An Early Spring

It’s cold tonight. This should feel normal—it’s March—but it’s not normal. Not this year. Sophie’s birthday is Friday. In my very first blog post, here, I wrote about spring. It arrived while I gave birth to Sophie. But this year, it came early.

It’s a gift I’ve gladly welcomed. I like winter. I like seasons. But this winter has been so mundane. Chilly. Rainy. Slushy dustings of snow nowhere near enough in volume for a snowman (this, despite Sophie decorating our front door with snow-themed stickers in an attempt to make it snow).

Early March I found myself in the attic, digging through bins for summer clothes. Fearing it would get chilly again I haven’t packed the winter clothes away. As such, every bedroom is filled with boxes and bins, and the closets are becoming a mis-match of seasons. The boys still wear different sizes. And both wear smaller pant sizes than they do shirts. So I’m dealing with four different sizes, lots of hand-me-downs (which I’m so grateful for) and numerous seasons. The task to sort it all out has become so daunting that I’m avoiding it, which is just making the entire situation worse.

The flowers that graced our backyard trees eventually fell. To there.

And here.

And everywhere. Some nights, at dusk, I watched my children play as a warm breeze blew petals around, as if soft pink were falling from the sky. It was so idyllic.

I mean, at one point they were sliding down the slide into a pile of petals. 

A gift.

The previous owners must have loved birds for there are gorgeous birdhouses all over our backyard.

All three of my children love to feed the birds. They each take a turn with a small, metal bucket and spill seed all over the feeder, Tucker and grass. And laugh.

Lately Sophie has perched on top of our play set pretending to be a bird. She tweets, loudly, talking to them.

We found this lovely nest. There are two cardinals that swoop low while we play outside. I love that. The children love that. Tucker really loves that. Sophie recently found two red feathers in the yard, which I later discovered she decided to store in a plastic container full of M&Ms. “So the boys wouldn’t take it.”

Of course.

Today was chilly, though, as was tonight. The boys, however, played outside in their sandals. They had no choice. Last week I took all three children to Stride Rite for summer shoes. Another woman was there, with a daughter a little older than Sophie, twins a little older than my boys and a newborn. (I can’t imagine.) Every time the salesperson asked any one of the six children to run around the store to try out a pair of summer shoes, the five remaining children followed suit. It was loud. Totally chaotic. And there were boxes everywhere (in part because I asked the woman to kindly try several different sizes/widths for each child considering the boys will only have one pair of shoes each and they’re expensive and I want them to be exactly right). I know. They had to hate me. Anyhow, as I was rescuing tights hung on a wall from James while simultaneously stopping Owen from going into the back room, I noticed the salesperson collecting our boxes. I had assumed she put the boys’ winter tennis shoes in them. But that wasn’t her job. That wasn’t her responsibility. And frankly, she was probably exhausted from the 30-minute chaos before. So I paid for the shoes. Left the store. All three children rode home in their new sandals. Sophie’s winter shoes somehow made it into a box. The boys’ did not. And the boxes sat, in our entry, for two days before I opened them and realized what I had done. I called the store. They were there, with dirty socks still stuffed in them. And I still need to pick them up. But the idea is kind of exhausting to me. So I haven’t. But I should. I’m sure the boys had cold toes today. And I’m sure the people who work at Stride Rite don’t need two random pairs of shoes, and dirty socks, lying about. Tomorrow. I will tomorrow.

New sandals. The wisteria is blooming. I’m (slowly) cleaning out winter-ravaged leaves from beds. Open windows have allowed us to air out the house. The children are happier. Dirtier. And the inside of the house is cleaner. Calmer.

A gift.

“Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day.” —W. Earl Hall

Sophie’s Tree


This is Sophie’s tree. We love it because, from the front porch, it blocks the view of the gas station across the street. And it’s a late bloomer, providing lovely little white flowers in June.


Sophie loves it because the branches are perfect for climbing. I had a tree like that when I was girl, in my front yard. It is one of my strongest memories from childhood—sitting on the same branch, almost every day, shaking the branches above me as if they were puppets. I had names for them. I made up stories about them. I spent many hours up in that tree. It must be in my blood. And Sophie’s blood. For my mom recently said she spent hours in a tree too, as a child, reading books.

I sometimes miss those parts of childhood, the parts in which it is perfectly normal and acceptable to sit in a tree for no other reason than to sit in a tree. One summer evening, at our old house, before children, I decided on a whim to climb one of the evergreens in our backyard. Climbing up was easy. Climbing down, not so much. I was stuck—high up stuck. I sat in that tree for a long time thinking surely Andy would come out looking for me. But I guess it never occurred to him that his 20something wife might decide on a whim to climb an evergreen tree in our backyard and get herself stuck. So I had to yell. Thankfully Andy heard me yelling and not a neighbor. He helped me down. Yes, the love of trees runs deep in this family.


On this particular day it was so windy, up in Sophie’s tree.


I love the look of wonderment. I miss that.

“To the great tree-loving fraternity we belong. We love trees with universal and unfeigned love, and all things that do grow under them or around them—the whole leaf and root tribe.” —Henry Ward Beecher