This weekend we finally had a glimpse of spring - two sunnier days warm enough to get outside. It felt like the first meal enjoyed after begin sick, the first chance to come up for air from a long, tedious job. It felt so good to finally breathe fresh air again, to feel warmth on our faces and play outside after so long indoors.
I had a creative weekend - sewing and knitting, baking, meeting with my friend Mandy to talk about our new creative venture (more on that exciting news later). Dora played while we felted little wool purses, marveling at the yarn's unpredictable transformation. In the afternoon, while Dora slept, I set up my sewing machine, bringing to life a few ideas I had been envisioning for weeks. As the sun streamed in through my window, casting light across my work, I thought how I could be satisfied, fulfilled even, by doing this all the time. A real artist, I'm sure, doesn't have her sewing studio in her dining room - along with the home office, the playroom, and the recording studio - but it was a lovely little daydream for a few minutes.
In the afternoon I took Dora to the playground. I chased her around while she explored, snapping pictures. The sun was low in the sky now, casting long shadows, peeking between the wooden slats of the play structures. I could barely keep up with Dora, ending up with lots of photos of mulch and wood, a tiny flash of pink t-shirt streaking off the corner of the frame. On the swings, an older girl asked Dora what her name was. I answered, and she said, "like the Explorer?". "yes, like Dora the Explorer." Dora got away from me at one point and slid down the big slide with me at the top, unable to catch her at the bottom. She fell off the end of the slide, landing face-first in the mulch. No tears, though - just jumping up and brushing herself off, getting back to business.
On Sunday, I sat across from the stained glass windows glowing from the outside in, illuminated by the morning sun. I listened to the sermon, about the wilderness within us, and the wilderness around us, and how we navigate that, and learn from it, and grow with it. Later in the service we heard that about a member of the church who had suffered an aneurysm at work on Friday. He will not survive, but his partner and family members are graciously allowing his medical team to keep him alive until recipients are identified who will find new life through his donated organs. Even in grief, these people have found a way to let the sunlight into someone else's life - into the lives of strangers. I was moved - am moved - beyond words.
I had a lovely weekend - lots of sunshine, both literal and figurative - but I still found time to bellyache about what I'd like to change about my life, still found myself jealous of another's success, still had timeouts and toddler screaming matches and unfinished loads of laundry. But, I was reminded, too, of how all of this is so fleeting, so much a blessing even when it might not feel like it. I was reminded of the incredible strength of love, of how, even in our darkest moments, we can let love guide us to a place where our selflessness saves someone else, where we open the curtains so the sun may shine on another.
I watch my girl run through the frame, explore and play with abandon, fall down on her face and get right up again. My heart could burst with love for her, hot and glowing like the sun inside my chest. What I never knew before becoming a parent is how much my I would learn from my child, how much she would teach me about love and light and life. She is my sunlight, my warmth after cold, my reminder of all that is beautiful in this world. She reminds me that the sun is going to shine again - winter never lasts forever. It is up to us to get into that light, to be filled by it, and to revel in the blessed opportunity to feel our faces warmed, to find a way to share it with those we love and those we don't even know yet.