Searching for Spring

I once loved winter. It used to be my favourite season. It contained my favourite holidays,Christmas and Valentine’s Day (otherwise known as my birthday). The crisp fallen snow on a lawn made everything look so peaceful and quiet and beautiful. And crunching in that snow for the very first time to create footprints made me feel brand new – an explorer walking where no one else had ever walked. I was creating something new on a pure white canvas with only the soles of my shoes. That’s one small step for a girl, one giant leap for her imagination. Winter meant warm sweaters and extra quilts and more nights with hot chocolate.

Becoming an adult ruins everything.

I have begrudgingly started to dislike winter as I’ve grown. Snow in university rarely meant a snow day and instead promised discomfort on my walking commute to class. Winter after my graduation meant walking through the city streets in cold and bad weather as snow days became essentially obsolete in this adult working life. Winter as an adult no longer made me feel all warm and cozy inside with the cost of heat constantly looming over me. Winter with a car meant emptying our pockets to put on the winter tires. It meant cleaning off our car and defrosting windshields on frigid mornings. It meant driving through dangerous conditions to get to daycare and to show up for the paycheque. And as of this year, our first year in our new house, it has meant all of that plus shovelling. All of that, plus broken furnaces and empty oil tanks.

The snow is all but gone outside. I’m hopeful that we won’t need to scrape the windshield again this season, let alone shovel. Still, I feel its heaviness. I feel the chill and the weight of snow on top of me, as if I’ve been laying on the cold, frozen ground all winter and have been erased by the snowfall, waiting for a thaw that does not come.

I’m struggling to find signs of spring.

There are flurries in the long term forecast. Temperatures hover around freezing, taunting with the promise of dropping. And I wonder why humans don’t simply hibernate for the cold months because I wouldn’t mind hiding under my covers until the temperatures stay above freezing for good.

Signs of Spring

I went out for a walk yesterday looking for signs of spring. Maybe the calendar was working against me. Yesterday was still winter. Today is transition. Tomorrow is spring. Blessed,wished-for spring.

The snow was gone but nothing else indicated spring’s imminence. No buds on trees. No shoots bursting through the ground. No birds chirping in the trees. No green anywhere. No colour.

Spring is coming. I know it is. The calendar says so. The radio says so. Logically, I know it to be so.

I don’t see any signs of it though. Not yet. But I promise, I’m looking.

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Cameron at 4

Things change so quickly. Since Cameron’s birthday, I’ve heard the phrase “They grow up so fast” often. I’ve said it. You’ve said it to me. As parents, we say this to try to gain back some of our power over time, as if, by acknowledging its speed we can somehow focus so hard on the present that we slow time down.

I’m pretty sure that no matter how hard our brains try to enjoy the present and revel in the now, we’ll never be able to slow down time. Our kids will still grow up at break-neck speeds. They’ll still change in an instant. We will still blink one day when they’re dressing up for prom or heading off to university or standing at the alter, and we’ll wonder how they got so big and so old.

Even though they’re my kids, I can’t hold on to their littleness. I can’t keep them small. My job as a parent is to encourage growth and maturity and independence. But. I can make memories. Those, I can hold on to. I can take snapshots – in words and images – to remember who my kids are today.

Dear older-Laura with older kids. Here is your precious Cameron at 4:

Birthday Interview

My favourite food is: “Donuts” — but then I asked if we really meant “bagels” and he clarified his answer: Bagels with butter. He gets bagels and donuts confused, understandably.

Birthday Bagel Breakfast

My favourite sport is: Curling

My favourite show to watch on TV is: Mater’s Tall Tales (Netflix for the win!)

The thing I do best is: Racing cars (which happens to be the exact same answer he gave to this question last year)

If I could change my name, I would change it to: Gavin

My favourite colour is: Red and Black

My favourite toy is: The toys from Disney Infinity and race cars and 2DS

When I grow up I want to be: A race car

Cameron on fourth birthday

My favourite snack(treat) is: Powdered Timbits with jam inside

Food I don’t like: Beef and hot dog (We had steak (“beef”) for supper the night I asked him the questions. He didn’t like it. The truth is, he barely eats any dinner we give him. Except, he does like hot dogs, which made his answer strange.)

My best friend is: CJ and Sebatian and Nathan and Gavin or Sadie (and Daddy… this was answered after Daddy insisted he add Daddy to the list).

If you could have any wish in the world, it would be: to have a race car

My best memory is: When I was turning 4 years old, there were a lot of balloons on my bedroom, that was the best part.

Cameron on fourth birthday

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I was among the first of my friends to get engaged. I was 21 years old and was beginning my final year of my undergrad when Dan popped the question. While my age would not have seemed young in 1979, when 22 and a half years was the average for women to get married, in 2008, the year that I was hitched, the average age was 29 (in Canada). Currently with two kids and a husband, I am still a year away from reaching that average.

Wedding Dresses

Personally, it never felt abnormal to get married when we did. The timeline made sense in my head:

  • Find a boyfriend – Check
  • Get a degree – Check
  • Get married – Check

After graduating from university, it is logical to start thinking of the next big life decisions like where to live (a basement apartment close to campus in a house full of partying students no longer felt like an adequate home), where to work, and how to financially look after one’s self. Since I had been with Dan for three years by this point, and considering his stable job, it would be reasonable to assume that we would begin to merge our lives. For many reasons though, I was not interested in living with someone until we were married, so rent sharing was out of the question without a death-do-us-part kind of commitment. Dan always knew he wanted to be married, and at six years my senior, he was ready to settle down with a beautiful wife (as the writer of this tale, I reserve the right to use any adjectives that I find fitting). He had been certain since our first date that I would be his wife – he was just waiting for me to be ready, and at 21 years old, I decided that I was.

Before the wedding date had even been set, before my Mom and I had a chance to be in the same city together, I was determined to start the search for my wedding dress. I enlisted two of my closest, local girlfriends and we went off to the local bridal boutique, giddy and ready to dress up.

Wedding Shoes

There is nothing quite like wedding dress shopping with the same girls that you went to prom with.

Within the following year, one of those two girlfriends who helped me pick out my wedding dress got engaged as well. Of course, the three of us friends went to that very same bridal boutique to try on dresses for her wedding this time.

A tradition was born.

In the years since, our three lives have diverged. I had kids. My other friends pursued more education. One friend moved far away and then recently moved back, but not close enough. The other moved further away, and met someone.

Six years after our first trip to the bridal boutique, I got a message from the third friend, “I’m visiting in January. Do you think you can make some time in your schedule for some wedding dress shopping?”

Yes. Of course. I had to. My life would be horribly incomplete if we didn’t go to that boutique one more time together.

Wedding dress shopping in your late twenties is a little different from wedding dress shopping in your early twenties. Collectively, we were a little more subdued. Our conversations were a little more civil: “How’s work going? How’s your husband? How are your kids? The house?”. More sure of ourselves, and our bodies, we were less self-conscious. Six more years of life had happened to us. But mostly, it wasn’t that different at all. We were friends, reunited; brought back together to plan and dream and smile.

Dress Shopping

This post is in response to Alison and Greta‘s #ThroughTheLensThursday prompt: White.

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