We are just entering the seasonal festival that is flowering trees.
First fruit trees, now lilacs. I’ve been mesmerized from our upstairs windows, mesmerized on the ground, mesmerized on the hiking trails above town looking down at canopies of blossomy fireworks.
Also, I’m just a little challenged by the part where two seconds after the whole town has gone up in a blaze of pink, spring is over. It’s like the paradox of life expressed in a peach tree, or a season. Already, after a recent rainstorm, the gutters are filled with the pink confetti of downed blossoms.
Francis Weller says, “Grief and love are sisters, woven together from the beginning. Their kinship reminds us that there is no love that does not contain loss and no loss that is not a reminder of the love we carry for what we once held close.”
I mean, I’m not sure he was referring to flowering trees, but still, this is helpful.
Because even the kids growing and changing and becoming their ever-renewable selves contains loss. Remember when the kids were little and they lived in our world of gardening and butchering elk and exploring the forest? Something tells me that now we’re living in their world of school exhibitions, weekend soccer games and unsolicited appraisal of my fashion sense, about which they have multiple suggestions.
My new favorite bumper sticker is: “These are the good old days.” These days. How could this not be true? I can get woozy on nostalgia, on the memories of toddler Rosie, with her milk-fed thighs, unable to sustain ill will toward anyone for more than 30 seconds. But, there is an 11-year-old girl who’s here right now, who wants me to check out her turquoise toenails, her ukulele song, her merengue dance routine; who wants to know that she matters and is seen and appreciated; and who wants new shoes every other week.
Every night, we say our thankfuls before eating, and Dan often mentions being thankful just to all be here at the table together, which about covers it (even as it includes someone’s onion phobia and someone else so eager to communicate while eating it presents a slight choking hazard). Yes, these days.
The elderberry trees, grapevine and hops are all slithering out of the soil, turning the world green like magic. I like to walk around the garden, not doing any actual work, just taking in all the emergence. The kids no longer follow me around wanting to plant 10 pea seeds in 1 square inch or water a plant to its death. The other day, I was driving Col to a friend’s house and like a detached, friendly uncle he asked, “So, what’ve you got going in the garden this year?”
So, here we are, in the good old days of right now. Not in my fantasy world where there’s no opportunities for growth because we’re all perfectly formed, but in this real world where we’re learning how to be new people, together.
Last night, Col confided to me, “I’m so proud that I told Daddy that I don’t like it when he assumes that when I ask for screen time it means I’m bored.” And we celebrated that instead of nibbling on the empty calories of resentment, Col got to express his feelings to his daddy, who was happy to hear what was true for his son.
After the bedtime routine of hugs and kisses, a final good night, overhead light out and reading lights on, the kids have been visiting me and Dan in bed, first one and then the other. They come in for “one last snuggle” or to tell us how much they love us, as if lying alone in the dark creates some urgency of expression.
“It’s like they’re tucking us in now,” Dan says. Yes, these are the good old days.
Rachel Turiel teaches nonviolent communication to groups and individuals. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her blog 6512andgrowing.