Babies and Babushkas
Spring is here. Finally.
It has become very clear to me in the past few days, as I saw a phenomenon I had not seen in many months – women with babies and small children. For a while, I was worried, and was asking my friends here whether there are any women in Kirovograd who have small children, who are pregnant, or both, because I was simply not seeing any. Ever. I was actually worried – I mean, I thought no wonder Ukraine’s population is declining, I never see women who are pregnant or women who have small children.
Well, lately they’ve come out. In force. In the past few days, I have seen women with strollers EVERYWHERE. It is amazing how the weather hits a certain temperature, and the hemlines go up, up, up (to the point of being nonexistent), the see-through shirts come out, and the strollers hit the pavement.
I have to admit, I found it heartening to see, and have witnessed the little kids with a great deal of relief. I asked my friend today (she is Ukrainian) why I did not see the children all winter, why their mothers kept them inside, and she said that their mothers are afraid for them, that they will get sick. Well…yeah, of course. Kids are walking Petri dishes – they are supposed to get sick – that is how they build up an immune system to be a healthy adult. And it is not unhealthy for kids to be outside in cold weather – I grew up doing it (much as I hated as cold as it got where I lived) and you see children all the time in the U.S. (and other countries) playing in the snow, sledding, skiing, skating, etc. Ah well. Ukraine.
The other thing that indicates to me that Spring is really here is the fact that the amount of babushkas sitting outside their buildings has increased drastically. Somehow, it just feels more like Ukraine, and more like Spring, now that these ladies are sitting sentry outside their buildings, chatting amongst themselves, and often have a cat sitting next to them.
The third indicator of Spring is the little buds I see on the trees, and the hopeful blooms pushing out of the ground. Currently they consist of green shoots, but I hope, in two weeks, to see the first tulips arrive.
I have to admit, because of the recent upturn in the weather, I got a bit of Spring Fever, and played hooky today. I was informed that not only one, but both, of my guest lectures was cancelled today, which left me with some time, which I took for a long walk. I gotta get back into shape and lose some of this winter weight…and it is SO nice to be outside, but not be in a hurry to be back INSIDE.
So today was a good day. One year feels pretty good so far.