Spring parenting is finally here

Maybe it was the tickle of the breeze in my hair as I readied the soil for snap pea starts, or maybe it was the joyful ring of my daughters giggling as they splashed at the water table, their feet bare and their sweatshirts abandoned. Maybe it was the realization that our gloves have grown lonesome in their drawer for over a month and we haven’t had to buy cough drops for at least that long. Or it could have been the breezy return of spontaneous playdates in the park after school, or the glowing promise of a glimpse of evening daylight when the children are finally asleep.

I felt my shoulders relax, my breath slow, my mind quiet despite the still-pressing matters of an overflowing sink, veggies to chop for dinner and the matter of manifesting clean pants for my outgrowing-everything-all-of-a-sudden oldest.
IMG_3131My worries faded into the background. Right now the azaleas are out and I can hear a skylark singing—OK it’s probably a crow plotting a snack-stealing mission, but still—so all is right with the entire world, or at least my small corner of it.

It’s finally here, I realized: spring parenting. Payback for we weary souls who spent our too-long winter holding the puke bowl, running the dehumidifier, pushing the elderberry and bone broth. For all those extra layers we had to remember—and usually did—the dozens of tiny mittens and hats tucked into pockets, the damp Bogs dutifully stuffed with newspaper, the long underwear rushed into the dryer in the wee hours of the morning. For the days of nagging and begging, of isolation and agony—well, there were so many of them this year, but suddenly they are behind us again.

Meanwhile, the over-crowded, too-hot, popsicle-stain soaked and sand-crusted days of summer will wait a while before they run us over like young children back on their wobbly bicycles after too many months without practice.

These are the easy days where just about everything seems just about right. It’s the magical pause of the parenting year, this thing called spring. And it’s finally, finally here.

IMG_3079Every year it takes me by surprise, the change in my entire life and being. How much more I like my children, how much more I like being a mother, how I actually want to go out and rejoin the world outside our living room, and how lovely it is that I get to pass so many pretty flowers on my way there.

The changes in my children are even more pronounced. This is my seventh spring as a mother—well, eighth if you count a heavily pregnant woman waddling disparately around Greenlake, which of course I do. But every year I am amazed to watch my children transform before my eyes, bolting as suddenly as that kale I maybe should have pulled last month.

I watch my oldest on her blanket, reading a chapter book to herself as she kicks her feet—not that much smaller than mine—and pushes her bangs out of her eyes. My middle daughter has lost the last hints of chubbiness in her cheeks and can somehow miraculously tie her own shoes and cut her own apples. Then there is my baby, who as even I can plainly see, is suddenly not a baby anymore but, as she will firmly remind me many times a day “a big guwl.”

IMG_3125Despite all of those extra grocery store runs and that tray of snacks that’s empty before I even set it down, I delight in my children’s miraculous spring growth, and love seeing hints of who they are becoming. Children don’t inch along throughout the year, I’ve learned. They hang back during the cold months and then leap, their sudden growth as bright and breathtaking as proud tulips.

For right now, this moment on this perfect spring day, everything will stay just as it is, the two littles at the water table, my older daughter deep into her book and me watching them through dappled light, mystified and grateful.

Happy spring, Seattle parents! You deserve it.

About the Author

Shawna Gamache is a former newspaper reporter who occasionally catalogs her personal chaos at Critical Playdate. She is mama to Ruby, 5, Quinn, 7, and Nora, 2. In her quiet moments, Shawna loves writing, reading and avoiding eye contact with her laundry pile.

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