Thursday, February 25, 2016

a winter-spring promise

a letter to my son. and to you.

Dear Bobby,

You've been missing me at school the past few days, and although that makes my mama heart feel warm and loved and as you know I always miss you back, I also of course want your days to be simply wonderful.

This morning you really especially wanted to stay home; you were sad and Owie and I were both hugging you and you were loving it and I just couldn't make you go. I want you to learn that it's important to show up every day-- for school, for work --of course I do. But maybe even more important than showing up for our obligations is showing up for each other-- being there for our people when they need us. Recognizing that right now in life WE TOGETHER is what we all need the most a lot of the time. And saying YES to a day of "homeschool" -- playing street hockey and whiffle ball outside before the rain, snuggling your blankie and pretending to read a book while we watch Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, enjoying a snack and poetry together, drawing in journals at the tiny table, maybe a trip to the library this afternoon -- well that may sometimes be just how you need me to show up for you. I want you to know the importance of school, but also the importance of FAMILY and how much you are loved. We will always be here for you when you need us.

Going to kindergarten has mostly been great for you though; normally you forget all about us for the day and have fun with your teachers and friends. And I want to remember, in case we someday forget: walking you to school is one of my most favorite things-- (Just beneath walking you HOME from school of course!) --an intentional pause in the hour's happenings, a breath of fresh air, a stretch of our legs, a chance to talk and hold hands or take pictures or check out a burrow or just be together. And most days we are quite happy but some days are sad and hard and those days are okay, too -- sometimes even better because they give us a chance to really connect and hug it out and for me to remind you that hard things and feelings happen but also they pass by and in the meantime our love is unwavering.

A walk in the woods can cure a lot, my love, and the walks through the frosted field made the first cold days feel quite magical last fall.

It's lovely when the sun still warms the earth during the day; it doesn't last long. Owen and Maisy had some nice times while you were off at kindergarten-- Owie had a chance to be the big brother, Maisy getting steady on her feet following him around.

BUT, they also miss you quite badly when you're gone, and in those early days Owie would agree to his rests so that pickup time would come more quickly and Maisy would try running off to get you hours before the afternoon.

It's been mostly a strange can't decide between frozen and muddy winter, an unsure season and I've never had much patience for February (sorry to Valentine's Day and poor Daddy's birthday)-- never mind this one. When the ground was finally covered with snow a couple (few) weeks ago you had a hard time of it on the walk to school. "But-- but-- the groundhog! The groundhog didn't see his shadow! It's supposed to be spring."

I got down on my knees in the snow and you sobbed in my arms. Because you had taken Groundhog Day as a reputable source and because you'd had a taste of spring and then the promise was snatched away, and it was bitter cold again. And I'd have sobbed too except that I've been around New England winters long enough to know that spring here always has a few false starts, and I've hardened my heart from expectation coming around too early. And also-- there's something about comforting you, my son, that makes me stronger.

We delighted in the February false-spring while we could, and little sister has grown much more steady since November.

I've been known to despair in the midwinter -- and I won't say I won't despair still because I just might, but it's been a mild year and I'm feeling optimistic! And plus... I've had a story of hope lingering in my ears and in my heart and reminding me of the promise of spring and that the promise is about so much more than warmer days.

The story is a children's book (which is good because I don't have much time for adult reading these days, sad to say).

It's called Bunny's First Spring but really it's about Bunny's first fall and winter and the first time I read it I may have teared up a little bit because that bunny was me, frolicking in the summer and getting all fretful in the fall.

And wondering whether the winter might not end, the spring might not come-- or at least not soon enough.  The winter can be long. (It can be very long.) The winters of life can sometimes be long too. 

Spring will come.
In fact it's already coming before we can see it!

And the sun will be even brighter for our missing it so! It's a promise.

So-- let the sun on your skin be a warm reminder when it's cold and a rest for your soul when it's weary: every winter will be born again into spring, my love. And I'll be close by, frolicking in the summer and fretting in the fall and hoping through the midwinter and hopping into spring.

your mama.

PS. for all my readers TODAY (since it'll be some years before Bobby reads this probably)... Bunny's First Spring, by Sally Lloyd-Jones --author of the Jesus Storybook Bible (necessary reading), How to Be a Baby, by Me the Big Sister (super amusing NYTimes Bestseller), and a new potty book Skip to the Loo, My Darling (which I am already enthusiastic about). And for the next few hours you can still enter to win four of Sally's books, here. Good luck!

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