When we have visions of our futures, I think it always involves mental snapshots. At the alter under the perfectly designed arch, wearing the ultimate boob-enhancing and waist-reducing dress... Behind the corporate desk with the lovely and helpful assistant only a few steps away, about to conduct your first staff meeting... Lounging on your yacht in Monaco with Diddy in one of your lounge chairs... Sitting on a back deck that you helped build, with your grandkids running around the perfectly manicured lawn. Or a little baby, old enough to stand supported by chubby legs, hanging on to the baby gate the leads to the kitchen.
Having a baby is a big deal. As such, it can only be taken in in little bites. I think you spend most of the first half of your pregnancy (once you've stopped being sick) picturing your adorable bump. And what you'll look like walking around the park with your adorable husband and the adorable bump. Then you get near the end and the bump isn't as adorable and you stat picturing an actual person.
You sit on the couch and you say "In only 8 weeks we're not going to be alone EVER AGAIN. How mind blowing is that?" And you put up the crib and the bassinet and you stare at them and try to picture a tiny little person being in there. And then they're here and it's so surreal that there aren't any mental snapshots that were ever that powerful.
I still can't picture Charlotte being old enough for elementary school, but as she gets older, month by month, I can start to envision what might be next. She babbles with such a purposeful look on her face, that I can picture her talking on and on and on to us about whatever her little brain deemed important that day. And she can walk along the furniture, so I can almost picture her walking.
But before all that, when she was just a tiny little chub with the biggest cheeks you've ever seen, the only two big girl things I could picture was her sitting up on her own, looking up, with her arms outstretched for us to pick her up, and her standing at the baby gate, looking at us while we cooked dinner, longing to get near all the hot dangerous stuff.
So when she stood at the gate the other day, with her fat little thighs on full display, it struck me that I was looking at my snapshot. My other snapshot is B and I at our lake house, with three grown kids, sharing hysterical laughs and strong cocktails.