Never before has the world been joined together in such a similar predicament. Across countries, borders, cities and towns, people are living behind closed doors. Offices are closed, schools are shut and no, it is not summer vacation. It is a pandemic.
As the mom of a three year old, I try every day to show him the good in what is happening. I don’t want him to get bogged down by all the “What-I-can’t-do’s” and so together, we try to focus on all the “What-I-can-still-do’s!”
So here is a list of ways in which my preschooler and I are embracing the spring and upping the positive vibes in our home.
I don’t actually mean that you order in boxes of paint and re-do a wall, but if you can do that, why not? In our home, we have found simpler ways to embrace the spring. We have cleaned and put away the cozy grey rugs and carpets. Uncovered and clean floors give the feeling of so much more space and openness.
We have changed the bed-sheets and linen across the house to pastel pinks and greens. We have re-arranged our flower vases and moved up our décor to different spots so they get noticed again. We changed the table mats and on some windows, even the curtains. You could buy new ones through online delivery or just pull out those spares that you had put away.
Walk around your home and ask yourself, what can you change up a bit to give it a fresh feel? Pull out that cute cloth bag from last summer and hang it up to place odds and ends. Replace the grays and blacks with colourful and flowery substitutes from within your own closets.
This is the perfect time to start enjoying the outdoors. We have started moving our indoor plants to our porch and deck. We pulled out our wind chime and hung it up near the kitchen window. We cleaned out the backyard and placed our garden table and chairs out in the open.
My son was delighted when we cleaned out his splash pad and filled it up with clean water. We also unearthed his garden toys and gave them a good cleaning, an activity he took to with an old toothbrush, a bucket full of soapy water and much enthusiasm.
In the weeks to come, we will mow the lawn, get a new canopy for our deck for sunnier days and set out some fresh summer plants at the entrance of our house.
For me personally, the most poignant moment of a seasonal change is when I swap my clothes. Not only do I find the rediscovery of my own clothes so exciting, it is an ideal opportunity to clean out and freshen up my wardrobe.
I start by meticulously pulling out the heavy winter wear from the three wardrobes in the house (my husband’s, my son’s and mine). These head for a cleansing wash with a gentle soap. I make sure to leave some light woollens in the closets, because spring often has some unexpectedly cool days. By this time, the wardrobes start looking considerably less stuffed.
This is the ideal time to ask myself the tough question, “Which of these clothes did I not wear the entire season?” There are always a handful of clothes that I know I did not wear and hence, will not wear next season either. It is best to pass these on to a donation drive or thrift store. And then of course, there is a box full of clothes that my son will not fit into next year. Those have to go as well.
And now comes the best part- rediscovering our summer clothes from last season. Those gorgeous dresses, comfortable shorts, cute tops… I can’t wait to start wearing them!
Not everything we are doing is a chore! My son and I have been making spring and summer crafts to embrace the beautiful weather ahead of us.
We used a disposable plate and paper stripes to make a shining sun that hangs from our wall. We put together a bright and colourful butterfly collage to celebrate the arrival of these beautiful creatures. We made a pen-stand with an old plastic glass and decorated it to look like a rabbit!
We also go for walks and collect pine cones, leaves and rocks to make fun sensory boxes for my little one to play in. This is the best time to give him a lesson in nature and also show him the possibilities that arise when one recycles and reuses things at home.
Last, but not the least, we welcomed the warm weather into our kitchen. Moving away from baking cakes, which are a winter staple in our home, my son and I made some fun jell-o! We ordered a box of ice-cream in our grocery pick-up and indulge in a scoop every now and then.
Among healthier options, I make a strawberry-banana milkshake or a spinach-pineapple smoothie for all of us. Hot tea has been replaced by home-made iced tea, sweetened with honey. My son adores his lemonade. Sizzling soups are passé, we are enjoying cold salads with fresh lettuce, chilled corn and cool cucumbers.
These are little ways in which you can break the boredom of being indoors for such extended periods of time. These little projects of re-doing, re-decorating and re-stacking also help me spend quality time with my son. I build in little lessons into these chores for him- we learn to sort clothes by colour, we stack books by size, we add and subtract while measuring out recipes and very importantly, together we learn the importance of cleaning up and giving away.
Spring is a weather that heralds big change. It is a time of flowers, fruits and good weather. Open your heart and welcome the change into your lives. Alter things around you, try a new hairstyle, do something new, break the monotony, take up a new hobby, spend more time outdoors.
Yes, there is much we cannot do. But just imagine the things we still can!
What are you doing this spring?
Piyushi Dhir is the author of 'In Search of Love', 'I'm Yours, The Next Time', 'Silent Promises' and 'Enmeshed Evermore'. She is a contributor in 'Nineteen Tales of COVID-19', a collection of short stories. A voracious reader, a keen traveler, a businesswoman and a mom, Piyushi currently resides in Canada. A nomad at heart, she loves to discover new places and capture the hues of life with her pen.