Smile, Mamas: Sweet Spring

By Doula Jen

 

We’ve been worried about you, Minnesota Mamas. A long, hard winter can certainly intensify the basic baby blues. Even the most seasoned mother of four will find herself crawling the walls and shouting more often than she’d like in the face of a late April snowstorm.

 

 

But today…

Ah, today. Today, spring is here. We get—at the very least—a reprieve from scratchy wool, dirty boots, and boredom.

Spring is hope, health, and happiness via a hopping robin and a favorite tank top. Spring is in the faces—albeit a little pasty—of neighbors, acquaintances, and complete strangers. Hellos and hallelujahs are exchanged as you pass fellow survivors. We did it! Spring! Finally! 

The people are out and they want to talk to you!

This morning my son doubted my instructions. “Your sweatshirt and sneakers will be fine. Leave the snow gear behind.”

Hesitantly, he stepped out on the porch and a smile overtook not just his sweet face, but his entire body. He wiggled, he lightened, he relaxed.

We walked to the bus stop hand in hand. Small green sprouts framed the sidewalk and my daughter pointed them out, one by one, as if each little sign of spring were in itself a miracle—a reward for what now seems like impossible patience, especially to an eight-year-old. Look, Mom, another one.  

Beginnings of plants, who knows what they’ll be.

I took nature’s lead and skipped yoga in favor of a long walk along the river. A to-do list, as usual, wound invisibly around my chest. I shook it off by lengthening my stride.

I checked off that  list by moving my body—mentally writing poems and articles, lists of ideas for this here blog, suggestions for a mom with a very specific case of postpartum depression and a strong distaste for psychiatry. I worked, in my head, organizing thoughts with sunshine on my shoulders and fresh air on my face.

I decided, while walking, to save the “Tips for Finding the Right Childcare” post for next week. There’s no room for “so serious” on the first short sleeves day.

Instead, I wanted to come here and smile with you, celebrate, and sit on your figurative front porch with a glass of lemonade and a twisty straw—asking you to tell me your birth story, again.

I wanted to open your windows and doors, bring you flowers, help you tie your Moby wrap before baby’s first walk to the park. Watch how the gentle breeze makes him smile, every single time. Watch how he fingers grass and feels the earth.

So, here I am—virtually—encouraging you to…

Get out there! Shake off the rust. Shake your tail feathers.

Eat outside. Dig for fossils. Buy a box of popsicles.

Sweat.

Look for lady bugs and butterflies. Picnic. Stargaze. Sing.

Sweet spring.