These are the seasons that raised us

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me

A picture of the cotton candy sunsets of fall, our imaginations running wild.

We were once but flower buds—the kind that peak out shyly during the spring equinox and bring with them an assurance of sunshine. You were ungrown lavender—I a simple sunflower—and together our growing-up times dwindled by. 

The seasons all acted as a modge-podge quilt of creativity. Fall meant Art Prize, the Blue Bridge, and endless exploration. Oranges and yellows permeated across tree-top canvases, us amazed by their beauty. Weekends were filled with late nights and Monster High Dolls—Draculaura and Frankie nearly always being 17. 

Wintertime meant sledding and hot cocoa, sleepovers and pillow paintings. The lavender in the bag that dangled from your headboard took on a cold and reflective appearance with the scent still reminiscent of springtime. With no grass to cushion our trampling toes and no leaves to grasp our gaze, the world was made just a bit brighter by our endless imagination.

Then came March—the month of four-leaf clovers, fairies, and birthday celebrations. With this came a tidal introduction to spring, the months in which our flower sprouts began shooting up again. 

After the bursts of springtime came to fruition, it was only a matter of time before summer welcomed us with open arms. For all the words I so helplessly cling to, none of them can personify the freedom of summers spent by your side. This is around the time each cycle that I blew out the candles on top of my too-tall cake. 

You were ungrown lavenderI a simple sunflowerand together our growing-up times dwindled by. ”

Green of grass and blue of sky locked us, for three months, in a sphere of complete actualization. Fancy and fascination held us, curiosity rocking us softly to sleep each night. 

We would sit up in your pink and zebra-print room, fantasizing the way only we could about the wonders of growing up. When we make it 17, what will it look like? What will it feel like?

Nowadays, the seasons that once so effortlessly encapsulated us all meld together. Fall came with masked trips downtown to get coffee and roam around, winter with antique stores and the moon.

It was almost a year ago that a pandemic suddenly canceled our plans to blow out your candles. Today, we spent the occasion in a socially distanced classroom, you holding a cake you’d barely be able to taste and are disallowed to wish upon.

And while Lynlee’s lopsided Michael Cera creation and the birthday song we sang to you were both nearly enough, I cannot help but feel like 17 should have meant more. 

We are the age that our Monster High dolls were—the age we once dreamed of reaching. We are fully-grown, our roots solidly stabilized in the ever-quaking ground. There is an overflowing of lavender and a bountiful stock of sunflowers. Our stems still waver together in the breeze, the sunset behind us a palace for the imagination. 

Nevertheless, I find myself grappling at straws for the answer to a simple question: when did growing up together start to mean we actually have to grow up?