Gus is 884 days old today and everyone in the house is pining for spring time.
Last fall, Gus discovered the joys of running barefoot through puddles, a practice he continued through the winter, albeit with shoes or boots on. A slushy driveway for Gus is nothing more than a great big playground for stomping and splashing and kicking. More than once he has fallen down in the mess, to stand up with clothes drenched, only to proceed with the activity. At this point, it’s up to the parental units to determine whether it’s just too darned cold outside for him to continue in this condition, because he surely won’t make that decision for himself, at least not until he realizes he is miserable and switches from laughter to wailing in an instant.
By this time of the year, we are all tired of the cold weather -- he, with being bundled up to the point of immobility; and Becky and me with having to bundle up a squirming 29-month-old boy. He also keeps asking if he can go out on our enclosed porch and play, but it being enclosed doesn’t mean it’s heated, so ... bundle up.
Not that I know the whole song, mind you, but I’ve taken to wandering around the house singing "Summertime," by the Jamies, especially the infectious opening riff of "Sum, sum, summertime ..." And now Gus is doing the same. Then he says, "But it’s winter time." It’s heartbreaking in its simple desire, though I’m not sure he really knows what summertime is. He’s starting to grasp concepts such as the seasons, but I don’t think he fully understands the implications, such as winter means warm clothing and summer means dipping our toes at the town beach.
Nonetheless, as the days get longer, the snowpack decreases and temperatures start to rise, there is a feeling of expectation in the household. All of us are excited for a change, tired of the long winter. The other day, Becky said she feels like a rag doll in the teeth of winter, which is shaking its head violently to and fro. Exactly! We are ready for a change.
And as Gus becomes more agile and mobile, I am looking forward to the increased range of activities we can engage in as the spring comes and summer progresses into fall. Time to bring the bike in for a tune-up, check the laces on the hiking boots and pull the tent out of its bag to make sure it didn’t get moldy over the winter.
Becky and I have made a pact to get Gus up Mount Monadnock at least once this year. Though I realize he will end up in the pack on our backs long before we get to the top, I can’t wait to see the look on his face as he scrabbles up the rock path and stands on the peak. And I can’t wait to take him for bike rides around the neighborhood and for walks up into the woods behind the house to explore.
And when summer becomes fall, I’ll begin to think about the winter again and the new activities Gus will be able to participate in -- mainly skating and skiing. I took this year off from skiing because on my day off I didn’t want to be on the slopes and away from Gus. He’ll be 3 in October and I can’t wait to introduce him to the sport.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Winter, hurry up and end. Summer, let’s get it on!
Bob Audette is the day managing editor at the Brattleboro Reformer, and proud father to Gus. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 802-254-2311 ext. 160. Follow him on Twitter @audette.reformer.