Spring can be abrupt in Utah. Summers are hot, winters are cold and both are incredibly long. That leaves little time for spring and fall to do their thing, both last less than a month here. They contain the absolute best weather you can imagine. Last week it snowed 12-18” and this week the sun is shining and it is 55*. People in Utah head out in droves when the weather breaks, and it is an incredible sight to see. Yesterday was the second nice weather day in a row and while we were out we saw an incredible amount of activity: road bikers raced up and down the mountain, runners were everywhere, dirt bikes and 4x4’s buzzed through their trails, and paragliders littered the sky. Even on our street, where houses are still buried behind snow piles that can hide full size trucks people were outside organizing their garages, cleaning their cars, walking their dogs and just re-emerging from the depths of their homes to soak up the sunshine, beauty and community all around.
There is a great sense of awakening and excitement in the spring that is universal. People everywhere are excited to get out and play outside after being cooped up all winter. There is a tangible feeling of glee and there is not a minute of adventure missed in this state. It is currently the middle of March and nobody is naive enough to think that winter will be over anytime soon, but on the warm spring days between snow storms there is activity buzzing everywhere you look. We have spent many days already shifting between building snowmen and throwing snowballs to creating chalk masterpieces and riding bikes. We don’t wait for summer to make its full arrival to start enjoying the outdoors, and it is not just my family that loves this season, it seems to be inescapable. I love the tenacity and heartiness of the people in this state.
While the excitement of spring is universal, my favorite thing about my fellow mountain lovers is that this excitement does not seem to dwindle throughout the year. They will just shift gears from biking, hiking, climbing and camping to snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. There are neverending ways to play in the mountains and I love seeing how different friends head in every direction all year. Watching people spend their winters in the snow is cool, but knowing half of ‘my people’ are making the 4 hour drive south to continue camping, fishing, biking and exploring boggles my mind. There is inspiration everywhere. Camping season does not really end, but it seems to gain momentum in March every year. March. Camping. In tents. It’s intense. (Get it?) We have friends that have already started their summer camping season by taking the quick drive to Moab, and we are starting next week.
We have two camping trips already planned for April and have been mentally planning our summer since Christmas. Planning our adventures a year at a time helps us manage work vacation days, pacing ourselves, and balancing our home goals with our adventure goals. It seems that the older we get the more things we can find to do, there is always a project going on around the house. When we moved out here one of the culture shocks we ran into was people that actually used their work vacation days. Management both encouraged and expected you to use your days instead of ‘saving’ them. Growing up it always seemed like a negative to actually use your vacation days and it was always looked down on by management because their focus was getting and keeping people tied to the office. The culture out here seems to be one of a work life balance that is more healthy. There seems to be a true acceptance of the idea of mental health, physical health, and office morale is at its peak when employees take a step away to refresh their souls. People tend to be less wound-up here and it bleeds into all areas of life to create a happier and healthier environment.
This spring specifically holds exciting prospects for me. This is the last round of adventure before our oldest starts preschool in the fall, officially beginning to close the chapter on littles in our lives. I am equal parts terrified of the next step of independence for each individual in this family as I am excited to see what blooms for each of us and how that will play into our overall family dynamic. I am looking forward to getting solo quality time with my youngest regularly throughout the weeks while simultaneously watching my oldest gain friendships and his first taste of an independent life where he will get to make decisions without my overlooking or interfering.
I will also be getting my first glimpse of independence since having kids. I will have the opportunity to focus on my relationship one on one with a kiddo that has never experienced that. After you raise multiples, yes, the idea of “only having one” does genuinely feel like personal independence. Motherhood has a way of making you see glory in the mundane, making solo grocery trips a breath of fresh air, and driving with the music blasting pure glee. I plan on sharing some of my loves with my youngest, including bigger hikes where I haul him somewhere he could not get on his own two little feet. I imagine a major personality shift coming in all of us, hopefully for the better, but only time will tell if this collective family exhale will reinvigorate us.
Spring is a time for fresh starts, renewed energy and growth and I want to spend the next few months soaking up every bit of the last push of pure freedom as I can before our next chapter begins. I plan on enjoying much of the spring and summer at toddler pace, before he becomes exposed to the rushed schedule of the world around him. While this pace can be excruciatingly slow, I can feel that it is the calm before the storm. Time will speed up after this next step and there will be no turning back to the little years.
In this season I will try to take in the world through the eyes of my caring, observant, inquisitive, silly, smart four year old. That will look like bike rides, splashing in waterfalls, noticing rocks, bugs and plants, questions, and hopefully more laughter than frustration. My mom car will never be without chalk, bubbles and sunscreen, and ready for any small adventure. I will be praying for a lot of patience and grace and the courage to step back while he steps into himself. I will have to spend my days resisting the urge to finish his sentences, guess his needs before he asks for them, and help him in ways that he does not need. He is growing more brave everyday and I hope to encourage his need to take risks, while guiding him to make them calculated. I want to give him space to be little, not push him to mature too quickly.
I am excited to watch our snow melt, with the melting rivers glistening in the sun next to the glittery snow piles. Seeing the new buds pop on flowers and shrubs brings a sense of wonder and exploration that I look forward to. Opening windows to hear the birds in the early morning hours is my favorite way to wake up and I look forward to taking my writing outdoors and on the road.