Daffodils are in bloom. I love daffodils — their bright yellow faces popping up from the cold ground are a sign that spring, with all its glory, is just around the corner. Visions of pink and purple petals floating through the air fill my mind as I try to remember the scent of cherry blossoms and lilacs. Today is cold though. The clouds in the sky, while dry, look ominous and I am reminded that the beauty of spring necessitates stormy clouds and wet rainy days. And then I start to feel bad for the daffodils — their bright yellow faces, a true sign of more beauty and splendor to come, never get to see spring in its full glory for, by the time it arrives, the daffodils are gone.
Last month I was so happy. Life felt beautiful and wonderful — not perfect but wonderful. I knew it was a momentary snapshot in time and the happiness was fleeting. Somehow, even with that knowledge, I was still able to hold on to all of those moments and just enjoy them. I kept telling friends that I wish there was a way I could bottle up all of that happiness for the day it would leave. And, I knew it would leave. I even had a good idea of the date it would leave — Friday, March 30 — Good Friday. That day came and it went. It was hard, so hard. But, not as bad as it could have been. It was a day that indicated there is a hard road ahead that will be difficult to navigate, but not impossible. And so, I went back to my life. Some things got more difficult, and I stopped feeling like I had enough happiness to bottle up, but everything was still pretty normal — except one thing. I cried. Tears would just spring to my eyes, sometimes at the most inopportune time — walking down the street, talking to the cute guy on the elevator, standing in line at the grocery store, eating dinner with my daughter. It happened so much I began to wonder if maybe there was something wrong with my tear ducts.
And then, Hannah left. She left on Saturday to go to her dad’s house for the week of April vacation. Her absence gave me the freedom and space to cry. For the last two days, I have spent more hours crying than I care to admit. Not the soft crying where tears spring to my eyes and I wipe them away but the deep, all-consuming cry that brings you to the floor — crumpled in a heap. Your face gets swollen and seeing and speaking are oh so hard. When you cry like that, it feels like your deepest unmet desire comes to the surface. For me it’s the refrain, “I want to go home.” Mid-cry on Monday night my sister called. We had been playing phone tag for a few days so I answered — she’s heard me cry many times. This time though, she had a hard time understanding anything I said. My throat was so dry and voice so cracked. But she was empathetic and talked to me anyway sometimes to distract (E & J are sleeping, vacation this summer, work is good), sometimes to listen (I’m failing at life, here are all the reasons), and sometimes to give me affirmations (You should cry, you deserve to cry. And, by the way, you should watch Dane Cook’s bit on crying).
After two full days of just letting the tears overtake me at any opportunistic moment, I finally feel better. A friend knocked some sense into me about grad school, my sister knocked sense into me about the difficulties of being a single parent, and God received all my anger and hurt and I was reminded me of how deeply loved I am. On Monday as I ran, all I could see was the rain. It was raining so hard and heavy that the raindrops felt like tiny buckets of ice water hitting my forehead. But, I ran anyway. When I got home my rain-soaked body masked my warm tears. Today I ran again. This time I noticed the yellow buds on the trees and the daffodils lining the Charles. Spring is so beautiful that it can be easy to forget that storms are required to bring beauty. As I ran along the Charles, admiring the signs of a beautiful spring just around the corner, I was reminded of this truth not just for New England but for life.