Is the divide between couples with children and couples without children really that absolute?
I don't want it to be. But I do sometimes look back on our pre-Skylar years like a person trying to imagine a time before Christianity. It's so hard to put aside the reflexes that spring up when you become a parent: the alertness to danger, the need to put on a façade for one's child, even the facility for coordinating loads that you would once have dropped in seconds.
Take this picture for example. It captures Kim on a Seattle bridge during our July, 1996 vacation centered on a week of backpacking excursions in Olympic National Park. As Dan correctly pointed out, you can see the snow-covered Olympic Mountains in the distance.
As I examine the image, though, I can't fully indulge my nostalgia. There's a voice inside my head saying, "Where's Skylar?" It makes me sad to think that she wasn't there with us.
I realize that must sound absurd. But that's what parenting does to you. It reshapes the past until it matches up with the present.