I Am a Bunny, and was about Nicholas, a bunny who has mastered what folks like Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra call "being present." Nicholas, who lives in a hollow tree, runs down a list of how he spends his time: admiring spring's flowers, summer's frogs, autumn's leaves and winter's falling snowflakes. (I would quote some of it, but sadly our copy was lost to a late-night vomiting incident about a year ago --Little E, not me.)
I read that book to an eight-month-old Big E as her first summer drew to a close and I prepared to return to work and put her in daycare for the first time. At the time, as I huddled with her on the utterly child-incompatible white carpet of our tiny condo, I felt myself on the precipice of a great loss; I'd finally gotten comfortable with being her mother and now I had to complicate the arrangement. Attempting to fortify myself against the deep mourning I sensed ahead, I tried to draw strength from Nicholas, the contented bunny who sees beauty in all seasons.
Six years later and I am no Nicholas. I know that there will be apple picking, sledding and puddle-jumping in the coming seasons, but none of it is a match for bobbing in the waves, lounging in the sand and eating ice cream under a star-dappled sky. The days will shrink, the wind will bite at my skin, and a grey sludge of salty road grime will streak my windshield; it is unavoidable and whatever moments of beauty I find in it will not erase any of the hardships.
Some strategic play will help pass the lesser seasons; apple picking, sledding and puddle jumping can be fun in their way, after all. But what's really going to get me through is the sainted memory of the Summer of 2010: mornings parked in beach chairs, watching the girls jump and twirl at the ocean's edge; adventurous vacations; hours on the shady bench at the playground by the river; broken bedtimes and ice cream with sprinkles. Summer 2010 was bliss bathed in sunshine and the memory of its blue-skied days will be both solace and hope when the crusty gray ice of February imprisons us all.
In just nine months 2010's descendant will be upon us; Summer 2011 has big shoes to fill.