On our way to school this morning, Juniper and I talked about all the things we did during Spring Break last week. We painted and picked strawberries and had picnics in the backyard. We hiked and stomped in mud and slept in late.
"Mama! I also ate lots and lots of candy and watched too many cartoons!"
Yeah, that too. Since I don't have photos of all the illicit sugar and TV, here are some shots of our hike in Eno River State Park.
The website described this trail as a gentle, 1.5 mile loop. In reality, it was a 3.5 mile loop. In the last mile, Juni kept stopping to whisper, "Mama... I think so maybe this is taking a little bit too long." She kept up though and fell asleep about three minutes after we reached the car. Trooper.
I love those moments, right before the storm begins, when the air is cool and sharp and electric and the wind whips around in every direction at once.
It had been one of those days - full of chaos and bottled-up energy (mostly theirs), short fuses and raised voices (mostly mine). One of those days when all my earnest intentions of mindful mothering go right out the window and I end up being the worst version of myself.
We abandoned the mess and the crumbs and the broken things and spilled outside to watch the dark clouds pile up and feel the first drops of rain on our faces. Juni chased leaves and danced with the wind. Owen laughed and laughed. I took deep, deep breaths of the cool, rain-heavy air and let go of all the tension and frenzy.
The storm, it washed everything clean and we began again with hot cocoa and long, slow stories and the sound of raindrops on the roof.
Juniper and I have seen the Easter bunny in our backyard all week long, hopping in and out of the treeline, munching on our grass, and looking out for little nooks and crannies to hide his eggs.
"Mommy, why does the easter bunny have eggs? I thought so chickens have eggs."
He is large and plump and brown and very impressed with the Swiss chard in our garden bed. So impressed, apparently, that he was particularly generous with us this Easter morning.
"Look at all these wonderful Easter suprises! It's finally Easter!"
Juni has been looking forward to Easter for weeks. She has been talking about eggs and picnics and bunnies and Spring. And chocolate.
"I have to go find my basket! And we need to get the picnic blanket for outside! I think so we have to go on an egg hunt!"
Before I had children, holidays were important, of course - times for reflection or reverance or just good old celebration. But now they are particularly meaningful milestones - sweet little pauses here and there in these days that tumble away. I remember last Easter as clearly as she does. Like today, it was warm and bright. Seedlings were just beginning to sprout. The finches had started their nest on our front porch. Owen was all giggly, joyful baby chubs. Rolling and sitting were new and exciting adventures. And Juni, she still had some baby in her as well, the little girl still hatching. Now he is lean and fast and full of words. And she is tall and confident and brimming with excitement about everything, with curiosity and opinion and certainty.
Always, they are growing and changing. And so I'm grateful for these special days, these touchstones in the calendar, that help me to remember that our years circle around and around, even as they run away.
"This sure was the very best Easter party I've ever seen, don't you think so, mommy?."