Coming Spring

March 5, 2009

The arrival of my first seed catalog last month reminded me that Spring is really coming. In spite of snow and cold, in spite of work projects and panicky students, in spite of my crankiness over our still-leaky roof, Spring is coming.

Spring still makes me hopeful. Even now, when I feel like I should know better.

The last few weeks have brought green buds on the trees and on the lilac bushes in our yard. Subtle swellings of green signal that the trees know it is time to start growing again, know it in their roots and sap.

The last few weeks have also brought snowdrops. They line the bank along the sidewalk that winds up my hill and half hide in corners around the campus where I work. A couple weeks ago, N tried to convince me that they will become Stormtroopers when they grow up. Somehow I think this particular whimsy is pretty tellingly the product of the male brain. Snowdrops remind me of fairy hats.

This time last year, when I dreamed of gardening, when the snowdrops appeared, I was pregnant and just starting to show. I was happy and secure in the knowledge that everything was right with me, my body and my baby, that everything would work out the way it was supposed to. I saw our bright future written everywhere – in sunsets and raindrops, in clouds and in houseplants. The flight of birds, the singing of the wind, and the moose tracks in our front yard all seemed auspicious to me.

Now, I wonder how I couldn’t see it coming, the big and unhappy surprise. Did I critically misread myself, my baby, the world? Did I blind myself to the truth because I didn’t want to know it? I wonder how I can ever trust my intuition again, how I will ever again trust or believe what I feel. And I wonder how I can’t.

Maybe I was like the trees who know its time to start growing. They put forth their buds, not just because they want to, but because it’s time and it feels like time. This doesn’t mean they won’t be blasted by late-coming snowstorms, or hailed on, or cut down. They know what they need to do and in the moments when they know, they do it, no matter what comes after.

And maybe I wasn’t so wrong after all. Teddy was safe and well while he was inside me, kicking and wiggling so much that my non-stress tests were anything but “non-stressful.” Giving birth was terrifying because I knew my baby was leaving the world’s best life support system, that I would no longer be able to breathe for him. But before that time I kept him safe in spite of doctors’ worries. Before that time, we were both okay. And I knew that in my own roots and sap. Come June, I could see the storm coming, but there’s little I would have done differently, and nothing I would have done differently would have changed the final outcome for the better.

I miss my halcyon Spring, those days when I was so sure and positive, so trusting of the world, when I saw signs everywhere that life would continue golden. I remember what that felt like. Whatever else I may feel in the future, that particular peace and surety is now forbidden to me. I mourn that, along with mourning Teddy. I mourn it as I welcome this new Spring, but I let the memories of last Spring warm me a little, even now that they’re colored by what came after.

Last Spring was Teddy’s, and even though I’m so very changed now, this one is, too. Maybe they all are, now.



  1. Spring still makes me hopeful too.

  2. It was this time for me last year too that I started to show. Such a happy, happy time. I can’t believe I am here, and I suspect you can’t either. It is not spring here, being in the land down under, but I will try and draw on your hope that spring has brought for you. Summer is quickly ending here, so I see bleak months ahead…

  3. I’m so sorry that Teddy’s not here. I delivered Sam in August as well and although March does not equal Spring in my part of the world, I can’t help but think back to this time last year. Thinking of you & Teddy.

  4. I miss that kind of spring, too, full of promise and hope for all the possibilities ahead. I so wanted to keep Tikva inside me, where I knew she was safe and held. I miss that feeling of her inside me, all well and safe, with everything ahead.

  5. “Last Spring was Teddy’s, and even though I’m so very changed now, this one is, too. Maybe they all are, now.”

    This brought tears to my eyes. You are such a wonderful writer, and I am very grateful that you share your experiences here. Thank you so much.

    I am so, so sorry that your son died. I wish I knew what else to say.

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