Last weekend, we went out in Seattle to see a movie in the theater and have dinner with friends -- on the same night. Crazy, I know. These are the things you're supposed to do before you have a child.
Between the movie and dinner, I saw the real change coming when we were shopping at REI. Our friends' cart had dehydrated meals, a sleeping pad and new camp coffee mugs. Ours had a stroller drink holder accessory. We were already in drastically different places. I so wanted to be on the backpacking end of the register.
Ever since we crossed into the third trimester, my radius of activities has slowly gotten smaller. A few weeks ago, I had my last big outing with friends mountain biking outside of Mt. Rainier National Park. Now within two weeks of our due date, I am appropriately confined to an hour's drive from home and definite cell phone service.
Of course, it's not fun to play when Amanda can't. Some of our favorite outdoor activities are a couple hours driving, at least a few hours hiking and often without cell phone service, which is kind of the point. We've got a social circle that gets after it on the weekends. Amanda has been feeling less ambitious as her belly has gotten bigger, but I feel... well, the same. I'm not carrying the same weight. While we're slowing down on activities, it feels like we're missing out on more of them.
Yet the change is already happening, and satisfaction doesn't come so easy when I do get to play. I'm already distracted. I played soccer this last weekend and told Amanda I'd be gone for an hour. Although the field is in our neighborhood, I wasn't going to be able to hear my cell phone if she called. I checked my watch constantly to make sure I didn't lose track of time. I thought, "Will this be my last pick-up soccer game before having the baby? When is the next time I'll be able to do this?"
I know when the baby arrives, the flip will switch. Backpacking hauls, powder turns, or scoring a goal will be less entertaining compared to interacting with a new life I helped create. It's another step toward selflessness where all of the above is the plain opposite.
The mountains will always be there for me. So will the playing fields and adult leagues. The real fear is missing out on those fleeting moments to come: first cries, big yawns, cackles, blow outs, rolling over, first steps, first words... That's the good stuff.