michael. I'm hoping Tim and I can each have one special date with him per month - no baby brother, no pressure to get things done, no agenda - just enjoying some one-on-one time and letting Michael's happiness be our guide. It's such a simple concept, but one that gets lost in the day-to-day bustle far too easily.