After Snowmageddon 2014, being with children who fought and bickered and cried and complained after too many days of containment, I’d forgotten what it felt like to want to be with my children … to be with my children by choice.
So when the weather turned gorgeous last week, the temperatures heading up near seventy, none of us could help ourselves but escape to the back yard for some good, fresh, non icy air. Throwing open the door, both of my girls found their way into the courtyard where they independently determined which part of the great outdoors would be theirs to explore.
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My Grace, my sweet Grace, ran back inside to collect stuffed animals that she situated throughout the fenced in space. For an hour she said not a word to those of us with real listening ears, but in soft, high-pitched whispers spoke to the creatures made of stuffing. A cat was placed atop the marbled elephant statue that was a week ago was covered in six inches of snow. The Unicorn with a missing eye waited at the end of the path. A parrot sat on the deck. The remaining menagerie was pushed around in a stroller. The animals, like the people, were happy for the change in scenery.
Sophie. My sweet Sophie, whom the carpool lady calls “the one who likes to move,” ran fast and on a mission.
“A fairy house, mom. I have to build a house.”
She’d decided on her task as quickly as she moves, collecting small branches, and one perfectly shaped leaf to make the canopy for a bed, a fat, round rock, perfect for a fairy to sleep on through the night, a square piece of soft, green moss for a pillow, chipped bark for a blanket, and a sprig of pine as an umbrella to shield her from the morning sun that would wake her the next day after a night in our yard.
And I, eager to feel the warmth of the sun and air found myself outside the back door, too. But unlike my children whose imaginations escaped like free birds out of tight cages, I sat myself down in a chair and began to scroll my phone, just like any other moment of peace.
I scrolled, as I do, around and around when I heard Grace’s little voice making plans for her toys. Out of the corner of my eye I watched Sophie running, collecting, and designing a livable space for her fairy. And so the phone went into my pocket, choosing instead to join Sophie in berry collecting than spend that precious time in the company of my right-hand security blanket/I love you 5s.
I collected pinecones that annoy us when we find them under foot, condensing them into a pile to go out with the recycling. I listened to Grace reprimand a bear for being naughty. I said, “Hello,” to the cat sitting on the elephant as I walked past him while picking up sticks. I made sure the leaf wouldn’t fly away from the fairy bed by poking holes in its top and pushing branches through. I watched the way the light moved through the garden, brightening up different sections and the sun facing edges of my girls’ golden hair.
And just then I realized that I was actually enjoying this time with my kids, more so than any other time in the past few weeks. Maybe months?
No one was crying or screaming or fighting or pitching a fit. We weren’t late for school, late for lunch, or late for anything at all. We weren’t stuck inside, stuck in snow, stuck in place.
It was bliss.
And I needed to be reminded what it can feel like to be a mom when the fairies have beds, the stuffed animals have been set out in the sun, the children use their imaginations to play, and life is good.
Spring sprang, if only but as a tease.
But really, don’t you think?
Life is very, very good.