"Let's have a special night." said my five year old daughter as Daddy and brothers headed out the door to baseball practice. She hopped down from the Lazy Boy in the livingroom. "Let's go play the ball game!" "Alright kiddo." I replied and we slid on our shoes. I was expecting to need to pull on a sweatshirt, but as I stepped off the porch into the sun, I realized the air was still quite warm. I know it should be warm, we are approaching the end of April now, but I scraped snow and ice off the Cherokee just last week. After such a long winter I seem to bundle up out of habbit, as if I expect to be wearing fleece and gloves in June too.
Out in the yard, a warm breeze feathered our skin as Lila began to swing quickly and steadily. "You won't have to wait for me!" She was right. With the large pink ball in hand, I watched her swinging. She swooped low and high, stretching her body long and pulling in strong. (Didn't I have to push her to get started just last year?) I timed my toss and she popped the ball into the air over my head. She giggled wildly. I zinged the ball again, my timing was off. The ball went under her swing and I performed my best grumbly exasperated act while fetching the ball and tickling her on the way by. (Game requirement) She giggled wildly. Again and again I tossed the ball, and fetched the ball, once her flip flop went further than the ball. She giggled wildly. . . and flipped the flop off the other foot too, this time squealing with laughter!
This is her game, The ball Game, and this girl will play and play and laugh and play for as long as anyone will play with her. We play it in sun and snow, wind and rain, from dawn till dusk. Summer months see more action only due to the abundance of free time and daylight hours, not because the weather matters. As I chase the ball across the dried grass and cold spring ground in my now bare feet, an emotion washes over me, along with the warm air and bright sunshine. Honestly I'm not quite sure what it is, wistfulness? awakening? hope? Little buds on branches, a few patches of freshly turned earth planted with little rows of spinach and carrot seeds just hours ago. . .I have noticed these things throughout the day, but it just now struck me; spring is really here! summer is on it's way! Just eight weeks to the end of school for the kids and I. Days have been flying by and I have felt as if I were trapped in time gripped by winter's cold hand. Despite the cold weather, time tramped on, the suns arc traveled and my daughter grew.