My first impressions of my family when I arrived home from work Thursday reminded me of Spring.
I came home to find everyone outside. This hasn’t happened for a long time. The winter’s snow and ice had barracaded us indoors for the past I don’t know how many months. And even lately, the rain has been such a constant drip that being outside would be no fun. I pulled up the driveway to find toys strewn in the yard, the grill already out and the garage door open.
Ella was riding on her tricycle. It wasn’t until she stood up to come say hi to me that I saw what she was wearing. Soccer shorts over jeans. I’m sure this wasn’t her mom’s idea, but it is revealing just how ‘grown up’ she’s getting. She has a strong fashion sense already about what she wants to wear, and I must say she is quite cutting edge sometimes. Things I, in my ordinary fashion mind, wouldn’t think went together, she puts together. And she couldn’t care less what other people think about it at this age. I know this will change.
Then Pax came running to me. It feels so good to have people run to you with a smile on their face just because they see you. He was walking around the driveway doing who knows what until he saw me and I scooped him up in my arms for round one of headbutting, hair grabbing and neck kissing.
Out popped Erica’s head from behind a stack of totes in the garage. Spring cleaning has begun, and I’ve let things slip in that garage for so long that it will probably take us until next spring to get it all sorted out. Christmas always seems to throw the garage into a tailspin, after digging out all the decorations it’s hard to feel like spending all that time in the cold January weather to organize them in the garage and tuck them neatly away again. Erica came out and gave me a smile and a hug, it felt good to be home.
I fired up the grill and watched as Ella alternated between her tricycle and the bike that we bought her for her birthday last year. She has been hesistant to ride it until a few days ago when Erica and her mom took a bike ride to the store and the bank with the kids in tow. This was a defining moment for Ella because now she wants to ride her big girl bike, “just like Mommy and Grandma ALL DAY LONG!” I don’t know what this means about her relationship with me, I’ve taken her on many bike rides. Apparently none of those were very memorable to her though.
She looks so proud of herself as she gets on her bike, pedals slowly forward for a few feet then calls attention to herself, “Look daddy! I did it all by myself!” She jumps off and heads back to the tricycle where she is much more comfortable and tears down the driveway at twice the speed of the bike. Symbolic maybe of where she is. Somewhere between my baby and my little girl.
Pax, a true boy, everytime I look up from trying to keep the meat from burning on the grill I spot him playing in the dirt or throwing rocks and sticks or exploring the backyard. He was content for a while to just be held while I grilled, and he’s really starting to do a lot more talking. He says dada, down, let’s go, lala (Ella) pease (Please) oh no!, all done, more, and my personal favorite is when he raises his arm and then brings it down and says “Oh man!” just like Swiper from Dora. Now in my arms I held him close and whispered a barely audible “shhhhh” in his ear which made him hold completely still. Cold ears on a sunny day is another reminder that it’s Spring. He turned his head for me to do it again in the other ear this time.
My children show me the passage of time, the changing seasons of life, and right now I’m glad it’s Spring.