Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Annual Spring Attack is Here

Dear John,
 
I'm beginning my annual Spring Attack. It comes every year, usually with the skunks. It really started last week, when I bought nail polish - an extreme expression of the exuberant restlessness that hits me. Today I looked at the class schedule at the yoga place and considered opening an Etsy store. I know - I shouldn't get so wild and daring. The weather went to my head. This morning it was still cold but sunny, so I walked downtown to run errands then came home and took the dog around the block twice. It smells like winter is coming to an end.
 
I've had Spring Attacks ever since I can remember. And I knew things were serious with you when we dated through two springs. It was quite an accomplishment for you, holding my interest through both springs. And not freaking out when I bought nail polish - I remember buying blue and green in 1977, when women didn't wear nail polish in anything but pink and red. Once again, you gave me the freedom to be myself.
 
I tested you on that early in our relationship. Remember? We were in the car heading south on I-75, coming back from my first trip to Springfield with you. We were singing silly songs, and I decided to sing the Beaver Call song and watch your reaction. You were surprised, but you liked it. And what really mattered was that you liked the fact that I surprised you. I'd had enough of dating guys that had a box for me to fit into - when I did something that surprised them, they would frantically begin trying to stuff me back into the box. You told me later that you thought, "That's a side of her that I haven't seen before. This is interesting!" That's another reason I had to marry you.
 
It occurs to me that I'm wrong about my Spring Attack being an annual thing. I didn't have one last year. That's probably because there was no spring. There was Christmas, then Hospitals, then Widowed. I was too focused to be restless, and there was nothing to be exuberant about. I didn't want to do anything new and different. All I wanted was for life to go back to the way it had been.
 
Like it or not, I got new and different. In spite of widowhood, I think there will be spring this year. I'm beginning to carve out a new normal. Jen is right, as usual - getting a cat was a huge step, the first piece of that. I hope the nail polish colors work out half as well.
 
Thank you for gracefully weathering 38 springs with me. Thank you for liking it when I surprised you. Thank you for not just letting, but wanting me to be myself. Thank you for never trying to own or control me. And please give your father my thanks for his part in making you that way, and tell him how much I look forward to telling him myself.
 
Sleep well tonight, and pray for your little family. Loving you all the springs of my life,
Joan.

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