It has been so fun seeing so many beautiful Easter weekends spread all over the social media world. There are so many beautiful families out there, and we have had our share of beautiful Easters.
But this year was not one of them.
On Friday we were in Chicago at Baga's house with Grandma and Papa. It was a beautiful, albeit chilly evening, and we staged an Easter Egg hunt. Baga's backyard was perfect for a hunt for young kids, and they had all sorts of fun. They knew exactly what was in those eggs, so they were totally game. A squirrel knew exactly what was in the eggs too, and hacked a hole right through one of the eggs and spread the candy all over. But the rest were gathered by these eager cuties, and after a bit of candy we enjoyed Aurelio's pizza for dinner. It was a great evening.
We came home from Chicago late Saturday night, getting home after midnight. We knew, when choosing to go in the first place, that it would make for a late night and possibly a cranky Sunday.
Carly woke up first, and promptly pillaged all the baskets of whatever she wanted. I came down and explained that is not how it works. Barbie made her debut in the C house after extensive philosophical debates in my head, but I guess I didn't need to think too hard because, while the girls were initially excited, she hasn't been particularly popular.
Then the chaos began. We had all gotten up late. I made a carrot cake. We had a hectic breakfast. The kids were cranky. So so cranky. And you know what? I was too. And perhaps Chris was, or perhaps he was responding to everyone else's crankiness. We got ready for church in a flurry and spilled out the door for pictures that were totally unsuccessful. We were late, and missed singing He is Risen for the opening song. I love that song and it is only sung once a year. The kids were restless at church and I was sleepy. Afterwards, dinner preparations were all over the place and we didn't have any eggs left for deviled eggs. What!? I love deviled eggs on Easter.
Our one success of the day was the carrot cake. Oh, my, it was divine. It was my grandpa's recipe that I remember loving as a teenager. I made it gluten free, and did I already say it was divine? And that cream cheese frosting. I'd eat it out of a bowl with a spoon. So we had that going for us.
But that night, all I wanted was my kids in bed.
I got into bed and felt sad. This isn't what Easter is supposed to be like, I thought. Then, somehow, a thought occurred to me. Isn't this what Easter is really all about? Isn't it about how life is imperfect and things are hard and don't go as planned, but that it is ok? It is ok because of Him.
I know the Savior's sacrifice redeems severe sin and soothes deep aching. I've used it and I've witnessed it. But in my everyday life, it more often eases the stress of motherhood, brightens my perspective on a hard day, and helps be be better when I lose my patience and my weaknesses are beating my strengths. Easter, of all days, is about second and third and fourth chances.
So on Monday morning I turned up the Mormon Tabernacle Choir version of He is Risen and sang along while I unloaded the dishes. And boy, the Tab can rock that song. On Tuesday afternoon I ate Easter leftovers for lunch and made deviled eggs to go with it. And I cut myself a break and I tried a little bit harder to be a little bit better. And by Wednesday, we were all feeling quite happy.
Then I remembered something. On Thursday evening we had had a Family Home Evening lesson (we do FHE on whatever night daddy can be home early enough). I did those Easter eggs with the little items inside that tell the story of the crucifixion and the resurrection. To my surprise, all three kids became captivated (after being initially disappointed there wasn't candy in the eggs). When I opened the egg with the nail inside, Carly's face registered sadness. She knew what was coming next, and we spoke softly about Jesus being nailed to the cross. I pulled a white piece of fabric out of the next egg, describing how He was wrapped and place in a tomb. I pulled a rock out of the next egg, and we talked about how a big stone was placed in front of the tomb. I told them how three days passed, and I held the final egg. I opened it. "It's empty," Carly said. "Was Jesus in the tomb anymore?" I asked her. "No," she said. "He got resurrected." I showed John and Quinn and John said "Woah!" and Quinn said "Ooooo." And the Spirit was so strong.
It was a sweet moment. A moment I forgot about in the hustle and bustle that was Easter Day, but a moment that matters more than deviled eggs and cute pictures.
I'm grateful for this sweet family of mine.
I'm grateful for the chaos that people tell me I'll miss.
And this week, in particular, I'm grateful for second (and third and fourth) chances.