“Mama, come see this!” “ Mama, you have to see this!” These words echo in our home most days. It is usually something they’ve created, or one of our family pets doing something funny or cute, or a dance or yoga move they have made up and want to exhibit. As spring begins, though, “you have to see this” is reciprocal between my babes and myself and their father.
Despite the rain and mud that often accompanies spring, I think most of us cannot help but feel a sense of wonder at the renewal that occurs before our eyes on a daily basis. The ritual of this recognition began when I was a girl. My mother and I eagerly searched out the first crocuses. I recall running to the place where they grew to see if their tips had yet emerged. The first day I saw them I would dash inside and shout, “Mom, the crocuses are coming up!”
Even more special than that was our yearly search for the return of the robin. It became a ritual, not only seeing our first robin of spring, but seeing the bird together. This is something I can remember doing with her until I left for college.
Enter years of college and graduate school and my mother’s death. One part of me still searched for the robin every spring, but it was a quiet part of me, kept to myself. Then one March day as my husband, our three-year-old son, and I were waiting for our tour of the birthing center where our second child would be born, I glanced out a window. There, pecking about in the slush and mud was a robin. My son stood next to me and it was an epiphany—“Logan, look! Do you see that bird there? It’s called a robin and it’s a sign that spring is coming! I used to look for the first robin every year with my mama. Now we can do it together instead.” And so in the search for signs of seasonal renewal, a tradition was reborn.
The beauty of spring is that it is always new, even though its rhythm has the familiarity of a favorite old sweater. My family eagerly watches for the return of the robin and for the crocuses to color our brown world, but we have created new traditions as well.
Outdoors we watch other signs of life burst forth. Indoors we start seeds for our garden and bask in ever-increasing daylight hours.
As spring advances we find new rain boots for the kids, a yearly ritual in recognition of their growth.
We dance joyously around our Maypole in honor of the fertile abundance replenished around us.
We smell with delight the scent of lilacs on warmer breezes, and bring our bicycles to the outdoors once more.
We make ready our garden beds, turn the compost, and clean up the woodburner one last time until the cold returns.
My family has its own cycle, not just a daily rhythm, but one that follows the ebb and flow of the seasons. Renewal, joy, hope, excitement—such are the themes of spring in our family. It is often also messy and unsightly as we transition from the dark and cold of winter to the light and warmth of summer. In spring we find more than a season of increasing brightness and wonder, but a time for acknowledging the growth we all have experienced in the past cycle of seasons. We feel gratitude for the return of the robin, and rejoice in the revitalization within each of us as the Wheel continues moving ever forward.
Lindsey is a knitting, sewing, embroidering, gardening, reduce-reuse-recycle, wellness-seeking, yoga-practicing, vegetarian, chocolate-loving, Mama Leo with a husband who supports all of her many passions. Lindsey blogs at A Crunchy Life and also has an etsy shop by the same name.