I’m 6 months pregnant. My baby-to-be has been busy.

I’m officially six months pregnant. I’ve done the math, and I still have over three months to go (what’s up with that?!?!?). I wrote a few things in the first months that I thought I would eventually publish, but mostly it’s just me cursing the day I got pregnant & going on and on about how I felt hungover and sick 24/7 day after day. You could probably do without that. But i figure I at least take a moment to go back to the beginning.

I’m not someone who is easy to embrace change. I am nurturing, but I’m not exactly “motherly.” I’m not someone that has always wanted kids. Growing up I did because I thought that’s what life was, but the older I got the more OK I was without them. I’m not just saying that. I have been SOOOO happy. As I reached my late 30s, though, I thought, “Now or never.” “You only live once.” I can analyze a small decision (what’s for dinner?) for hours, but something like being a parent–I gave it those two thoughts. I figure it’s two more thoughts than most people give.

The people I tell are always way more excited than I am, so I just soak up their excitement & try not to seem too indifferent. I try to embrace my belly instead of mourning my triathlete life & pants that button. I thought I would stay busy doing prenatal yoga and drinking healthy smoothies & being like those crazy ladies that do dead-lifts and squats until they are 9 months along, but in reality I just try to stay awake long enough to get through work, keep my business afloat & try to not make more than one stop at McDonald’s per week.

When I found out I was having a girl, I was a little in shock. I grew up with two brothers–so that’s sort of what I know, but then the idea of a mini-me started to grow on me. I am a researcher at heart, but the one thing I should be studying (parenting 101) I haven’t one bit. I have some vague sense of confidence. “I got this.” “My whole life has prepared me for this.” Everyone gives me advice, and I of course nod my head–but for the first time in my life, I don’t have any desire to be overwhelmed with knowledge. My only real hope is that she is kind to herself and others. If she is humble, that is a bonus.

Anyway, I’ve made sure while the lil one is in the womb that I take her on some adventures while I can still force her to go with me everywhere. Hopefully she had ears for some of it, otherwise–she missed some good tunes! Here’s a list of some of the things we’ve done:

1) I took you to see several blonde bombshell country singers: Miranda, Dolly Parton & Dixie Chicks. What do all of them have in common besides their hair? They are strong women who are completely at ease with who they are. As for Dolly, I needed you to hear this amazing superstar of a performer. I hope you found the same peace I did in her uniquely beautiful voice. Miranda writes and sings the most heartfelt, heartwrenching songs & shows all different sides of herself in the process. If I could’ve afforded Beyonce tickets, believe me–you would’ve been the first in line there, too. Also, side note– I am also so so so sorry that your dad made us go to his yearly outing to see Phish. Your mom is not the “jam band” type & after 4 hours, how can anyone still be into it? Next year I can use you as an excuse not to go (something I will be doing a lot! Thanks kid!)

2) We spent just about every day with your big brother (also known as our dog Huxley): People have told me I can’t forget about Huxley when you are born. They say I will be so obsessed with you that I may not give Hux the attention I used to. What they don’t realize is that he will always be my little boy, and he will be the best big brother to you. He likes to lay his head on my belly, which you probably know by now, & I’d like to think he is saying hello. You’ve been to dog parks, hiked up mountains in Big Bear, & been swimming in the pool with this little guy. He will love you just as much as I do, and since dogs live much shorter lives—I have to love him 4 times as much as a human. He is a part of the family, and he can’t wait to lick your face, eat your toys and steal your baby food!

3) We did a duathlon together (run/bike/run): You were really little, so you probably don’t remember. I wanted to show you how powerful you can be. Even when it gets tough you can still keep going! I tried to take it slow, but we won a 2nd place medal anyway. I will tell you winning doesn’t matter, but medals are sometimes fun.

4) Working with kids: I wanted you to hear all the laughter I hear when I’m at work—coming from me, my students or my co-workers. I hope you know how good it feels to work with others & find joy in our lives on the daily. I hope you didn’t hear me yelling at those kids when they got on my nerves.

5) Listening to your dad play banjo: OK, ok he is just learning, but I wanted you to know how much love your dad is going to have for you & how he spends his evenings these days trying to learn a song to play for you on the banjo. I wish I could say the same, but I’ve been watching lots of election and post-election coverage & horrible reality TV. In good news, by the time you are born you will already know every character on all the BRAVO shows–which takes some people years to learn!

7) We voted for HILLARY together: I was so extremely hopeful we would choose the most qualified candidate who ran on the platform of LOVE and KINDNESS (the boys don’t do this), and I was so ready for you to be born at a time when a female was president. Not only a female, but someone who has spent 30 years of her career focusing on better lives for girls and women. It was not meant to be, but one day it will be! I will tell you often how Hillary led the way & without her, a female president would have never been possible. We will vote for the next female president together, too (are you allowed in the voting booth? OK GOOGLE: is 4 yr old allowed in voting booth?).

8) We protested and marched together: I know, I know—you are EXHAUSTED already, but I want you to know how important it is to stand up for human rights. Everyone must be treated with the same dignity and respect, and when that doesn’t happen we will speak out against it. Don’t worry, I was the first to leave the protest because…well, I was hungry, and I’m eating for two.

9) We road tripped: Not just any road trip, we crossed state lines & went running in Nevada, Utah and Colorado. I wanted you to know how beautiful it is out there in nature even though you can’t see it yet. The outdoors will always be the most beautiful refuge for you when the “real world” gets too overwhelming.

10) You were met with love from all around: Know that when I am not enough for you, there are so many others out there ready and waiting to shower you with all the love in the world! Our family, our friends, our community—it takes a village (some wise woman who should’ve been president may have written about this), and I will give you the best! They may not all live in the same state, but we will travel the country to see them so that you can feel the same love I felt (and still feel) growing up.

Now, I still have several months left, which will include a trip to New Orleans (we will not be lifting up our top off for beads) and my hometown (a stop to Rosa’s for some burritos! You will love them!). I may not be ready for this adventure, but I know that I am super qualified at making sure you will have a life filled with love and laughter & miles and miles of riding along in that jogging stroller.