Here’s the song reference.
My husband has lived in Virginia since 1977, and I have been here since 1988. He and I both agree that there are few things that can match the sheer beauty of everything in the state turning green and beginning to blossom in the spring, and, although we are both afflicted with severe seasonal allergies, we both love to see everything coming back to life. It’s an appreciation we’ve passed along to our tribe, and spring days at our house nearly always bring an outing to see what new bud or flower the Lord has sent, what new loveliness awaits the eyes that have the patience to seek it.
Spring also heralds the arrival of what we laughingly call “birthday season,” as our children’s birthdays are all clustered between April and June, which means lots of extra Grandma and Grandpa time, as well as the time when my husband’s family from Pittsburgh is likely to visit, which means lots of extra Nonno and Deedaw time, since most of the family chooses to stay there during their visits. The first visitors arrived yesterday, when my husband’s cousins Joe and Pam arrived with our darling Zizi Carmela, who adores babies and small children and is never without a kind and loving word for all of them (even at their most obnoxious). We’re all trying to convince her to make it an extended stay this time, and everyone has volunteered to take her home if she’d like to stay longer than Joe and Pam’s work schedules will allow.
Our tribe was a little off-kilter yesterday from a night of disrupted sleep, and Baby Guy has, partly to our sorrow and party to our relief, developed some small sense of stranger anxiety, so while the tiny people were all very happy to see Zizi Carmela, Uncle Joey, and Aunt Pam, Baby Guy wasn’t quite as willing to be snuggled by his great-aunt as he has been in the past, and his older siblings were more interested in heading outside to play in Nonno and Deedaw’s sandbox than anything else. The littlest guy (who is named for Zizi’s late and equally beloved husband) did, however, totally delight Zizi with his utter demolition of three servings of pasta. Zizi is from Italy, and I believe that her definition of “good baby” includes the ability to eat any pasta, anywhere, anytime, with relish. She likes to see them enjoying her cookies (but not as much as we enjoy eating them), but the standard for whether a child is eating properly is his or her pasta intake, and she positively beamed as Baby Guy cheerfully chomped on his little seashell macaronis.
Of course, things that are lush, green, blooming and fruiting aren’t the only things that come to life in a Southern spring; in the part of the state where we live, there are abundant rivers, marshes, creeks, and streams. This year, we had quite a dry winter, followed by a very wet spring, which has led to an absolute explosion in the mosquito population. While my husband, Bugaboo, and Mr. Man are blessed with mosquito resistance, Beanie and I are not, and after two hours playing in the sandbox without mosquito repellent, our younger daughter bore all the marks of having been a smorgasbord for the local bloodsucker population. I have added a family-sized bottle of Cutter to my list of “things to take over to Nonno and Deedaw’s.”
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for the blessing of a loving extended family, and that Your little blessings have the opportunity to know Your beloved Carmela, and hear her stories. Thank You for the joy she takes in small children, and for the songs Bugaboo sang to her; thank You for safe travels for our family and for the food with which You bless our tables every time we meet. Please help us teach Your blessings that having many generations of our family alive at the same time is an unmerited gift from You, and shape us into examples of how to love and honor the older generations for them to follow in a way that is pleasing to You. Please also help me remember that while You made the mosquito, You also inspired someone to create mosquito repellant, and that sometimes, the help You offer takes a mundane-looking form.