To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.
-Emily Dickinson, To Make a Prairie
We spent Easter weekend in Illinois, visiting my family. It was one of the better visits, overall: lots of sunshine and family, lots of loving and catching up and building and rebuilding. Rowan played with her cousins, outside in sandboxes and on trampolines, for hours and hours, and slept through the nights, which she just doesn't do at home.
By the time we got back, though, she was battling exhaustion combined with a new molar trying to come in, and right on the tail of that came a cold. This kid has only been sick once before, and it was months and months ago, so she's just not used to feeling off. We haven't had much sleep or rest or really much of anything but snuggling and whining since we got back, and it's been rough. We finally got through the work week yesterday, though, so I was able to send her and G downstairs when she refused to sleep so I could rest at little. I woke up to them watching Big Hero Six together, having a bunch of feelings of sadness and celebration.
I talk to her about that kind of thing; I'm not a no-screen-time kind of mom, but I do try to make a point to be sure her media consumption doesn't go without any reflection, so we talk about things. Big Hero Six has grief as such a big plot point that it's essentially a character, and the story is only a thin allegory to the concept of carrying, processing, and releasing that grief.
I told her about this in light of our visit, where I saw several people and places for what may be the very last time; a visit where her joy (and my joy at her joy) had the shadow of my grief trailing behind like a slowly-deflating birthday balloon. It was Easter, it was spring, it was new and bright and beautiful, but underneath that I was sad, too, and still am. There are things I wish I could wrap up into a programming chip and tuck into a huggable robot until I'm ready to let them go, but that's not the way it works.
Here at home, we have a new bird feeder, an Easter gift to Ro from my dad, waiting for the songbirds to find it. We have leaves coming out on the trees, and the mini potted hydrangea I worried hadn't made it through the winter has a few tentative buds poking out, too. The summer is coming, and life, and the smell of cut grass occasionally comes over our newly-acquired suburban lawns. Life is fun and sad and beautiful all at once.