Easter this year was well ….interesting. The direction of my life the past few years just doesn’t quite lend itself to the kind of Easter I used to have. The kind of Easter filled with family meal traditions, reflective church services, feasting and relaxing around the Easter Sunday table is no longer an option for me and there are two main reasons for that.
One, because I can no longer make it to my family’s Easter states away where all the traditions I grew up with still take place. In fact, I have not been out there for Easter since I had children but my heart still aches a little every year as I remember what I’m missing. Everything from lamb cake and hot cross buns, to scavenger hunting for Easter baskets and attending the beautiful four hour long Easter vigil with a midnight Resurrection Party afterwards.
The second reason that Easters are different now is because I have children. Somehow, having two children who drain your energy and want to “help” with everything and who constantly do the unexpected, makes for a very memorable Easter weekend experience. Perhaps because this was the first year of having two able bodied children instead of a toddler and a baby or because my husband was busy most of the weekend remodeling our bathroom or because Easter is filled with activities not designed for energetic youngsters, Easter this year reached a whole new level of adventure.
On good Friday, I tried really hard to do appropriate activities, we had a little egg hunt with friends, we went to the Stations of the Cross at our church at 3 pm and we dyed Easter Eggs. The egg hunt went off relatively well and it was fun to see my two year old discover the joy of plucking colorful plastic eggs from the grass while my three year old skipped about the yard with curls and feet flying exuberantly. But note to self, never attempt to take children to church directly after high levels of sugar consumption.
That afternoon, the Stations of the Cross were less than prayerful. I took the girls into the cry room to prevent them from being too boisterous within earshot of the other participants. They spent the entire time flinging prayer cards across the room, climbing on the pews and running in circles, shouting and chasing each other. Gone are the days when I can sit and meditate and kneel quietly for just a few minutes on good Friday. Hello motherhood sacrifice.
After that, we went home and dyed eggs. In other words, both girls spent en enjoyable hour dropping heavy eggs into jars of colored water and splattering that water all over themselves and the table. We even had one jar tip over and spill its contents all over the floor (there are still traces of purple stain in the carpet). My two year old, who last year sat quietly in her highchair out of arm’s reach of the table, was elbow deep in dye this year and she realized the immense joy of crushing the shells right into the hard boiled eggs! Even though we had all the color options and they used all of the options multiple times, all of the eggs somehow turned shades of pink or purple. Which I suppose is actually quite fitting in a house of females and the eggs made a delicious egg salad the week after.
Besides that egg salad, I made zero traditional Easter food. Zero. I was planning to at least make homemade Hot Cross buns for Good Friday and Holy Saturday but I was missing a few key ingredients. I could NOT conjure up enough energy to go to the store and then dive into a two hour long project. So I didn’t.
Perhaps my energy was drained because I had already used up all my extra spunk to shop, create and clean up crafts with the kids. We seem to have focused this year for the first time on making an overabundance of Easter crafts appropriate for a three year old and a two year old. Some of them we sent off to cheer up the elderly people, some we folded into envelops to mail off to family and some we hung about our house for homemade Easter flair.
On Saturday morning, because my husband was tied up mudding and sanding the bathroom walls, I took the girls to the Children’s Museum which was another odd activity for Easter weekend. Usually Holy Saturday is spent prepping food, putting together Easter baskets and decorating for Easter Sunday, but we spent it painting our faces, crawling through tunnels and flying in pretend spaceships at the museum. My three year old, Heather discovered her new, favorite, life-sized, stuffed dog which she carried around the museum for a good half hour. My two year old, Stella, went “grocery shopping” in the pretend store and she first filled a kid-sized grocery basket with jugs of milk and the next basket with chunks of cheese. Yes, this is my dairy loving child in both real life and imaginative life, apparently!
After the museum, we came home and actually did some Easter prep, including putting up a few flowering and cross shaped decorations and making a construction paper egg garland to hang on the wall. At this point, my hope for fancy traditional food was completely gone and I resolved to make hot cross buns another day, which for the record, I still haven’t made.
Easter Sunday, things were finally looking to be somewhat “normal”. The girls were of course thrilled with their Easter baskets in the morning and ate way too much candy all at once. They looked adorably sweet in their Easter dresses and they actually behaved really well for church. We visited relatives afterwards and I have no complaints there except that I almost missed Easter dinner due to chasing children around the farm yard. I hurriedly ate my room temperature ham and potatoes while the rest of the family finished dessert. Everyone had a great time visiting and watching the children run about the grassy yard, hunting for Easter eggs. We also failed to get a nice family picture in our Easter attire, but that’s bound to happen every other year or so, right? That’s an especially hard pill to swallow for a scrapbook fanatic, detail recorder like me, but I’m learning how to not be so concerned about the little things.
Because really what matters is not how much an event or a holiday failed your expectations, but whether you made memories worth remembering and if your children had fun.
Mine certainly did.
I hope other parents were able to have a normal, relaxing, traditional Easter celebration but if by chance there is anyone out there like me, who just had a very different, nontraditional, somewhat stressful, kind of Easter, then pull up a chair and swap stories with me. Someday we will sit back and laugh about doing Easter with small children and be impressed at our own sense of accomplishment in surviving that time of parenthood.
In the meantime, I will continue living the dream, watching my children shatter hard boiled eggs in their chubby hands, stuff their faces with Easter chocolates, and frolic in the sunshine in their lacy dresses and leather boots, while following beloved dogs around on the farm.