Why I’m not looking forward to spring for the first time ever

I think it was late March in 1973 when we moved to Maine.  Maine’s a beautiful state year-round, but if she has any unattractive moments, they occur during that late winter/early spring period. Sort of like a great beauty waking from a night of too much fun and too little sleep.

By late April, she starts getting her glow back.

We were city people suddenly living in the middle of the woods, and I’ll never forget my first perfect spring morning. Waking up to mere remnants of snow melting into grass greening in the gloriously warm sunshine. I was five and remember racing out the front porch door, arms outstretched in that spazzy, little kid way, feeling like I could fly.

I continued my attempt at airborne-ness as I round the corner of the front porch, mouth wide open, gulping the sweet air. Next thing I know there were all these little things in my mouth, flying around, sticking to my cheeks and tongue and turning mushy. Some hit the back of my throat and made me cough.

I had no idea what those little black things were coming out with my spit.

I swear to God, I probably still have some amount of decomposed black fly matter in the bottom of my lungs from that day. If I had been in a competition to try to get as many black flies in my mouth as I could, I couldn’t have gotten that many in there. I can still feel them buzzing and dying in my mouth whenever I tell the story.

Despite this shocking introduction to spring in Maine, it and fall are my favorite seasons, and I look forward to both every year. Except this year.

Fall 2016 marked my last back-to-school days as a mom. My oldest is a wonderful adult, out on his own; and my youngest is a senior in high school. A small part of me wanted summer to last forever so he’d never have to follow in his brother’s footsteps and finish growing up.

I know it sounds silly.

Now I find myself wanting winter (my least favorite season) to last forever, too. I’ve treasured each snow day, and I’ve resented only becoming acquainted with snowdaycalculator.com in the last two years of parenting K-12 aged children. A tool that fairly accurately calculates the probability of snow days and early release days is a working mom’s dream.

Where was that site for the first 19 years of this nearly impossible, but best-ever gig? And what the heck is wrong with me that after 21 years of griping about trying to work parent/teacher conferences into my schedule, I got teary last week leaving my final one?

As I type this post, I am asking myself if I have a point beyond getting overly emotional and nostalgic. I’m up to over 480 words now, and I have yet to introduce one. This apparently pointless post actually started composing itself in my head last week when I went to my son’s conferences.

It popped up in my head again when I wrote my most recent post and mentioned the gospel according to Petty. Readers may have thought I was kidding when I said I raised my kids to recite Tom Petty lyrics and other forms modern counsel when seeking guidance on day to day things.

By the time my youngest was 18 months old, if you asked him what was the hardest part, he’d stomp his foot and growl, “the waiting.” He knew that was momma code politely commanding him to get a grip on his behavior while we were waiting for whatever we were waiting for.

And that’s what my pre-spring malaise is all about:  trying to get a grip while I’m waiting. Waiting for tremendous change that I know will be fine. It’s sort of like the waiting when you’re pregnant and it seems to last forever and the forever is filled with excitements and anxieties on top of anxieties.

Waiting for tremendous change that may come with its own mouthful of black flies at first, but change I’ll treasure nonetheless.

I didn’t want to double-dip with The Waiting, so here’s another Petty tune — again, the words and music of a master.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.