This afternoon found the boys and me coming in our front gate after school at the same time as the 6-year old who lives up on the third floor - a boy who Baxter's really been missing this winter. They love to wrestle each other to the ground and play wild games of tag in the front yard.
It was around 50 degrees for the first time in months. As we got a rousing game of tag going (in which I, playing tag in my clogs, had to establish the new rule: "The next one of you who spanks me is automatically IT"), more and more neighbors appeared. In short order, all five kids in our building were out front, and a great neighbor from down the block walked by and came in with her 2-year old and a new baby I hadn't yet laid eyes on. (Because, you know, he was born in the winter, and here in Chicago neighbors go into serious hibernation in the winter, especially with a newborn. I do believe if I'd had one of my children in the middle of a Chicago winter I'd have totally lost it.)
It was a grand way to pass the time, reminiscent of long, sunny spring, summer and fall afternoons spent out there last year. Matt, who was working from home and heard the cacophony, paused to take this photo through the window. It's all of the moms hanging out on the front steps. That's me in the black sweater, warm enough to set aside my winter coat, with one of the neighbor kids lounging on my lap. The kids were all around us, poking at each other with sticks, attempting to dig up the lawn, throwing a Nerf football through the gate repeatedly (that was one of mine, of course), wrestling, playing tag, and relaxing with the adults.
I know we'll see more snow - probably later this week - but now I am sure of it: spring is coming!