Who hasn’t spent long winter evenings snuggled under a blanket at home, watching a favourite TV show or reading a good book? The latest winter evenings for me were occupied with reading a magazine called Juno. I always look forward to a new issue, as it reminds me that a new season is coming. The article that really intrigued me in the latest issue contained reflections about the arrival of spring, by a British author named Chris Brock, who specialises in mindfulness. He has an interesting and slightly different perspective from usual – that the changing cycles of winter and spring can be found within ourselves too. He describes how we wake up in the morning after our nightly ‘winter’ sleep to a brand-new day. What fascinated me too was his idea that just as spring comes afresh every year after winter, we can observe these cycles in our children’s daily lives: they show us their progress daily and so they also experience the arrival of a new mini spring every morning when they awake.
As I read, I understood more and more how true these words are: when I wish my little Lucas goodnight I am really saying goodbye before he wakes to a day of new development. He will be different, just as he is different from yesterday. This makes me wonder at the magic and beauty of childhood. Lucas will be more independent, curious and slightly older tomorrow and it’s up to us as parents to have the courage to say ‘goodbye’ to our child every night, and to let them go and grow.
Some time after reading the article, the words of a children’s singer of Armenian origin, Raffi, came to my mind: “Everything grows and grows. Babies do. Animals too. Everything grows. (…) Yes, everything grows and grows. That’s how it goes under the sun.”
These words are so true, everything grows, and everything is in constant motion, constantly renewed, and we, thanks to our children, have the greatest gift of being part of this wonderful process of life and the joyful ability to be here and now. How beautifully children are able to enjoy every moment in the present, experience it completely, and, when time passes, to let it go. Not only does everything grow, but it also changes and flows, like clouds in the sky. Who has ever had the time to look at it carefully? Clouds come and go, just like every child’s progress, which we are part of.
Until recently, Lucas wanted a helping hand with his first steps. At one point during the winter it seemed to us that the season had paused, but it was only our feeling – less than one week had passed, the cold snowy days were over and nature woke up with such an incredible speed as Lucas began happily running around us. It’s really clear to me that he’s no longer a tiny baby! He is a little but great adventurer, who enjoys every moment of the present, fully concentrating his mind on one step, then the next, again and again – “Next time I will do even better!”
We watched Lucas’s progress and change in harmony with changes in nature. It was one winter Saturday and everything around us was covered with snow. Nature was still in hibernation, just like our ‘big Lucas’ was still ‘sleeping’. Little Lucas was still with us – not a baby, but still like a baby and in need of our support and a helping hand.
Yet only seven days later we woke up to a completely different little human! More independent, determined to walk alone without help, able to say: “by myself!” As he happily ran around the gardens at Chiddingstone Castle, crocuses, snowdrops and primroses bloomed all around us, and Lucas looked at the first spring flowers with sparkling eyes. At that moment I was sure that winter had gone, spring was coming, and that while we still had our baby in photos a curious, amazing little toddler was with us in his place.
When we said goodbye to the first spring flowers, Lucas ran to statues of two dogs guarding Chiddingstone Castle. I saw a certain symbolism in them too – sitting silently, resisting time, in which spring, summer, autumn and winter alternate constantly. Their only task is to protect the entrance to their castle. Likewise, we, the parents, are mere guardians who accompany our children on the fascinating journey of their lives, and in silence, like them, we should guard the entrance to their ‘castle’, which symbolises their unique childhood. And this is the most beautiful gift that we parents could ever get.
* hoodie: C&A baby club (German clothing brand, selling mostly in the EU)
* tube scarf (organic cotton): Maxomorra Vintage Race
* trousers (organic cotton): Sanetta (also available on Amazon)
* shoes: Bobux Step Up Timber Boot