Yesterday we finally decorated our Easter Eggs. Yup, two days after Easter.
Don’t get me wrong, Easter turned out great for our family… But only after about a good 12 hours of completely anarchic disaster threatened to make us swear off ever celebrating another holiday again. EVER.
When our usual plans changed, Spencer and I thought it would be fun to host an “easy, little” Easter Egg hunt for our nieces and nephews on my side of the family. That actually went off without a hitch and was super-fun, but every second leading up to it was a total disaster.
But actually, now that we’ve survived the apocalypse that was Easter 2012, I kind of feel like we’ve graduated through a right of passage in a way. You know… to have at least one holiday where everyone involved wants to strangle each other immediately prior to gathering before God and barbecue in appreciation of all that they have? Yeah, that one.
They may not be our proudest moments, but we all have them. They are all part and parcel of even the happiest family dynamic: The occasional holiday throw down.
I remember watching an episode of… I don’t know, maybe it was The Wonder Years or something, where the narrator talked about how every big event put the family through utter hell, all in the name of forcing togetherness and fabricating good times. I don’t have as many disaster stories from my own childhood as some of my friends’ families do so I think my family was at least comparatively pretty chill, but I do remember one year on our way to Dorney Park, when my big brother got so mad at our mom that he tried to jump out of a moving vehicle just to get away from her. (His girlfriend was in between him and the door, my dad had to swerve the car.. you can imagine there was some yelling after that.) Of course it’s just something we laugh about at Thanksgivings now, but at the time it made for a pretty catastrophic afternoon.
Nobody jumped out of a car this Easter, but all of us yelled. All of us.
Looking back on the pictures this year, I am astonished at how effortless it all looks, even still. Isn’t that always the way? The kids all look like a million bucks, nobody’s forcing a smile, and you couldn’t have special ordered more perfect spring weather for an outdoor egg hunt and barbecue by the pond. I knew that the pictures were only going to show the best parts of the day, and as I flipped through them I half expected to think to myself that they told some kind of a lie… that they’d paint a picture of a day it only looked like we had, instead of the one we actually did. But instead what I saw were a lot of awesome moments that were part of a day that we did really have, even if maybe I was a little too fragile at the time to truly appreciate it.
It’s no big deal. We’ll work at it, and hopefully next year will be just as nice without all of the dysfunction leading up to the main events of the day. (I never wanted to be one of those families that spoiled every family vacation with a bunch of bickering, and I still don’t.) But really, when all is said and done, it’s the good things we’ll fall back on to remember anyway, and the reality is, you can only expect so much peace when you’re raising three kids and one of them thinks it’s funny to poop in the garage just to see what’ll happen.
So you know what? Who cares if Matthew’s sick sense of humor compelled him to pull down the pants of his 3-piece-suit to take a shit in the garage fifteen minutes before we needed to leave? Who cares if the kids went to bed at 10:30 and still never got to decorate the Easter eggs we’d been promising them they could for four days? Who cares if all of the kids woke up before we even had the chance to hide the baskets, and were miserable as a horse’s ass for most of the day because of how inconveniently little they slept? Who cares if plans got confused and we missed church, and we missed breakfast with mom-mom, and our slow-cooker ham for that evening dried to the flavor of stale bread while we were out? Sometimes, that’s just life. You get through it and you move on. And you decorate the damn eggs a day late.
I can’t speak for the kids, and I can tell you: I did NOT have this much clarity on the situation two days ago, BUT I feel good knowing that it’s not the batch of cookies getting burnt (which actually got eaten anyway - go figure) that I’ll remember when I think back on this year’s Easter calamity. It’ll be that because we were pressed for time, Mary baked Oreo cupcakes for the first time entirely on her own, and that they were a huge hit!
In a few years when I think back to it, I won’t sulk over the enormous meltdown Matthew had mid-hunt because eggs kept falling out of his basket. I’ll remember that every.single.one of his cousins donated eggs of their own, just to cheer him up. (And it worked!)
It’s not going to be the little bit of extra money or time that went into filling each one of a hundred some-odd eggs with little trinkets, candy and quarters that I remember. It’ll be the way all of the kids’ faces lit up as they cracked open their basketful of surprises, and the way they all traded together, decorating each other afterward in stickers, stamps and tattoos.
I’m not going to look back on this year someday and scowl because Matthew never got that haircut he desperately needed, or because he had a black eye from that scuffle he got into with his friend the day before… or even because we had to change his clothes three times and run an extra load of laundry before we left for the picnic (as very, very frustrating as those things were to me at the time). Nope. I’m going to look at these pictures year after year as our family continues to grow and the only thing I’ll be thinking is how perfectly handsome he looked, learning how to skip rocks into a patch of spangling lilly pads on an Easter afternoon, wearing grass-stained khakis and a necktie. Nobody pulls that look off better than him.
And it won’t be the squabbling with my husband over time and plans and money and discipline and WHOSE FAULT IS IT REALLY THAT THE COOKIES GOT BURNT that I’ll remember from this year’s Easter, but the way he took my hand in the middle of the park while we hid plastic eggs together for the kids, kissed me on the head, and told me that I’m awesome.
What will you remember from this year’s Easter?