Spring rituals

After the drudgery of winter, I welcome spring’s energetic celebration of life. It has, however, been a long time since I could simply sit and be absorbed in its wonder. As the trees burst into shades of green, I find myself instead absorbed in “end of the year” activities.

Anyone with four children should expect to be busy. But, I thought with two off in college, life would be easier. It’s not. I’m still short on time. With the end of the year competitions, plays, programs and recitals, I felt rushed, but it got worse the weekend we had a doubleheader: a science fair and a commissioning service in Central Arkansas.

Our youngest son was competing in the state science fair. My husband, daughter and I met him there Friday night for a barbecue with other competitors. We stayed overnight in a motel and checked out the exhibits in the gym the next morning. After proudly comparing his exhibit with others and discussing ideas for next year, I still had a long wait until the awards ceremony.
Leaving the gym to go shopping, I noticed that the bleachers of the track across the way were half filled. I stopped and watched from my side of the road as the national anthem was sung. When the runners passed a torched in a slow relay around the track, I realized that I was watching the Special Olympics.
Proud parents, friends and teachers cheered their runner around the track. Over eager coaches trotted alongside until the announcer reminded them, “Coaches please do not pace with your runners.”
At the end of the day, participants and winners and their families had to leave both the Fair and Olympics. Those who left without ribbons tried to remember that competing at that level was an honor in itself.
The next morning we left the motel to meet our second son at a church camp. He and 64 other college student were there to be commissioned for a summer ministry. Proud parents, families and friends blessed their departure as they were sent out for the summer. Tears and smile were abundant as one child-adult after another told where they would be spending the summer this year instead of at home.

Afterward, we stood around taking pictures and chatting until my son’s bus filled with students needing to get back to college roared away. We left to make a quiet three-hour drive back home where we lazily unloaded. At the last minute, my daughter and I decided to go to church.
I’m glad we decided to go instead of staying home. The children’s choir was presenting a musical that evening.

I have taught or worked with most of those children this past year. As they sang or said their lines, the director bounced with energy and smiles to encourage the littlest to sing louder and the older ones to remember their longer parts.
As they performed, I watched the parents. They quietly but proudly celebrated the completion of the endless rush of practices and dress rehearsals in a successful presentation. Everyone basked in the warmth of a job well done.

I missed the green of leaves popping out. However I did not miss the proud burst of energy of spring after a long winter of work.