Now that I have told (ad nauseum) what happened on my daughter's original birthday, I can mention what happened on her fourth (i.e. last year): we moved into our current, and first-owned, home. I stopped feeling guilty about that one when I saw just how much fun she was having at her Grandma's with her brother and one friend whose parents came to help with the move. Last year, her birthday fell on Lazarus Saturday, so, had we not been in the midst of carting boxes and furniture across our neighbourhood, we probably would have been laying low in preparation of the marathon of Holy Week to come.
This year, we celebrated the birth of my firstborn on Bright Monday, the Eastern equivalent of Easter Monday - except it's the first of a whole Bright Week of post-Paschal celebration; in our house, we keep the feast by eating rich, eggy, pascha bread, sausage, and cheese for breakfast for as long as the goodies last. It's very relaxed, if not as healthy as the vegan fare of Lent we have been trying to keep to 'lo these past seven weeks. And, with the Pascha Vigil being celebrated in the middle of the night, I've kept up my parents' tradition of keeping kids home from school - and adults home from work - on Bright Monday, in hopes of resetting sleep-schedules and calming down after all the excitement before returning to life as usual. So my girlie got her birthday at home, meaning there was time for extra stories, and - thanks to a comatose brother - elegant nail-painting too. Next year, her birthday will be smack in the middle of the fast - Pascha follows the Jewish Passover (Pesach), which follows the phases of the moon, so the cycle's always a little fluid. But so we pass our lives, the mythical mixing with the mundane.
I have now been living in my seasonal sundial for just over a year. The shafts of sunlight have returned to the angles that so enchanted me when we just moved in, and the traffic noise, unhindered by snow or wintry pressure systems, has increased to the level that so vexed my quiet-loving husband. I had often wondered about those crazy people who buy houses on busy streets; now that I've become one, I understand at least one of the appeals: for us, it was a case of falling in love with a house we knew couldn't afford in a better location. That and the enormous windrow that hid our service road from the thoroughfare, leading us to believe the house was amazingly soundproof. By moving day, however, that seasonal sound-wall had vanished, leaving glass and siding sorely taxed in silencing the steady stream of traffic from the north, complete with frequent city buses and transport trucks fresh off the highway, all heading for the downtown core. Add appropriate vehicles for the nearby emergency services (all three of them), and a few schools, and my children are guaranteed plenty of practice in identifying cars, trucks, and buses of all shapes and sizes, colours and occupations. Needless to say, it took some getting used to. This time around, we wait out the roar in peace, sure in the knowledge that each bud that graces our tree-lined street holds the promise of sound-muffling foliage to come.
I'm loath to yet name that post-winter season on such a public place as a blog, lest I trigger yet another dump of snow. After all, both the equinox and April Fool's brought forth frozen precipitation this year, and, for those of us in the Eastern Christian tradition, Great and Holy Friday's somber rain turned to snow over the Sabbath night, clothing the world in Paschal white as the altar cloths inside our temple did the same. It was quite the way to greet the risen Bridegroom, yet I'm glad the weather interpreted Bright Monday as bright sunshine instead of more bright snow. I'm ready to take my light in technicolour, thank you very much. Snow may come, as long as it quickly goes, for moisture is still needed to tune our muted landscapes up to jewel-toned hues.
In the meantime, I will have to appease my winter-weary eyes with small patches of emerald, emerging, most likely, from spots of poor drainage, and the blossoms sheltered within my home. According to the potted daffodil drooping on my dining room table, the anticipated season is actually summer (unless I'm killing the poor thing - cool but sunny spots the toddler cannot reach are hard to come by in my house). And that equinox which brought snow outside also marked the unfurling of the first African violets my pots have seen in months. As far as my houseplants are concerned, winter is long gone. Looks like the sun is sending messages ahead of its time. And I am embracing that sun, with its steadily widening arc (minus the knee-jerk week post-daylight "savings" - but I've ranted on that subject already), occasionally indulging my inner cat by curling up in a sun-warmed spot - though I still haven't mastered the purring.
And I am still loving my home, despite the noise outside and the mess within, the pictures still waiting to be hung, the books still languishing in boxes while our bookcases over-flow with toys, diapers, and whatever needed
to be kept away from a certain shorter someone, who, despite his
ever-stretching reach, has yet to rid himself of the notion that all
unfamiliar objects must surely be fit, if not for human consumption, then at least for destructive exploration. The fix-it list is ever-growing, but the plaster curves just as gracefully over arched doorways and the crown-molding in the living room still speaks of master craftsmanship. I'm still tickled to see my dream of an attic bedroom fulfilled in sloping ceilings of the upper story of our semi-bungalow; there's something magical about owning an older home, regardless of the increase in upkeep. Speaking of which, I should really go stick on the outside bit of our electronic doorbell. As in the doorbell that has been absent for over a year.
Happy belated birthday, house. I'm so glad we found you.