As February half term draws to a close so does the comfort of winter, we’ve had a fun week off school but through the rain and snow showers the bright days of spring are starting to appear. Daffodils and tulips are starting to push their way up as the days are slowly getting longer, and the UV levels higher.
I find this time of year one of the hardest, with each passing day we lose minutes of precious darkness to longer evenings and brighter mornings. Already Livvy is no longer able to collect the milk bottles in the morning by our front door without protection. During the winter she would open the door and feel the cold winter breeze on her face as she closed her eyes and turned her head towards the dark morning sky, taking a second to embrace the feeling on her bare skin.
During the winter months we are able to leave all protection at home when we go to swimming and karate lessons. However the Spring sun is creeping up on us and Livvy has already started having to wear protection to get to her clubs. We are still, only just, safe after and Livvy can walk to the car feeling the evening air on her skin, but with each passing week I can feel it getting lighter and it’s only a matter of time that protection will be needed before and after her clubs.
Yesterday we headed to the beach, although it was cold the bright winter sun shone down on us. We always seem to arrive as most people are leaving, we really do live in an upside down world. We had fish and chips and took a walk along the beach whilst waiting for the UV to drop to zero on our meter. We splashed, we dug and we skimmed pebbles. As the sun started to set behind the promenade and the bright glow of the moon began to shine, I turned to Livvy and asked her what she thought the reading on the UV meter was, knowing she would be excited at how close to safe we were.
She looked up at the sky and replied ‘three?’, Phil and I laughed as she had got it spot on! It may have only been a guess but knowing the UV level is such an important part of her world that it almost has become instinctive to her.
Soon her mask was off, as were her gloves and the freedom of the night began. Everyone else had gone home, the whole beach was ours to enjoy with the moon shining down on us. When Livvy is free of her protection she comes alive, she appears happier and her voice is stronger and confident. It maybe just the barrier that her mask gives her that makes her voice weaker, wether it is the physical barrier of her mask or just the joy of freedom it still fills my heart with love for her every time I see the happiness that freedom brings to her.
It feels like a long wait until winter returns, the restrictions that the summer months bring are getting closer. The feeling is overwhelming at times, but we will keep pushing our days further so that we can have more memorable days like yesterday, where Livvy can feel the sand on her hands and the cold salt water on her toes.
As we say goodbye to our trusted friend, winter, we welcome spring with an uncertainty, however uncertain it may feel we know that our friend will return, as we ride out the summer months we will be here waiting for winter as we say hello to springtime.