On the first night of spring, as the snowflakes persistently fell, I pulled out our Easter decorations. From October to April, there is always something to decorate for and anticipate: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter. From April to September, there is nothing to hang in the window, no turkeys or leprechauns, hearts or bunnies to remind you a holiday is coming. This is it for decorating for a while, but I happen to love my Easter decorations and it is always like visiting a favorite friend I haven't seen in ages when I open up the box where the bunnies and baskets live the rest of the year. There's the Lenox Easter basket that, in pale shades of pink,blue and green that I registered for as one of my wedding gifts. There's the Winnie the Pooh I bought when I was pregnant with Alex, months before he would even appear. There's the Easter egg electric candlesticks my Grandmother gave me one year, one of her QVC purchases, that makes me smile and appreciate how she is always so thoughtful. And there are the multi-colored pictures of bunnies and eggs to tape up in the window.
This year, I asked my 4 year old son Alex to help me. I asked him because he always gets very excited about "decowations" and at this point in his life, he loves to help me put them up. He'd been lounging on the couch on the iPad, because it was Friday night and we were too exhausted to remind him to do something more active. It was easily going on an hour of staring at it, so I asked him to take a break and come stand on our window sill and tape up the Easter pictures. He loves tape, although it is kind of a struggle for him to effectively rip off a piece. As we worked to hang the decorations, his a little lopsided and crooked, we talked. He was confused and thought that the Easter bunny was coming tonight since we were decorating. He wanted to know who was coming to his house for the party. I had to explain that it wasn't Easter yet and we might go to other people's houses for Easter celebrations this year. Alex told me he likes it better when people come to his house because his house " is the coziest" and "I like the snacks at my house."
As we finished up, I asked him to put Minnie and Mickey in the window. He said, "They should kiss!" and posed them so they were smooching. Then he ran off to go back to the iPad.
As I type this, I realize a reader might think, "So what?" I try to remind my students they need to have a "so what" in their writing- what is the meaning and message behind the story you told? What is it that the reader might relate to, what is the heart of the story? In this story, it's that Alex is 4 now which is a very precious age. He has some baby features about him, but there is a maturity now too and a level of sophistication to his thought process that wasn't present before. I know, in a few years, he is not going to hang Easter eggs up in the window with me or be excited about "decowations." He'll say the word correctly and probably won't care if they are hung or not. He'll be rushing off to a friend's house or to watch a game. All the time for myself I am constantly missing at this stage of my life will come rushing back, but I will feel the sting and absence of spending less time with him. We are always wishing for something else and end up missing the gifts before us.
Last night, I could have done the piles of laundry, worked on updating my resume, started the new books I've bought, begun the report cards. I could have done all of this as Alex quietly played on the iPad. I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad I chose to put up the decorations that add cheer to my days, remind me of happy times and people I love, and I'm glad I enlisted Alex to help. In my memory now and forever, I see snowflakes falling on the first night of spring and my four year old son telling me his house is the "coziest" and innocently giving Mickie and Minnie a loving moment. The "to-do" list is endless, but as another slicer, Clare from Teachers for Teachers wrote in her slice on Monday "It is the small moments that matter."