"When are you due?" I'm already at the point that people can ask me that without worrying - even for an instant - that they might be mistaken. And then - and this is the part that makes me wince a little - when I say July, and not, say, March, they kind of have to process the information politely. Of course, I'm teaching the fitness class they happen to be taking, adding a whole other layer to that Q&A. I'm supposed to be worthy of being their fitness mentor, at least in the moment. And I am worthy - I mean, what could be more powerful than demonstrating military push-ups with a baby obviously growing inside of my body? But I'm at that point in my pregnancy in which I've started to drift out of the nothing-but-gratitude stage and into the 'slovenly' stage (technical term), and it shows. I've just bought a maternity workout top to try to appear more like the fitness professional that I am.

In other ways, though, my impending July deadline is galvanizing. I don't think I'd be taking a children's book illustration course without it, or prioritizing creativity, travel and organization right now, now, now. I'm not sure I'd be so forthright in my relationships, seek to make my opinion resonate at work, or be so explicit and urgent about teaching my daughter all that I can this instant. I probably wouldn't be thinking about taking her on a spring train trip to NYC. And, I probably wouldn't be eating quite so much ice cream. Babies have a way of making priorities very clear!

Above all, I think, every day, of the amazing opportunity I get to spend the summer enjoying our children and our home, the river and the flowers. We'll get to coast into the chaos amid beauty and warmth - what better way to experience it?