Happy days are here again! Making it through the winter as a mom with little children at home is a massive accomplishment, one of the biggest accomplishments in a year, if you ask me. This week has been the first where the weather is clearly and once-and-for-all turning to spring here in the mid-atlantic/northeast. What delight.
A good and bad thing about being a mom at home is how keenly we must live according to the changing seasons. What a blessing to relive the wonder of our own childhoods as we open the doors and windows and set our winter-caged children free into mud puddles and budding flowers in the spring; as we spend long afternoons and warm evenings splashing and picnicking outside in the summer; as we crunch through piles of fall leaves and teach our children to appreciate their changing colors; and as we rot inside in the winter counting down the weeks to spring... and savoring the slow-paced days with our children in spite of the cold. Winter has its upsides, but I still have a long way to go before I can say I enjoy it. As far as I can tell, the best thing about winter with kids is it makes me love, not just appreciate but LOVE, the other three seasons.
Before children, the winter passed quickly and busily, without too much notice. In college we scrambled toward end-of-semester deadlines, interrupted only by extracurricular activities and occasional snow wars, so the end of February came quickly. My stay-home-mom friends who previously held full-time careers say that winter was the busiest time of the year, with taxes coming due, or property sales peaking, or other year-end/year-beginning deadlines pressing.
Spring conveys the spiritual mystery that my kids and I are just beginning to sense now—a renewal in the physical world that we can smell, see, taste, hear and touch. A foreshadowing of Easter, with the whole world in full bloom when we finally do celebrate Christ’s Resurrection. What a blessing it is to be forced—by the circumstance of being a stay-home mom to young children—to watch the spring slowly unfold. And what a joy to bid farewell to the winter again! Hooray, we've made it!!
And on a side note, is there anything in the world cuter than a baby discovering nature for the first time? Our routine last summer and fall was having Angelina nap in the sling while the other two kids played outside. Not so this spring! Docile 11 month old Angelina throws the most explosive baby tantrum if she's not released from the sling or the stroller immediately upon arriving at the park. Once freed, she plunges her hands and arms into mud and smears it on her face; she works her hands through the sand over and over and over again to see how it falls; she digs her fingernails into the roots of grass patches to pull them up; she crushes berries and flowers to watch their colors smear. She breathes heavily and steadily and focuses intently as she discovers this whole new world. I can't get enough of watching her. And I think we're going to need some new playclothes.