The trees in front of our house are in bloom again. Every spring, for just a few, ephemeral days, the branches light up in blossoms of blazing white, their bright perfume the first thing I smell when I step out onto my front stoop in the morning. It’s glorious, and for Simone and me, it’s an olfactory welcome into the warmer seasons.
For some reason, spring’s recent arrival has opened up a sense of optimism and a tenderness in me that I can’t completely explain.
Simone turned 17 a little more than a week ago, which was both surreal and momentous. I took her and her S.O. out to brunch, then dropped them off for a few hours at the zoo, and though I hid it well, I couldn’t help feeling just a touch weepy here and there throughout the day. Every year, spring brings the promise of sunlight and longer days and also the reminder that time is moving quickly, and my daughter is growing up.
My little girl is independent and opinionated (as she’s always been), but there’s also something world-weary in her that just emerged in the last year. She’s always been witty and articulate, but recently an edge of the sardonic has shaded some of her quips; a sizzle of snark, a smattering of cynicism, a wisp of weltschmerz. I know it’s an amalgamation of being an anti-scene-geek-goddess-artist-edge-rider and her deep sensitivity and worry about the current political and social climate, but it’s also heartbreaking and hilarious.
She still covets plush toys, but she also consumes media (books, music, anime) that’s, if not completely nihilistic, definitely gloomily existential. She couldn’t wait to play the newest Zelda game, but she’s also reading deep, rich books by early 20th century Japanese authors, noticing inconsistencies in translations. She sleeps with her satin blanket, but will walk to the light rail station and catch a train without hesitation.
Our time together has become more like a couple of adults enjoying pop culture, deep conversations, and delicious food, though I’ll still veg on the couch and watch her kill opponents on Overwatch or explore Hyrule’s latest incarnation. She was with me the last 10 days for spring break; we spent much of it watching action and sci-fi flicks, cooking together, and working out of coffee shops.
This is the first time in her life when she’d stay up later than I did (playing video games and messaging her friends), and would still be sleeping when I woke up for work. It’s like she became a true teenager in the last two weeks. It’s weird. And awesome. And a steady reminder that she’s getting herself ready to leave the nest.
Things are changing and maturing at the office, too. We just brought yet another part-timer to full-time; we have taken over the entire office space we’ve shared for eight years or so; we landed big, new clients (and others on the near horizon); and my quirky creative team is coalescing into a family — they hang out together even when they’re not at work, which makes me SO happy.
And… I feel like something good is on the romantic horizon. I have this soft-focus sense that something real and lasting is approaching. I feel extra huggy and vulnerable, like my heart grew through the winter, and the change of seasons has made it too big to stay bound up anymore. I don’t know how or when it’s going to happen, and of course I’ve been wrong before (so. many. times.), but it just feels like…any day now…she’s going to find me and we’ll wonder why it took so long for us to finally be together.
My outrage and frustration with the political stuff is still there (running fiery hot on Twitter), but overlaying it is a sense of affection for the people in my life, a tendency to be forgiving and recognize the humanity in even the people who drive me nuts. I feel myself taking more deep breaths during times of frustration. I feel a lightness in my mood, but a warm heaviness in my heart.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s spring fever. Maybe I’m intoxicated by the wafting fragrance of those snowy blooms. In the next couple of weeks, we’re sure to get one of those late-season blizzards, the snow so heavy it causes the tree branches to bend and break, decimating the blossoms and washing away their pheromonal incense. Maybe I’ll wake up alone in my bed to gray skies and the chug chug of the furnace turning itself back on, and I’ll roll over and pull my comforter over my head.
Or…maybe…I’ll be sharing the comforter with someone who smells even better than those miracle trees outside my front door.