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The Particular Sadness of a Long Winter with Baby

Yesterday, I wore flip-flops for the first time in months. Today, I drove with the car windows down, my elbow peeking out into the sun. Over the weekend, I packed away Em's snowsuit, shoving it into a plastic storage bin with a feeling much like triumph.

Suddenly, I feel like spinning around in a field with my arms spread wide like Maria in "The Sound of Music."

Winter was a long slog. New snow every week. Skies gray like brushed steel. Hours that trudged slowly by between the time my husband left for New York in the morning and arrived back home 7:30 at night. Because I had bought Em a snowsuit with no legs (it was more like a wearable sleeping bag), it was a pain to take her out on errands because I couldn't easily plop her into the wearable carrier. So we just didn't go anywhere. Ever.

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"You don't even like going to the supermarket," my husband said to me when I complained about this the other day. "I would have killed to go to the supermarket," I told him. "I was even jealous of your commute."

Instead, Em and I stared glumly out the windows, missing our mommy and me yoga classes and our regular trips to Foodtown. Em rolled around on her play mat or bounced around in her Jumperoo while I spent hours planted before the lackluster glow of my laptop screen. I felt guilty that she had no one but me and the cats for company. I worried she wasn't getting enough fresh air.

During the winter, the months were long and her milestones happened quietly, almost without fanfare.

During these months, there was also the awareness that the last time I'd spent a span of my life housebound for days at a time, back when I first started freelancing full-time, I'd succumbed to the insistent tug of my chronic depression. Back then, I'd relied upon my husband as my sole source of social interaction, waiting with bated breath for him to come home every night, disappointed and resentful when he made other plans. I eventually realized it was too much pressure to expect him to be my everything.

So these past five months, as we spent day after day shuffling between bedroom and living room and kitchen and home office, I was acutely aware that hibernating for the winter wasn't exactly good for either of us. But inertia had us trapped. We could only wait.

But then other day, the sun was out. I went out to a yoga class wearing boots and I came back sweating. So my husband and I zipped Em into a hoodie and we drove to a nearby park and we put her into her stroller and we walked around the lake. We rolled on into one of the playgrounds and let her sit on its springy terrain where she clapped happily to herself as other kids zipped back and forth around us. We put her into one of the baby swings, even though I was afraid she was too little, but then she laughed and her hair blew around in the breeze and I almost burst into happy tears.

RELATED: 5 Inexpensive Spring Activities For the Family

Before the winter, she could not sit in her stroller without the car seat attachment.

Before the winter, she could not sit up on her own for large swaths of time.

Before the winter, she was not babbling and clapping and laughing. She was not standing with support or bouncing in my arms.

During the winter, the months were long and her milestones happened quietly, almost without fanfare.

But now it is spring, and we are both blossoming.

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