Apologies for any typos, formatting issues, or photo repeats. My computer is out for repairs, so I’m posting via the awkward app
We had a rocky Holy Week this year. Jenny kicked off Palm Sunday with a round of vomiting and remained ill all day. The Man started a week of ICU call on Monday. The stomach bug crescendoed on Tuesday when five out of six family members woke up and puked within an hour of each other. I stayed healthy long enough to nurse everyone else through the worst of it, then went down myself on Wednesday.
The last stomach flu symptoms finally petered out on Easter Sunday. Perhaps because of the stark contrast to the previous seven days Easter week felt really lovely. This was our first year intentionally celebrating the octave of Easter (the eight day celebration of the church calendar) instead of just Easter Sunday. It was delightful and refreshing and I never want to go back to the single-day celebration. I love holidays and special traditions. However, holidays aren’t always fun as the mom of many very young children. In general, we’ve found that this current stage of life allows for one “extra” thing on any given day without stretching time or energy too thin. Our ordinary days demand a tremendous amount of work. Add in even the basics of dyeing eggs, a special family breakfast, dressing everyone for church, egg hunt, Easter treats, and a special dinner and you have a recipe for an exhausted Mom who never got to relax and celebrate between special activities and the usual rounds of diapers, feedings, changes, naps, and nurturing. While an extended holiday sounds like more work, in reality it takes so much pressure off without the “the holiday’s over and I never got a chance to enjoy it” letdown. There was plenty of time to savor the meaning of Easter, carry on our usual traditions, and fit in some extra fun. It also allowed us to enjoy secular Easter activities like an egg hunt without feeling like we were crowding out precious Easter time focused on Christ’s work.
On Holy Saturday the twins and I dyed eggs together (their first time) while the babies finished naps. To keep curious hands from messing with the dye as the eggs soaked we read Brian Wildsmith’s Easter book and Rechenka’s Eggs by Patricia Polaco. The book took on new meaning for them as they created beautiful eggs themselves for the first time.
That evening I read the twins the Passion story from The Big Picture Story Bible at bedtime, with a promise that the story had a happy ending and that we’d read about it in the morning.
The Man spent Easter working in the ICU. With lingering stomach virus issues in some kids we stayed home from church. The kids woke to chocolate rabbits and a waffle breakfast. We cuddled on the couch for home church, resurrection hymns, and the Easter story, then headed out later in the morning for a spring walk/tricycle ride.
The low-key holiday still felt special to the kids with a few treats scattered through the day.
The next day the Man finally wrapped up his ICU call week. As is our tradition, the kids ran in overjoyed to wake him up for his first morning home.We had a morning showing but made lemons out of lemonade by turning our eviction into our first farm outing and post-Lent ice cream of the new year. As you can see, eating your strawberry ice cream is serious business:
We scattered bits of Easter celebrations throughout the rest of the week, sometimes turning ordinary activities into Easter festivities just by changing what we called them. After eight intense weeks of home buying, home prep, contractors, late nights, showings, illness, and ICU it felt like such a blessed week of family time: fun dinners, a carrot cake, coloring Easter Egg coloring pages, Easter books, hymns, spring walks, and the kids’ first Easter egg hunt filled out the octave. Knowing we’d just slogged through a rough patch as a family, my Mom thoughtfully mailed off Easter goodies in a box so we wouldn’t have to prep: treats, eggs for a hunt, and a book.
Somewhere midweek we had a house showing crop up right as I was fixing dinner so we abandoned ship, got McDonalds drive through, and met Daddy for a picnic at the park. Neither of us is that excited about McDonalds, but it was fun to watch the twins’ shock and glee at this unprecedented break from routine. Spotting Daddy as we pulled into the park? Dinner at a picnic table? Happy meals? A new toy with dinner? Playing on the slides after dinner instead of getting ready for bed? It blew their minds:
This is the first place I’ve lived where Easter actually resembles the pictures in my childhood calendars and catalogues. They always promised sunny holidays with boys in seersucker shorts collecting eggs on daffodil dotted lawns. Easter in Chicago generally dawned cold and rainy, sometimes snowy. I think we only managed one or two outdoor egg hunts in my entire childhood. The South whispers promises of a new heaven and a new earth in spring. We soaked in all the outdoor time we could, grateful for grace in the stressful times and refreshment in the lull.
I hope you and yours had a blessed holiday celebrating Christ’s work. If you missed it, the church Easter season technically extends for another month and a half after the Easter octave. You still have time to party, and the Easter treats are on sale now ;).