Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Commentary and Collages

Easter 2014 was a marathon of egg hunts, driving, and overeating. What should have been a joyous holiday celebrating the Resurrection of the Lord turned into a chain of stressful to do lists. Nothing was necessarily bad, I just didn't have my usual feelings that my heart would burst with enthusiasm and love for Christ.

Here's why Holy Week was a bit off this year:
Thursday-Maundy Thursday is my absolute favorite church service of the year. Every year I find myself in tears during the stripping of the alter.  Departing in silence provokes such powerful emotions and helps prepare my mind for the awe of Easter weekend. (If I can find a service that incorporates washing of the feet, it's even better!) Instead of attending the beloved service this year, I celebrated my niece turning eleven with a family birthday party. Again, this was a fun occasion that I would always choose over church, but it still left me missing Maundy Thursday.

Friday-I woke up in the wee hours of Good Friday to Maddie vomiting in her sleep, then Jackson throwing up later that evening. I'm not entirely sure either were virus related as they were completely isolated, one-time occurrences. Even still, their vomiting sent me into a state of total paranoia, which caused Jesse to get frustrated and angry at me. I was happy to escape to the Good Friday service, though the stations of the cross/drama was changed because of pouring rain.

Saturday-Despite a good morning, the day ended poorly.

  • Our huge egg hunt with my extended family was cancelled due to heavy rain. I'm not sure if the kids or adults were more disappointed.
  • Even though the year anniversary has already passed, it was a few days shy of Easter last year when my sister-in-law died. Apparently Easter is now a reminder of her absence. A literal and figurative cloud hung over us all day.
  • I spent most of Lent in prayer and reflection trying to admit my shortcomings and accept others offers for help.  Ironically, I found myself stubbornly alone and completely stressed out while Jesse and his mother went to dinner and a concert. The event had been planned for quite some time and they both deserved a chance to enjoy such a fun evening. Still, I turned into quite the curmudgeon as one thing after another went wrong throughout the day.  I still had the sole responsibility of baking cakes, stuffing eggs, assembling Easter baskets, cleaning the house, washing clothes, etc.  I ended the season of Lent the exact same way I began...completely overwhelmed and ungrateful. So much for personal transformation.
Sunday-Easter itself was as busy and fun as always, but I can no longer pretend like it doesn't bother me that Jesse and I have different beliefs. Once again, I attended church sans Jesse.  I fear religion will divide our family, when it was once an issue that united us.
Thankfully, amidst my many less than wonderful feelings, there were plenty of smiles to be shared.  We enjoyed visiting family, overindulging in food, dressing the babies up, etc. I'm confident that the children felt happy and loved, which is my priority. The highlights included: indoor Easter egg hunt, coloring, story time, and snacks at our brother and sister in-laws' church on Saturday. Jackson got to hang out with his cousin/best bud, Levi. The babies were loved on by their aunt and uncle. Everyone got to play with eggs and have fun.

...Easter morning egg hunt and opening of Easter gifts. The babies each received a new outfit, small bath toy, squeezable fruit pouch, bag of yogurt melts, and pacifier. Jackson received a chocolate bunny, slap bracelet, farm animal figurines, candy bracelets, and Candy Land game.  Even though Jackson just turned three, this is his fourth Easter. Jesse and I decided three is the perfect age for simple egg hunts. egg hunt, story, crafts, and service. This was no different than the usual church sponsored egg hunt, but it was fun for the kids to be surrounded by their church family. I also appreciated the fact that the eggs were stuffed with bracelets, stickers, beads, and small crafts. The ground was very wet so Jackson wore his rainboots. He was very serious about hunting for eggs!

...Easter lunch with my side of the family. In lieu of the traditional meal, we had a cookout this year. The weather warmed up considerably which allowed us to have yet another egg hunt. Additional entertainment included a play performed by my adorably talented nieces. I say it all the time, but my kids are beyond blessed to have such incredible aunts, uncles, and cousins.

...Easter dinner with Jesse's side of the family. My phone died and I didn't think to bring a charger, so I don't have any pictures. We had a more traditional meal (pork, mac-n-cheese, potatoes, rolls, green beans). I provided some unattractive, but tasty desserts. All four kids received ample attention, in addition to a stuffed animal and sweets (courtesy of their MiMi).

After being on the road for ten hours, we were all ready to head home and go to bed.

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