Things Change: a Prayer in Spring (apologies to Frost)
I went running a few weeks ago with Audrey in the single jogging stroller.
(Incidentally, it takes me as long to get myself and two kids to go for a run as it does to actually run. Getting one kid ready to go? Five minutes.)
We turned a corner that continued a slight hill climb, and as I huffed and tried not to concentrate on my quads burning, I noticed the front yards.
Two months before, we looked for Christmas lights and candy canes and small reindeer statues.
This day, we smelled early spring-ish grass growing and saw tiny buds sprouting from the tips of branches.
It reminded me of this: things change.
Spring and rebirth and growth and symbolism and yadda yadda yadda.
But really. They do.
It struck me because so many times in the past three years I have felt like I was living the movie Groundhog Day. The same routine. The same interactions. Over and over. The never-ending cycle made me feel like our only pet growing up: a hamster named Hobbes, spinning and spinning on his wheel but permanently stuck in his cage.
Recently, part of the stuckness involved six weeks of sponge baths because Child X’s terror of peeing in the bathtub was beyond my ability to calm.
After the novelty disappeared, even those resulted in crying: sponge baths in February are cold. I wondered when this would ever shift.
And suddenly, Alan offered this kid a new choice. Child X chose the bathtub. We are back into bath routine for a week now, and the worst of that particular phase seems over.
Day by day, even if it feels to me like we’re doing the same things, going through the same routines, washing the same trays and picking up the same toys and mediating the same fights over the same toys, things change.
Like chlorophyll moving under the bark that we can’t see. Like the warming of the earth as the rain softens it. Like the mulching of dead leaves to feed new gardens. Shifts and growth happen at a micro-level, so slowly and imperceptibly that we wonder if spring will ever come.
And then the macro happens. Crocuses bloom. Daffodils bust out, and Theresa wants to call her giraffe puppet “Daffodil” (Daffodil the Giraffodil!). Underneath where we can’t see, we are all growing and changing and learning, and all of a sudden, we notice that we have stopped getting up 2-5 times in the middle of the night as we have for months on end for the same crying child. The number of interventions for hitting or throwing as a reaction to anger or sadness decreases abruptly. The kid who always wanted to be carried down the stairs suddenly wants to walk down by herself.
It is a good reminder to myself, when I get mired in the mud of post-winter snotty noses and resistance to naptime and the constant need for “Mama-Mama-Mama”: This is why spring is about hope. Beneath the humdrum of our days, our blood pulses and our spirits grow and glow, until we manifest our change.
A Prayer in Spring
Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.