Spring. The transformation of our world. Signs of hope and life after a long and dreary winter.
Spring. The season of birthdays in our family.
My youngest is the locomotive of this party train. This year we celebrated her day with a big tea party. Since pink is her color, we had pink tea, pink hats, pink tissue balls, pink toe nails, and her most adamant request – a chocolate cake (with pink sprinkles).
Spring is a nostalgic time for me. I often think back to the day the girls were born. I remember the car ride to the hospital with our first, in the dark, in the rain, my husband making a wrong turn and then asking if I wanted to drive around a bit. (NO!) But I don’t really blame him. The streets were empty and shiny. It was beautiful outside and we had the world to ourselves. Something amazing was about to happen and we were the only ones that knew it.
I think about the first time I saw them, held them, my first words to them. I remember with our second we had a special name planned if the baby was a girl. When she was calmly shown to me and placed in my arms I thought, “I knew it was you.”
I think about all that, all those memories from back then. Then I think about their year – how they have changed, grown.
Nene is turning seven and has become a book connoisseur. I try to keep up with her reading demand and when I fail and she’s bookless, she writes her own. She writes about her day or creates an original funny story. She’s a self-motivated reader and writer and my heart sings. Nene used to be scared to stand up for herself but she’s started to tactfully draw boundaries with kids that hurt her. She sprained her ankle was couch-ridden for a few days and never complained. She was surprisingly patient and able to take things as they came. When she returned from a long vacation, her neighborhood friend said, “I’m glad she’s back. She brings all the kids in the neighborhood together.” She’s lively, friendly, happy.
Nono is now four and her person is showing through more and more. She enjoys music and sings a wide variety of songs. She memorizes Nene’s monthly poems too. She’s persevering and showing more willingness to do things she’s uncomfortable with, but on her terms. She’s failed swimming lessons (twice) but at least this last time she got back in the water. Nono teaches me to slow down and relax. When we can afford the time (and we often can), I let her set the pace and she’s much more cooperative. She’s mastering independence. And she likes to surprise me by cleaning up and being helpful.
Spring is a wonderful time for me. Spring is my New Year in terms of reviewing and taking stock.
Except for this year.
The day of Nono’s birthday they found a body. An old friend from my teenage years was missing for 3 weeks. They found him when we were celebrating.
Even when you’re devastated, time marches on. I’ve been planning parties, hosting events, making memories, buying supplies and baking extra goodies while mourning a loss.
Celebrating and grieving.
It reminds me of certain quotes:
“The sweet is never as sweet without the sour.”
“You can’t appreciate the good days without the bad.”
“Only in darkness can you see the stars shine.”
And Easter must have gotten the memo too. I was planning an egg hunt and checked the weather to find a snowfall warning.
In these last few weeks I woke up some mornings tired and reluctant to get up to face the day, to fix another meal…I don’t want to…I just want to sleep. Then I thought of my old friend. He’ll never be able to give his little boy another breakfast, another hug, another kiss. He won’t have another chance to love his child. Here I am with another day before me to love, to care, to be there. Some parents are done before they are done. I’m not done. And I’m grateful.
Spring will now be more bittersweet. I will remember my friend, the times we shared, the foolish teenage shenanigans of yesteryear. I’ll be sad his days are done. But I’ll be thankful for the good he did have and the memories many of us hold.
I’ll continue to take stock, to reflect on days past and what is gone. But I’ll also look forward to what’s ahead.
Spring is a time of anticipation. There is life under the surface, something unseen that will soon be seen. It just needs some time and warmth before it will raise and grow.