From its title, you would perhaps think this post is about the signs of spring all around us: the almost-melted snow, the warmer air, the running water, the sand on shoes. Everything is waking up and becoming new again. There is a sense of energy and optimism that comes from this time of year. It feels good, as it always does.
But this post is about a different kind of fresh and new. It’s about my soon to be 4-year-old preschooler and all that has changed with him, it would seem overnight. Perhaps it was the slow, cozy winter months of living inside, the cocoon we enfolded ourselves in to escape the cold and grey. Or perhaps it was living life with two young boys and constantly being tugged between their different needs and my own needs as well. Or perhaps it really did just happen one day, when I wasn’t watching for it. Their changes, though gradual, seem to overwhelm us all at once don’t they?
Something about the arrival of spring has made me stop and take notice. My son has become a boy. As we are getting outside more, as the spring weather flourishes and our routine’s change to enjoy it, I’ve discovered that he is someone new.
Suddenly he rides his trike on his own and with abandon. He can pedal and steer and talk all at the same time. Last summer, he couldn’t do this, it was too much for him all at once. He rolls freely down a hill, yelling in pure joy at the top of his lungs as if he was really flying.
He’s enjoying nature, really taking it in in a way that he never did before. Of course he explored, of course he touched things and ran all about in excitement when we were outside. But now he’s actively pursuing the parts that interest only him, not just the parts that I show him. He started a rock collection and told me so on his own. The very use of the word “collection” makes me think he has grown up so much. What a big word! What a fun concept. He’s finding his own interests.
Just the other day, he asked me. “Mommy, can I go to Jack’s to play?” (Jack is our 3-year-old neighbour). It was the first time he’d ever initiated a visit to a friend all on his own. I saw a glimpse of his separation, of his individuation from the nest of our home and a step toward his own independence. I saw a tear in what, until now, was the fabric of our connection to each other. It scared me and thrilled me all at the same time.