Spring is hope. I breathe it in the mild air. I see it on all the trees which have begun to leaf out after looking dead all winter. Spring is when the world turns green again after the darkness. For the first half of my life I did not have a favorite season. Ever since I went through a dark winter which included radiation therapy, Spring has been my favorite. Summer is good. Autumn is fine. Winter can be beautiful, though it wears at my spirits. Spring is hope. I like hope.
My kids feel the hope too. Yesterday Patch’s teacher requested a quick meeting with me, and my heart sank, because the last two quick meetings about Patch were filled with concern about the levels of anxiety he carries. This one was markedly different. “He’s doing so well.” She said. “It’s almost like he’s a different child.” We talked for awhile, trying to figure out what caused the change. Maybe it was his long-time best friend moving back into town. Maybe it was when we passed the anniversary of when everything fell apart last year. Maybe it is the cello lessons which are giving him confidence. Maybe he’s finally made peace with the fact that life changes. Maybe it’s because Kiki comes home next week. Or maybe he just blooms in the springtime like the flowers do. I’ve seen it year after year. He struggles in the winter and is happier come Spring. But each year he struggles less and blooms more, so it is progress of sorts.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told “It’s like he’s a different child” by teachers, though sometimes the pronoun is “she” instead. It is one of the reasons that I was able to survive last year. I knew that the struggles were not our destiny forever. I don’t know if all kids go through cycles where they flounder, turn inward, lash out, and worry the adults who love them. I’d like to think so, rather than believing that my kids have more intense experiences than average. In the hardest moments I look at my child and know that the capability to soar is in there, that they have to find it themselves, and once the child taps into it, everyone around will say “It’s like she’s a different child.” No. She is what she has always been. He is what he has always been. It is just that the potential has burst forth, and where there were only bare branches, now there are blooms.
We have five weeks until summer. Technically summer doesn’t begin until June 21st, but for all practical purposes, once school lets out–it is summer. It feels like we’re heading into a season of summer for our emotional lives as well. We had our year of transition. Now it would be nice to have a year of stability and plenty. A year where the kids all stay in the same schools and we enjoy a quiet routine. We’re almost there, but I’m not going to rush forward. Because it is spring now, and spring is a season to be relished.