For months, I’ve been pinning carrot cake recipes on Pinterest. And gourmet side dishes for the Easter lunch we’d host for friends, and darling little girl Easter dresses and little-man vests for my three year old lady-killer. Oh, and I really wanted to make hot cross buns.
I was going to rock Easter this year.
I am not normally so domestically inclined, but the cold monotony of winter almost broke me and I needed to focus on something like the happy spring sunshine and the new life of Easter. Oh, and there’s that unnerving goal of making this year the year that I finally got this motherhood/wife thing together.
Well, I hate to ruin the suspense. But Easter was a serious fail.
You know, it’s not until you become a mom that you look back at your own childhood and marvel at the superhuman feats that your own mother managed to accomplish. My mom and dad had five kids. FIVE. On Easter, Mom would dress us all in matching or coordinating new outfits that she had either sewn herself or taken the time to shop for. She would then arrange us in perfect formation in the backyard for our annual Easter picture after completing our (real, dyed) Easter egg hunt which included personalized Easter baskets. All this before arriving at church at 9am with holy smiles on our faces and attitudes to match (okay, that part is a total lie). Oh, and she would have a ham cooking in the oven with all the sides, including homemade bread, already prepared when we got home from church. AND she’d entertain on top of that – inviting another family over from church that my parents had been wanting to get to know better.
Fast forward to 2017 at my house. You know what we had for Easter lunch? Hard boiled (Easter) eggs and cheese and pretzels with a side of tomato slices (cut on a bias to look fancy of course – I’m not an animal!).
As it turns out, this year I was asked to be a guest vocalist at a church other than our own on Easter and so… well that’s pretty much what we did for Easter (I did have the kids come sing with me on one song). The week preceding Easter, my brain was consumed with rehearsing, learning the guitar parts and arriving at church early for a sound check and that’s pretty much as far as I got and my husband – well, husbands aren’t so much about the details, are they?
So I did not buy my children or myself new clothes. In fact, they wore second hand clothes. I did not buy little gifts for their Easter baskets – not even Easter candy, even though those peanut butter eggs are pretty much the best candy ever invented. I figured I’d just throw some of their leftover Halloween candy in the baskets. (What? Doesn’t everyone allow their kids one piece of Halloween candy and then put the rest away to parse out slowly over the next year?)
But sadly, even the Easter baskets didn’t happen. My kids’ Easter egg hunt consisted of a community egg hunt where someone else did all the work. My kids’ own Easter baskets sat unfilled and unhidden.
Now, I did attempt a nice Easter lunch, despite not inviting company. I bought a chicken to cook in the crock pot and made potato salad. Naturally though, when we got home from church, the chicken was not cooked (I curse you, crockpot!), the house was a wreck, and the kids were wondering if the Easter Bunny had come yet (not so much).
But these things are all just fanciful traditions, right? They’re not what Easter is really all about. Yeah, about that…. Growing up non-denominationally I had never celebrated Lent, but my Catholic friend gave me this beautiful Lent idea that seemed so meaningful. You have the kids systematically “earn” colored jelly beans for every act of kindness or service to others. You amass the kids’ jelly beans in a jar for 40 days and then, the night before Easter, fill the remaining space in the jar with white jelly beans which signifies the Grace of God that we could never earn on our own. I thought it was such beautiful symbolism and …. (Drumroll) …we actually did it! I was so proud of us. We did it up until the night before Easter……. aaaaand then forgot to do the most important part – the white jelly beans. DOH.
And then there was the foot washing. We read about the Last Supper together and learned that Jesus had washed the disciples’ feet, so we hatched this plan to do a family foot washing on Good Friday. It was going to be meaningful, it would start a new family tradition, and best of all it would tickle.
But….then we got invited to our neighbor’s crawfish boil on Good Friday. I mean…we couldn’t really pass that up. So out the window went the foot washing.
Suffice to say, I failed Easter. This house had nary a hot cross bun to be found.
But the funny thing is… Neither my kids or husband seemed to notice my failings – not the forgotten traditions or the missing carrot cake. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent five years keeping the bar set really low. Or maybe it’s because their lives and hearts were full enough that they didn’t need a bunch of traditions and fancy lunches. They hunted for eggs alongside our diverse community, we got to know our neighbors better and they used their sweet voices to sing to a church congregation on Easter morning. And who’s to say that my family’s traditional Easter lunch shouldn’t always be cheese and pretzels? I think I might just keep that one.
After all this, I called my Mom to try to figure out how she did all that she did at Easter. Her answer “Yeah, that was insane and I was a wreck! Don’t do that!”
Enough said. But next year, I’m making those hot cross buns.