The weather today was bright and almost-warm, and the whole day just echoed that sunshine and springtime and freshness.

We had our homeschool morning program. All the kids enthusiastically made Nature Journals, which we took to the park with us. On the way, they had to stop several times to crouch down on the sidewalk and write the names of “signs of spring” in their handmade books. Daffodils. Clover. Forsythia. (Later in the day we saw a duck, and Rio shouted, “that’s the first animal sign of spring we ever saw this year!”)

Morning program evolved into a kind of impromptu party when we were joined by half a dozen friends who happened to be in the neighborhood. We shared a delicious meal of fresh local veggie food, and the adults got to chatter while the kids played joyously for an hour.

Then everyone left, or went to sleep and suddenly Rio and I were alone in a very quiet house. She lay on the couch, wrapped in her favorite blanket. I put our favorite quiet time CD on, a recording of a dear friend playing her harp. I was just sitting down to work on an important writing deadline when Rio said, “Mama, I want you to sit in your rocking chair and knit my sock.”

How could I say no? I sat in the rocker and worked on the sock. The music played. We rested. Every once in awhile, Rio would roll over or sit up and say, “Mama, I love you. I love being with you,” and then snuggled back down in her blanket. Halfway through her “nap” she switched her pillow around on the sofa so her head was nearer to me and the magical sock I am knitting for her.

When the CD ended, Rio said, “I am feeling very healthy and strong and rested now. I want a snack.” She went to make herself a snack and I sat down at my computer. I said, “I need to do some grown-up work now.”

For the next 90 minutes, she left me completely alone, and played quietly by herself while I worked. I finished the course proposal I was writing and submitted it. Moments later, the baby awoke. We all bundled up and went back outside, to explore a new park a few miles away.

We came home in time for dinner, baths and bed. I did a little more writing and then went out to meet with friends for the evening.

I don’t get a lot of days like this, so I want to savor this one. It’s like finding one perfectly ripe strawberry in the midst of a tangled, unkempt gardening mess. It doesn’t make the hard work go away, but it reminds me why I do it.