Welcome, Mamma Crew! Today is Kiddos Tuesdays when I discuss issues related to the kids.
I know that wasn’t the peppiest of introductions. But to tell you the truth, I don’t feel very peppy today. Now it could be because this is the first podcast that I’m recording at six in the morning in order to get some quiet in this tiny little condo, but it’s not. It’s because we celebrated the saddest Easter we have celebrated in the kiddos’ twelve years of life.
It all began when Emmy was concerned about the Easter Bunny. She’s very concerned that the Easter Bunny would not be visiting us at the condo. And I was a little surprised by her concern. She is 12 — almost 13 — but the concern was really genuine. And I laughed initially and I said, “Well, you know it’s gonna be kinda hard for the bunny to be going hopping from house to house this time. We don’t want him spreading the virus!”
And I smiled. But it wasn’t funny to her and I saw that immediately. And so I went to reassure her and tell her the Bunny would find away. Bunny always does. And to tell you the truth, ever since we saw “The Rise of the Guardians,” the movie that has the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, Sandman, Jackfrost, and Tooth Fairy all together, when we think of Bunny, we always think of the Bunny from The Rise of the Guardians. We don’t think of a fluffy little bunny — we think of a warrior Bunny. So I assured her — Bunny would find away.
And this fact, that Bunny had to find a way, was further illustrated when my husband brought in lilies. Now he doesn’t often surprise me with flowers — I typically get flowers on my birthday or on Mother’s Day, I get the most gorgeous roses — and I don’t even like roses but I mean these things are fabulous! And I’ve kind of grown fond of them, I’d look forward to them. If he were not to get them for me one year, I would be highly suspect of his motivations. So when he brought the lilies, I realized that he, too, was feeling that need for Easter and I decided to plan Easter dinner.
Now to be honest with you, I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel the motivation. We attend church on a regular basis, so we’re not just holiday attendees. But when we attend services on Easter Sunday, it’s always a big deal. The girls know to expect beautiful dresses. My son expects to be wearing a suit. My husband will wear a suit. I will wear something really nice. And we will go and celebrate the service and then afterward, we will usually have a really nice lunch. We will go to a restaurant, typically a buffet. And when my in-laws were alive, they would typically join us. My mother did not because she was all the way in California. But my in-laws lived in Ohio and oftentimes made the trek to Michigan — sometimes even to Florida.
But this year, there would be no beautiful dresses; there would be no brunch afterward; there would be no getting together with family. And so, ultimately, Easter shouldn’t be about those things, right? It’s a religious celebration about the rise of our Lord. But that celebration has created family traditions — traditions that we were not able to celebrate this year. The kids didn’t even want to get out of bed. In fact, they didn’t get out of bed until close to eleven. They didn’t care for Easter Sunday breakfast, not that they’ve ever been big on it. But there was no rush to go outside.
And even when I said to them, “The Bunny found you! The Bunny found a way to make it to the condo this Easter!” For the first time ever, instead of eggs, the Bunny brought Easter Sunday baskets. None of the kids rushed to see the baskets. I asked, “What would you like for Easter Sunday brunch?” No interest, whatsoever. Finally, I said, “What about lunch? What about Easter Sunday lunch?” And they decided they wanted Daddy’s hamburgers.
But they still didn’t get out of bed. And my heart just melted a little. And I really wanted to set a different tone. I wanted to say, “Let’s get up! Let’s celebrate!” But I didn’t feel like it either. This has really been the saddest Easter we’ve celebrated with the kids. And, okay, I immediately felt guilt. Because when I went on Facebook, and you know how Facebook can be — it tells us what a wonderful time everybody else is having — of course there were pictures of children who had backyards, who were picking up eggs, or kids wearing beautiful dresses, or people talking about the televised services that they watched. But I couldn’t even broach the subject with my kiddos.
They did get up. We had a wonderful lunch as a family. But nobody expressed any interest in the Easter baskets. Not even Bug, my four-year-old son. There was absolutely no excitement.
I thought of my Mother. My mother used to make me watch when I was a kid, the movie Ben-Hur every Easter. She didn’t always take me to church on Easter Sunday, but she always made me watch that movie. And we would always talk about the miracle that Jesus performs in the movie. And then later, when we saw the movie “The Passion of the Christ” together, that became our Easter Sunday movie. Whether she felt like attending services, whether we attended services together or not, we always watched that movie together. And while it fills you with sadness, as you see an image of our Lord going through the passion, in the end, you rejoice that he is resurrected.
And I considered — I seriously considered — maybe this is the year when we make this our family tradition. We watch The Passion together. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I just couldn’t do it. Again I felt that guilt and I told myself, no time has this been more significant than today. Today when we’re faced with the flu outbreak challenge. When the world we knew is gone and it will be replaced by a new normal. When we have to live in hope that all the tools that we have acquired as human beings will make a difference.
But I didn’t feel any of those things. I didn’t. And I failed. I failed our Lord, I failed our children. I should have been able to grapple with my feelings and make lemonade out of these lemons. For the sake of my kids. For the sake of my family. For the sake of my beliefs. But I just did not. I wanted more for my kids. But yesterday, there wasn’t more. It was just us, acting like a family. An average day, having our meal together, laughing — really laughing!
Instead of watching The Passion, we watched The Phantom of the Opera, in which Andy kept yelling, “This is nothing more than The Beauty and the Beast!” She had a blast! Bug had an absolute blast! He was laughing and squealing the whole time. Emma kept laughing at their goofiness. Daddy really enjoyed it — this was his favorite musical. Dora was in pins and needles! And I really enjoyed the whole thing.
And I was reminded of that picture (such a cliched picture, right?) of Jesus carrying someone on the beach, and the person complaining that during the toughest moments, they only saw one set of footprints — Jesus was not walking by their side. And Jesus said, “That’s because, during the toughest moments, I was carrying you.
And I realized then that it was okay. It was okay. We did okay. We were a family. We were united. And it was okay that this was the saddest Easter on record. Heavenly father understood. And I had to let it go and stop being so hard on myself. I had to let go of the guilt and smile and move on because whether it was the perfect Easter or not, we were still a family, we’re still healthy and we’re still grateful for what we have.
So despite this being the saddest Easter on record, it is also the one in which I understood how blessed I am because I have wonderful children, a wonderful husband, a wonderful family. And things don’t always have to be perfect. Sometimes, it’s just good enough that you’re able to smile; that you’re able to appreciate what you have because what you have is everything.