A Peace of Spring

By Esther C. Baird/Tri-Town Transcript columnist
First Published in the Tri-Town Transcript May 30, 2014

Well, it’s spring in the Tri-Towns. I thought for a while that our spring had broken, but there are blossoms on the trees, flip-flops on feet, and ticks on Blue Ears. Whew! We made it.

With all this springtime sparkle, we were able to throw a birthday party for our eldest daughter with actual outdoor activities. Regular Readers may recall that she has a summer birthday, which resulted in an early ear-piercing surprise a few columns back. This past weekend, she had friends over to celebrate before they all scattered in mid-June.

But like spring itself, the road to this sunny party day had more potholes than we expected.

They came in the form of not one, but two, 911 calls. Before you scour the police logs, you should know that both incidents were resolved and ended well. But both times there was a high level of initial stress. In one case we were dealing with a suspicious stranger, and in the other we had an early morning swoon that resulted in an ambulance ride.

As a mother, I claim the right to be instantly angry or scared or generally high strung if I feel my children are threatened or have been injured. And both times the first responders and Boxford officers validated my [possibly super extreme] motherly reactions while also managing to diffuse the tension. They are fantastic at their job: they are patient, they are calm, they are kind and they are professional down to the smallest detail. So we entered the birthday party weekend with jangled nerves, but peaceful hearts – – our girls were fine, our home was safe, and the sun was shining.

You know what can derail peace in mere moments? Thirteen girls in your house having a spa party.

We decorated the house with various spa activities in soothing colors. I even had peaceful spa music playing in the background. But ten-year-old girls are a force unto themselves and no amount of pan flute music can drown out the jibber jabber and giggling, let alone the word-by-mind-numbing-word Frozen sing-alongs. Their exuberance could power the Tri-Towns for a day. It was wonderful.

They soaked their feet, painted toes, mashed up bananas and avocados with honey to make masks and lay mostly still while the facials dried. They ate party food and sat attentively while my daughter opened presents, (except when they broke into a spontaneous dance party).

But the best part was the sunshine. When all the spa treatments were done, when all the wrapping paper had been flung aside, when all the charming young girl niceties had been exchanged, we opened the doors and sent them running. Pedicures were ruined and facials were instantly sweat through. There were girls on bikes, girls up trees, girls doing cartwheels and girls playing ball. Some got grass stains, one got hit in the face with a jump rope, and I’m sure one or two picked up ticks. They ate pizza and cupcakes and drank lemonade and Fanta and no one told them to be careful about their sugar intake.

Sure, it was fun being girly and pampered there on the brink of pre-teen land. But, it was more magical to see that they still naturally understood that beauty on the outside should never force beauty on the inside to sit still and stay pretty.

It’s been a long, long, long winter. And at Casa Baird it’s been a somewhat challenging month. There are bumps in the road, there are piles of snow you thought would never melt, there are emergencies that leave you breathless. But in the end, spring ultimately comes, kids can play outside with nothing more than a tree and a ball, and sometimes . . . it all converges and Mommy’s can sit in a sunbeam and feel at peace.