• Kathleen Cassen Mickelson

Growth is Not a Straight Line

This spring in Minnesota has been an odd juxtaposition of stop-and-go thawing, warmth then cold then warmth again. But the weather has been the undercurrent to the other sorts of shifts, the way our family is getting ready to send our daughter Abby to college and how our granddaughter Camille is learning to tell us everything on her mind as she runs on her newly-turned-two-years-old legs. Our son Shawn‘s art career is expanding, our daughter-in-law Beka is learning about urban farming, and Mick is getting ready to attend a conference in the Azores. I’m training new slush readers at Every Day Poets, lining up tasks for Abby’s high school graduation party, and doing everything else I can to keep busy so I don’t dwell on the fact that she won’t live in this house with us come September.

All of this is growth. The reminders that this is the season for growth are everywhere, in the way our grass is suddenly brilliant green and how the violas have exploded in the front garden. It’s there in the robin’s nest tucked in around the support beams beneath our deck. I see it in the way the crabapple has suddenly burst into a white-petaled extravaganza in our front yard. Growth comes no matter what, regardless of whether we turn the calendar page or snow appears in May. There’s no stopping it.

I’ve heard parents say they wish they could keep their kids little forever. As I watched Camille at her own birthday party over the weekend, I was reminded just how much a parent has to be involved when a child is two years old, how things move between exhilarating and exhausting. I watched Shawn and Beka being parents, something that they weren’t only a few years ago. My son, who used to come home completely banged up from skateboarding, now chases his daughter away from the alley behind their house, keeps dangerous objects out of her hands, and loses sleep when she cries. And I’m glad it’s his turn. I’m happy he’s grown into the man he is.

Abby’s turn is next. She’ll move from this beautiful, stubborn, smart, and sometimes tender high school student to a college-educated woman before we know it. She’ll have stops and starts along the way, shifts that force her to reframe who she is.

Winter seemed like it would last forever this year. Of course, it didn’t, in spite of the snow that kept returning after we thought we were done. And now, the sweetness of spring is sharper, more deeply appreciated than ever.

DO A KIND THING

As a resident of the midwestern United States, I’m quite familiar with the destructive capability tornadoes possess. And so I’ve been glued to the news coverage of yesterday’s massive tornado and its aftermath in the Oklahoma City area (Moore, Oklahoma, to be specific). The images of a shattered community are heartbreaking. This is one of the worst tornado disasters ever.

If you haven’t seen those images, look here.

Huffington Post has a list of ways to help Oklahoma tornado victims here.

Please consider helping.

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