There are buds on the trees. The kids are so excited to see the green leaves beginning to color the branches and the grass spreading its emerald hues over the landscape as we drive through the country roads. The air feels warm and fresh and heavy with the scent of bloomings and new beginnings. Today was especially beautiful. We threw most of our schoolwork to the wind, dressed ourselves in shorts and sundresses, and spent the entire day at the park with new friends, and old friends, and sunshine. Then we drove out to our future home site in the country, where ground was broken today to begin building! There are huge hills of dirt surrounding the pad where the house will sit. The kids were so excited to see the progress (and the dirt!) that they tumbled over each other racing out of Helga (the van, in case you forgot), tossed their shoes on the grass, and tackled the mounds. They dug their toes into the freshly turned soil, ran up and down the hills, raked the mud into balls, laughed, and squealed, and played until we had to drag them away because of the fading light.
It's almost hard to believe that our house has sold, building has begun on another one, and another Spring is, as Astrid would put it, "just a few sleeps away". Sometimes it seems as though life is standing still, until I find myself in a place that just recently seemed so far off and I realize so much has passed with little notice, and probably not as much appreciation as all those moments deserved.
Time is tricky.
Yesterday I heard Astrid and Ezra playing together in the girls' room. They often play "Mommy and Daddy". The kids have been playing this for years now. It seems to be a strange combination of house, school, dog obedience training, zoo, art class, and snack time. Someone is always the grownup, someone is always the kid, and usually someone is some kind of animal. Oh, and no one ever uses their real names. Which, for some reason, always strikes me as really funny.
As I folded laundry in the room next to where they were playing, I heard Ezra say to Astrid, "OK, I'm the Daddy and my name is Tyler. You're Hannah and you're 1 year old."
"O-K, Da-Da," one year old Astrid replied.
The game continued for only about two minutes before I heard this:
"Grow, grow, grow, grow, grow. OK! Now I'm 6!"
"No Astrid!" Ezra exclaimed, "You can't grow that fast!"
"Yes, I can. And I did," she said quite matter-of-factly, and probably with her hands on her hips and nose turned up at him.
And she's right, isn't she? She can. And she did. They all did.
I know it is an oft quoted lament of parenthood..."They grow up so fast!" And I know I likely still have some time to savor before my little ones are truly grown. But even my baby isn't a baby anymore!
Savoring has to be intentional. I just now ate the last peanut butter cookie in the box of my favorite peanut butter cookies. And I savored it. I ate it slowly, purposefully, thoughtfully. And it was good. About an hour ago as I nursed Juni to sleep and browsed through Facebook I must have eaten 3 or 4 of those cookies. I think I hardly noticed that I was eating them. After all, there were still so many left (before Justin got a hold of the box), so the end was not in sight. Savoring didn't even cross my mind. The days of babyhood, toddlerhood, and childhood are like that sometimes. They seem so endless....so early in the journey and so filled with distractions. But they are sweet, and delicious, and they deserved to be savored.
Even more than that last peanut butter cookie.