Four Seasons

I haven’t been away from my blog this long since I started it eight (eight!) years ago.

So much has changed since my last post. An entire season has come and gone. Flowers more delicate than the pioneering daffodils and crocuses have bloomed. Green is everywhere, hiding ticks I’ve plucked out of both of my kids already. A crop of super-sized mosquitoes arrived early and promises to stay until first frost. (Mourn the loss of much of New England’s bat population.) And the surest sign of summer here, road construction, is omnipresent.

It’s also that time of year when parents measure time, and I’m no exception. At a recent bat mitzvah, a kid I’ve known since his toddler days was persuaded to belt out a rendition of “Let It Go,” karaoke-style, and the first cracks of a changing voice were unmistakeable. My own son has outgrown pants and shoes purchased for him just a few months ago. Youth baseball season has come and gone; my daughter’s annual dance recital is behind us.

When snow still was a daily possibility, I had two parents. Now, I have only one. My relationship with my mother was never easy–a parent’s lifelong mental illness creates unceasing, unpredictable bends and twists in relationships–but death throws down a steel barrier, an absolute “stop” sign in the road of even limited possibilities of where a relationship might someday go.

As a parent (because this is a parenting blog, after all), I watched my kids grow up a lot in the past few months. They had never experienced death beyond that of a family pet a couple of years ago. My husband and I tried to prepare them for everything as much as possible, even letting them in on awkward family situations we’d previously hoped to spare them so they wouldn’t be caught in the midst of something they didn’t understand. But I really didn’t know what to expect from a twelve-year-old and a nine-year-old.

The kids did wonderfully. They got appropriately angry/sad/unhappy, but also contributed silliness/sympathy/dry humor when it was needed. They empathized with others. They could not have done better at the funeral, even tolerating awkward hugs from overly zealous relatives they had never met. Twelve-year-old “Jack” worked like crazy helping us sort through my parents’ house and packing up my dad to move him near us, and nine-year-old “Emmie” worked the move-in stage here in New Hampshire. They asked questions when they didn’t understand, took screen-time breaks when they needed them (because, you know, kids have to have their screen time). They certainly would have preferred to be doing something else–as would I. But for the most part, they got it. And I’m completely proud of them.

It’s a new season now. As I type this, I hear birds chirping through the open window, and someone’s chainsaw trying hard to drown them out. Summer noises. I lift my eyes from the screen and see a neighbor pass by on the road, one devoted to his daily walk. Maybe I should take up that practice again, get in shape. My body still looks and feels very much like winter. Seasons pass so quickly; if I don’t do something about my middle-aged waistline soon, it will have taken up permanent residence. These things happen without warning.

On to the rest of my day. Finish writing and editing, walk off a pound or two, buy my son new pants and hope they remain in his wardrobe for a while. My dad needs a table for his apartment, so maybe pick that up, too. Check to make sure my dad made his dentist appointment. Pick up the kids at camp, make dinner for the family, including my dad, who’s coming over tonight.

And plan some summer fun before the school bell rings in late August. Seasons pass and life changes quicker than a tween boy outgrows his shoes.

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