The birds are back, and we couldn’t be more glad. We’ve been closed up with the same air since November and now, finally, but surprisingly without warning, Wisconsin has given us our first taste of spring. The days have lengthened and the birds sing throughout most of it for joy at the 50 degree weather, and Ellie runs back and forth across the back patio shouting “TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET!” communicating with the birds and singing their song of spring with them.

Yesterday, I watched her lay down on the deck in a pool of sunshine, and if I didn’t already know that she was MY daughter, that closed the case for me. But she doesn’t just belong to me; I see Gamama in her as well. In her love of birds especially.

The anniversary of Gamama’s passing was February 20th, and I tried, but I couldn’t make the words come out right. It was too cold still. Too blah with the dirty snow and the -25 windchill, that I hadn’t thawed enough to get the words out. But now as Wisconsin is thawing, as the constant drip of melted snow from the roof reminds me, now perhaps I am thawing too. Watching a baby play in the sunshine will do that to you.

Spring doesn’t just mean spring for me either; spring this year means beginning preparations for moving back to Colorado. It means looking forward to being in the company of so many friends and family again. It means packing up and leaving this place behind; which of course is going to be a little bittersweet. My baby took her first steps here. She ate her birthday cake here. She learned to talk here. She grew from a 7 month old baby into a proud independent little girl here. (I just can’t stop calling her baby because…you know 😉 )

There’s something else about this year. Gamama knew; she knew that we were anxious about moving away from everything and everyone we loved to come to Wisconsin for a year, and the last time I ever spoke with her she said to me, “I’ll be praying for you both this year. A year will pass by quickly in the arms of God.” And she began to cry.

Her words were so full of meaning, she had prayed us through this year before she passed away, and she knew that though she too felt like she would be missing us, that a year would pass by quickly for her too. That she would see us through from heaven, that her eyes would shine with pride when she saw us come out on the other side, stronger and braver than we had been before. As we come to the end of this year in Wisconsin in May, and as we celebrated a year of Gamama being with Jesus in February, I keep reflecting back on those words. And truthfully, this year has seemed to go by quickly for me too now that we are at the tail end of it.

And it is now that I feel her presence all the more, joyfully cheering me on; watching Ellie enjoy the sunshine and the birds. And I know that even though her earthly prayers  might only have carried us through this year in Wisconsin, she will never stop cheering for us, until the day when we see her face to face again.

Then we will awake as from a deep winter’s sleep. And as we step into the light, we will thaw.

Milwaukee is thawing (a picture from my Instagram that I couldn’t get to post.)

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