I remember when I was a child, my mother would talk about how much she loved the spring. Of all the seasons, it was her favourite and still is, I think. I never really understood why she would choose spring over the long, hot, fun-filled days of summer. Summer meant school holidays with all of their glorious free time to be used however we wanted, beaches and outdoor swimming pools, midweek sleepovers, picnics, and Christmas, of course. What could be better?
And then, like many things about my mother that I have gained a better appreciation of since becoming one myself, her love of spring became clear to me.
Winter with small children can be a real drag. For a start, they’re stuck inside way too much to be good for anyone’s sanity. Okay, it’s mostly my sanity in jeopardy here, but still. We live in one of the sunniest places in the country but it’s still blimin’ freezing for a good couple of months. Three children stuck in a house for any extended period of time is just not good. There’s only so much block building, playdough, puzzle making and colouring I can do before I feel my life force starting to slip away. And they get bored too. And then they whine. Oh, the whining.
When it is warm enough and dry enough to go outside it’s all the layers going on and coming off. And in my house, where Daughter the Elder has some sort of condition where she simply cannot bear the feeling of anything that bunches, itches, rubs, lumps, or pulls, the requirement for layers is a real drag. Most lately we’re having sock issues. Apparently socks, ANY socks, feel simply dreadful because they have ‘bumpy toe bits on the sides’ and in particularly bad cases those bumpy toe bits can induce dramatic performances that would rival Meryl Streep’s.
I’ve never been a great fan of winter anyway but at least before children a wet and miserable Sunday meant an excuse to stay indoors and read. Imagine it. Go on, just close your eyes and drift off for a bit. Bliss.
And summer. Well, I confess that I have become the Summer Grinch. Those long, hot days of summer that I used to love so much really are long and they really are hot. Playing outside with the kids on a summer scorcher when all you really want to be doing is sitting in the shade with a drink of something
boozy cold, is not really something that I look forward to. Better than winter, yes, for sure, but once it hits 32, I just want to hide inside. Partly that’s because of the battle to be sun smart, and when I say battle, I mean Battle. I literally had to hold the younger one down last year in order to get sunscreen on her and the older one doesn’t like the feeling of t-shirt sleeves (see above re Meryl Streep) so only wanted to wear singlets and strappy dresses despite preschool dress codes and dirty looks from those who thought I was trying to fry my first born. Don’t even start me on hats.
Tog season – two words to strike fear into the heart of any woman whose body has produced children. Actually, who am I kidding? I hated togs well before that happened. I love swimming but my plan of attack has always been to disrobe, get into the water as quickly as possible, stay there as long as possible and then exit into a waiting towel. A large, flowing one, preferably. Nowadays, unless I’m going to be that mother who doesn’t swim with her children (and sod that), I’m just as likely to be out of the water than I am in. And there’s almost always some running (with associated jiggling) as one of the children decides to hot foot it towards the deep pool/exit/crashing surf. I am now the woman who bends over to pick things/small people up while wearing her togs. Yep, that is me. I’m going to try not to think about it too much…
There’s more. But I’m already sounding like such a grump so I’m not going to go there.
Spring is almost perfect in its balance between the extremes of winter and summer. It’s warm enough to go outside, dress easily and comfortably and enjoy being outdoors. The days are longer and brighter but you’re not having to fight to get your children to bed because it’s too hot and light. The weather is a bit unpredictable with some balmy, sundrenched days and then the odd frost or southerly rain thrown in, but that unpredictability is actually one of the things I enjoy. Things are green and lush and beautiful and there is life everywhere. And spring smells so nice – beronia and daphne in the garden, cut grass, washing after its finished drying on the line.
So, I know I might sound grouchy and like maybe I think it’s is just the best of a bad bunch but really, I do love spring for its innate springiness too, as does my own Mum. All of those cliches about spring, I’m right there with them. Just to prove it, here’s some of my spring, from me to you.