Matt Knutson: Take time to indulge in the season of growth

Published 8:20 pm Thursday, April 26, 2018

Things I Tell My Wife by Matt Knutson


“I never knew our neighborhood had so many people,” I told my wife as we enjoyed an evening walk with our girls. With the weather finally seasonably appropriate, it seems as if everyone is finding an excuse to get outdoors. A vibrant sense of community has suddenly appeared, and the neighborhood is alive with children laughing, leashed dogs pulling their owners and bunny rabbits staking out yet-to-be-planted gardens. One day I hope to capture the phenomena that is the first real week of spring — it’d be a great place to live year-round.

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This time of year is the second chance we’ve all been anxiously awaiting. The grass is revitalized, the sky is blue and buds are beginning to bloom on the trees. If there were ever a natural time to begin, spring seems the most appropriate. The evolving season has brought about a renewed commitment to health in our household, and I’m hopeful it will stay longer than the blooming flowers on the tree in our front yard.

I’ve written about running a bit in the past, but this winter season took a turn for the worst. When Maeva was born in late October, the chaotic joy that comes with a newborn took just about all of our free time away. Winter took over the sidewalks and the treadmill downstairs collected dust. Just about the only running that I’ve done in the past few months has been at the request of my oldest daughter, who thoroughly enjoys me chasing her around the kitchen. Just about every day she’ll request that we do a few laps, arms raised above her head and youthfully shouting, “Woo hoo!” as we go. It is certainly enjoyable, but nothing near the 5K runs I’d typically be doing throughout summer.

Thankfully, I’ve been able to begin again. That first run is never good, and the second is hardly better, but after the first five minutes of going around the neighborhood, a sense of accomplishment sets in. I’m actively doing something to better myself, and while it sucks sometimes, it is also incredibly fulfilling. When you’re a father of two little girls, just about your entire life exists to serve them. Taking 30 minutes (OK, 40 minutes on a slow day) to run is a great escape from the normal routine. And it’s an escape that can involve the girls riding in the stroller. Once they’re strapped in there, they don’t really mind staying silent as long as there is a bottle nearby and the anticipation of seeing a puppy around every corner. I can’t handle everything, but I can handle that.

In addition to full-on running, we’re walking a lot more as a family. Sera convinced me that we needed a double stroller, so we looked and waited for the right time to get one. Our original Black Friday plan was put on hold when I figured we wouldn’t need a stroller during the winter months. Now that spring has sprung, I was fearful about just how much of an investment these new wheels would cost us. It turns out, Toys R Us’ loss is our gain. As much as spring is about beginnings, the toy retailer is experiencing an ending — one that caused a great deal on the particular stroller we had our eye on.

Now, I’ve never pushed a tank before, but I’m pretty sure the same phenomena occurs when you’re pushing a double stroller up the biggest hill in our neighborhood. In the midst of pushing something that seems overwhelming and far too heavy, you begin to wonder why you got a tank in the first place. But having the whole family together suddenly makes it feel like this endeavor is worth it. And that’s what the season of spring makes possible. New beginnings, a fresh start and the opportunity for positive change to take root. Don’t be the only thing not coming to life this spring — indulge in the season of growth and you won’t regret it.

Matt Knutson is a communications specialist in Rochester.