Thursday, April 30, 2015

Back In Spring

It's spring and the ants are invading, lining the windows, zagging the floors. I wash the counters with vinegar and sprinkle cinnamon like pixie dust. All at once the pear blossoms bend their branches to form a canopy over Columbia street and, now, Little O and I are no longer caught indoors, wishing the cold away, instead we circuit playgrounds in a wide loop around our corner of Brooklyn.

Some playgrounds are crowded with rows of nannies rocking strollers, shushing infants to sleep in a back and forth, push and pull, while their siblings streak and tear through the narrow spaces of play. Others sit tucked beside the various entrance to the BQE, invaded only after school. The children come in waves of screams and O doesn't understand why he can't toddle with his tentative, bumbling, Frankenstein walk when they come through.

The playground I like best is on the waterfront and it's for the smallest of the littles. Even O, who only began walking a few weeks ago, can climb the broad steps of the slide and make his way down alone. Sometimes I overestimate his capabilities and he's tumbling across the blue ground, arms up and wondering and waiting for love while he pouts.

This spring finds us in the swimming pool at the YMCA in Manhattan, navigating subway stairs and stroller wheels through clogged streets to get there. Sam is the bare-chested, gold-chain wearing swim instructor, who sings nursery rhymes like he's sauntering the stage of a cabaret, while we swirl the babies on our hips, and it reminds me of my childhood in our above ground pool that always looked vaguely green with its dented walls. My friends and I used to churn water to make a soft, singing whirlpool.

But now I am the mother carrying childhood memories, reciting Humpty Dumpty over and over, from 'wall' to the 'fall', from the tile to the water and back again. O was the only child to cry for twenty-five of the thirty minutes. But he smiled through chlorine and tears and kicked his way through the last five.

As if he recognized the thrill of his experience, too late, he wailed as we exited the pool, wanting only to go back in.


  1. This perfectly describes the many facets of motherhood. Thanks for sharing your words and feelings, and thank you for the lump in my throat and desperate desire to go hug my sleeping babe.

  2. Once again, you make me love a city I've never even been to :) Glad to hear you and Little O are well and enjoying the beautiful weather.

  3. Your son reminds me of myself.. It takes me a while to warm up to new things, but when I do, I'm all in :) this is a lovely reflection on spring. Enjoy it with your little one.

  4. The daffodils are lovely and it makes me happy you and Little O are out and about enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

  5. I laughed at your FB description of the "toddler swim class" at the YMCA, which sounded more like Mommy Weightlifting in Water than any kind of "swimming." Especially when the weights can thrash and wail and fight you!

    It was great to see you on Saturday! I look forward to a time when we can both be sitting behind that table!

  6. I love your writing, Melissa. Beautiful.

  7. What a lovely description of what spring is like for you and Little O. I smiled about him being the only one who cried for so long in the pool. That would have been my younger son.

    Also, I'm totally jealous that Dianne got to meet you.

  8. Enjoy those sweet and precious moments that all too soon become memories. Love the way you described it!