Sunday, March 20, 2011

How I Know It's Spring

When you live in Rochester, spring is a beautiful thing. It's the return of color after months and months of nothing but greys and browns. It's seeing the little green nubs poking up out of the thawing ground, promising an explosion of color in just a few weeks. It's hearing the return of the songbirds in the morning. And it's the re-emergence of people from our cozy winter hidey-holes--all frigid season long people are outside only to go from the car to the door or to take their dogs for quick, utilitarian walks. When spring is here, you realize you have neighbors again. They're out doing yardwork, out enjoying the long-lost sunshine, walking dogs without possibility of extremity loss, and just puttering around the neighborhood.

Spring has become difficult for me, though, because of this reemergence. Over the winter there were signs that people were having babies--Graco boxes by the recycling bins, shower balloons on the lampposts, "It's a Girl/Boy!" signs on doors, trees, and sticking up out of the snow. Every time I saw a signal of a new life in our neighborhood, it was like a little pinprick of sadness. But just a pinprick--a ripped-open pack-and-play box doesn't necessarily tug at the heartstrings. I didn't see swollen pregnant bellies walking around, showing me what I could have but for some reason just can't. It was too freaking cold.

But now, now it's warming up. People are coming out and there is an explosion of strollers, and slings.  Happy new families (or happy larger families) are out and visible and just so HAPPY and VISIBLE. I can't walk the dog without running into at least one and usually two newborns or under-6-month babies in their strollers, cooing and being cooed at by adoring moms and dads. There is a house around the corner that either is an in-home daycare center or it's an ongoing play group for the moms in the neighborhood. It is really hard to avoid this house due to it's location, but every time I pass it it's just a flurry of beautiful chaos--babies and toddlers and laughing and cooing and screaming and moms running after their bundled-up little ones. I swear, it's like there was a population explosion over the winter, everywhere but at our house. It's like every house I pass is an advertisement for the life we'd like to be living right now but, because biology is cruel and thwarting us at every pass, we aren't. It's salt, and lemon juice, and hydrochloric acid in my wounds.

But, I can't just stay inside or in my backyard and ignore the babypalooza that is the outdoors. I have to suck it up and racewalk past those strollers or take interesting routes to avoid passing the same meandering baby-drunk family twice on one walk. I have to blast Britney and FloRida and Justin Timberlake on my iPod so that I can concentrate on the beat in my ears and not the infectious laughter of young children or the "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy" that isn't calling for me. I have to think over and over again, "I can sleep in and snuggle with Bryce on weekends. I can have unlocked cabinets and drawers. I don't need to get a babysitter to go to Maria's on Friday. We are free to enjoy each other and be selfish" to remind myself of the (very very few) benefits of being childless and pretend, PRETEND that these things are more desirable than being the happy, fresh family walking a dog AND a stroller.

One day we will be the fresh new family, and we will be babydrunk and have no free hands for morning coffee and will join the playgroup at the house around the corner (if they've not all outgrown playgroups at that point). One day we will join the population explosion. The question is, how many springs from now?

1 comment:

  1. Spring is always a new beginning. Love to you.