The older I get, the more I think spring might just be the new season of choice for me. I don’t know what it is, but every March or April I feel a sort of magical energy settle in around me. When you’re younger, summers are endless and care free – the days last forever and, when you hit a certain age, sometimes the nights do too.
But as I settle into middle age, all it seems to take is the earliest promise of lighter nights and the first sighting of a few green shoots to give this girl a boost. It’s a funny one really because, as the month in which we very suddenly and traumatically lost my dad, I reckon I could justifiably decide to opt out of April altogether if I really wanted to.
But somehow, every springtime since the day that changed my life forever seems to have brought with it the promise of new beginnings in all kinds of ways. My husband and I viewed the first house we ever bought together almost three years to the day my dad passed away, married in spring the following year (13 years ago yesterday, as it goes!), and finally got to welcome our first child after four long years of trying in the spring of 2015.
And this year, the ‘Queen of the Seasons’ has been about learning to embrace a new life too, in many ways, as the season of school (and library) visits seems to finally be upon us.
In the past few weeks I’ve got to meet some amazing staff and children at schools and libraries in Caerphilly County and Powys and to be honest, it’s made me feel like a new me!
One of the most special visits happened this week, when I visited Ysgol Penmaes in Brecon, Powys to read my books, sing some songs and talk to the pupils there about recognising and dealing with ‘big feelings’.
I was nervous because, after all, as someone who dedicated the majority of her career to supporting students with additional learning needs, of all the times I could have done with Mum’s help, this was it. And it would be on home turf – lots of faces to recognise, and maybe a few who would recognise me. I needn’t have lost so much sleep over it, of course. They were all brilliantly welcoming, wonderfully enthusiastic about what I was doing, and at the beginning of the third group session of a series I was delivering that day, I was greeted warmly by a former colleague of Mum’s too.
It was so lovely to be able to remember her together, and feel her presence perhaps more justifiably so than I had already as I drove across the Beacons that morning. I left there at the end of a full-day session feeling more alive than I had in a long time – and I’m having a great time bringing Ivy to life in the presence of young lives, at a time when new life continues to spring forth everywhere.