FEATURE — I woke up before my alarm for the first time in months, scrawny bits of sunlight flirting beyond my bedroom window. It must be spring. Or almost so.
The birds know it. The squirrels know it. And my dog definitely knows that the birds and squirrels know something. Although, I’m not sure he knows exactly what that is considering they are always one step ahead of him.
It’s not just the animals. Or the tiny buds that show promise from the brittle branches of the two trees in my park strip. My boys know something’s afoot, too.
I can see the vibrations of spring flowing just underneath their skin and in the flicks of mischief in their eyes. I think they sense winter is melting away and something new, fresh and green is coming. And they’re ready for it.
That readiness bursts out every couple of days in the form of spontaneous wrestling matches on the landing of the staircase, in shrieks after the dog and loops around the kitchen island as I try to chop onions for dinner and, more and more, fist fights in the bathroom.
My middle boy observed the other night as I tucked him in that perhaps we should consider adopting him out; he’s feeling a little wild inside.
And after the major kerfuffle he had with my youngest over a question of bathroom etiquette not 20 minutes before, his suggestion was almost tempting.
Instead, I’ve decided we are all giving up screens for the next week. No televisions. No video games. No smart phones and computers (except for work). And no Netflix.
Those ill-behaved Narcos of Mexico will simply have wait until my ill-behaved tweens figure out how to adapt more gracefully to the changing of the seasons.
If we were Catholic, I’d say we were giving it all up for Lent. But, as it is, we are simply giving it up to survive until spring.
As luck would have it, our elementary is running a book fair this week in conjunction with SEP conferences. Directly after the conference with his teacher, my fourth grader and I wandered into the library to see the spread of books for purchase.
I normally reward a report of good effort in the classroom with a book of my kids’ choice from the fair.
There were stacks of paperback classics, award-winning picture books, graphic novels and, of course, those “books” that seem three parts toy to one part, if any, book. I usually do all sorts of verbal gymnastics to convince my kids away from those.
But it was among those “books” my son found his hoped-for reward: a starter calligraphy set.
He beg-reasoned with me that in light of our recent screen ban at home, he needed other activities, like calligraphy, to occupy his time and “redirect” his energy.
Plus, he’d wanted a fountain pen for his entire life. I didn’t remind him that he’s only 10. I did, however, buy him the calligraphy set. And then seriously questioned my parenting.
Until 45 minutes later, while sitting in a cello lesson, when I received an urgent call from him to say he’d done it – he’d written an entire word in calligraphy!
He was excited and breathless. I could hear the accomplishment in his voice. “And you’ll never guess what I wrote, mom.”
I had to ask: “is it your name?”
“P-o-o-p,” he responded with glee.
He must have thought I was too proud to even speak.
Oh, spring. Hurry up already.
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