I can tell it's winter... Life has maintained some familiar patterns for the past several (many?) years and we're playing those scenes once again despite our change of venue....
Per usual, winter found our youngest daughter visiting the orthopedist:
Yep, that's a boot she's wearing. Something to do with taking a football game with her brothers and sisters just a little too seriously. Just a sprain this time, and some irritated tendons. But it is definitely a winter tradition for her to hurt her leg, specifically her left leg. I can only assume that now that protocol has been satisfied we're good for the next year.
And as part of this annual tradition, injuries always coincide with two things - significant snow and Daddy being out of the country (always someplace warm and sunny). This protocol was also satisfied as Michael was off to Mexico City and we did have six inches of snow (which for this part of the country counts as "significant").
Fortunately we have great orthopedists and physical therapy very close to home, and YP is a quick healer and takes it all with good humor.
We were also luck to get in a bit of winter fun earlier on - a visit to our favorite place to skate: the PanAm Plaza in Indianapolis.
We used to go there every Monday for lessons, and Michael used to walk down to skate during his lunch hours. The rink will be closing soon, so we were glad to have a farewell visit and to build a few more good memories there. We were met by our friend Mark, who we've know for more than 20 years - we've shared lot's of meals, bike rides, memorable conversations, and pink flamingo decorated lawns with him. It was great for all the kids to have some fun with Uncle Mark, and fun for the grown ups to be able to keep up with the kids on the rink.
And for the record, yes I did skate. Can't do turns and jumps like I did 10 years ago (and even ten years ago, they were only little "baby" jumps), but it felt good to be on the ice.
Thinking back over these winter days, its not just the seasons of the year, but the seasons of life that are very evident. Our oldest is a lot closer to the age we were when we first met Mark than we are now.
Then there is our oldest daughter - she's at that age where what's really critical is how you look and how you dress. So she's now very keen on flat ironing her hair. Now I get hair styles - I spent large chunks of time with a curling iron in my early teens - but those who know oldest daughter know that her hair naturally looks like its been flat ironed. No, that's not quite right; it looks like what people who flat iron their hair wish they could achieve but never quite can - perfect, straight, glossy hair. But her classmates flat iron, so she must too. I understand: it is the season.
Part of me misses the season when my oldest son was small enough for me to be helping him on those first struggling steps the ice - much easier to navigate than the steps into adulthood. And I miss when the biggest fashion concerns for the girls were whether to wear sneakers or sparkly Mary Janes. And I'm grateful that youngest daughter is nursing a sprained ankle rather than a broken heart or struggling career.
But part of me is very excited for all of them as they start making their way towards whatever amazing experiences are ahead of them as the approach adulthood at warp speed (at least it seems like "warp speed" to me). And in truth, I'm pretty excited about what's around the next bend for me too. Each season has its blend of the expected and the surprising, and I can't wait to see what the next seasons will hold. But for now, I'm enjoying where I am; enjoying every single minute of it.