I had a late start on the whole Easter thing because it took me a long while to decide what I wanted to do for the kids' baskets this year. Actually, that isn't entirely true. What really happened is Easter sort of sneaked up on us and Wednesday I realized that I had nothing ready for this weekend and so went into a mini panic trying to figure something out for their baskets.
Thursday I decided I wanted to make them some quiet books because sacrament meeting is really hard for them to sit through. They just squirm and Faye, who doesn't quite understand how to whisper, talks the whole time, and I really don't get anything out of it. I spend the majority of the meeting trying to break up fights and help the kids to be reverent so they aren't disturbing anyone else. And so, Thursday night I got all comfy cozy in my bed and settled into a long night with Pinterest and found some wonderful ideas. Oh yeah, and Thursday all the roads were shut down because Mr. President decided to visit. Not our house, just our general area, and so security sort of went crazy. Also, there was a gas leak in my neighborhood and so people were evacuated from their homes. And we inherited 2 couches from a friend. Yay! It was a crazy night, I tell you.
Friday was spent trying to put everything together without the kids seeing. The problem with that is this whole week has been Spring Break and so the kids want to see everything that I am doing and secrets are a little hard to keep. Also, the house was temporarily turned into a kids fort, which obviously means crazy messes everywhere. Like socks in the refrigerator sort of crazy messes. Because, yeah, that actually happens sometimes. And Faye had a stomach bug, so she was magnetized to me, as she always is when she is sick, which made it really hard to work on things without them seeing.
Saturday was the day I really wanted to have the baskets ready. We typically do our egg/basket hunt on Saturday and I wanted to continue with that tradition. However, it was too busy of a day. Saturday morning the kids and I made caramelized banana pancakes for breakfast, and then we cuddled down to watch General Conference. I was impressed with how excited the kids were for Conference. I am not sure they have ever been excited before. Keith made a gorgeous Temple out of Legos while we listened, and Faye worked on her Bingo card. It was wonderful!
In between sessions I got a new kitchen table. It is so pretty and I love it!
Afternoon session I worked on their quiet books, completely giving up on trying to hide things from them. They wore me down with their constant asking, and I eventually just told them I was working on things for their Easter baskets.
"Wait a minute. Hang on, Mom. Does this mean the Easter Bunny isn't real?" Keith asked.
I froze like ice to the freeway in the middle of winter. I was caught. I wasn't sure what I was going to say.
Finally, I decided to tell them the truth.
"Yes, Keith, you are right. The Easter Bunny isn't real. But we can still pretend. That will be fun. And if people ask what you got from the Easter Bunny, you can just play along and tell them, because they are really just asking what you got in your basket."
Faye immediately called out "He's real, Keith. I know."
We left it at that.
Which is funny, because that little interchange really personifies both of them so well. Keith is our thinker. He loves to figure things out for himself and know what is right and wrong, or true and false. Faye, on the other hand, would rather live in a world of Fairies and magical creatures than face reality. Even when hard evidence points otherwise. Because it is more fun and enchanting to live life like that. Whimsy can really take you places, and she shows us how in everything she does, that silly girl.
And so, Saturday night, we still hadn't gotten the baskets out. Forget about eggs. We hadn't colored any, or even cooked any to color. And I didn't make my Resurrection rolls, or my General Conference Cinnamon Rolls that I love to make, and the kids love to eat. I didn't do any of it. And Beth got sick. She somehow developed a bit of a fever which means she becomes like a drier sheet that you just can't shake off. Except I didn't mind, because I love snuggling and loving on her. She is so sweet and wonderful.
Finally, I got the kids to bed and plopped myself down on the bed, ready to just detox a bit. Jeffrey had gone to the Priesthood session, and the macaroni and cheese incident happened. And when the kids were finally in bed and I was alone and could breathe, I did just that.
As I lay there, I began to think about all the things I wanted to do. How magical I wanted to make Easter for the kids, and here I was, laying on the bed with the things for their baskets not even finished, and the state of the house was nigh sending me to a loony bin.
And I decided to stop it.
I didn't need those negative thoughts in my head, I decided. I always expect more from myself than is humanly possible for anyone to do. I demand perfection from myself and it wears me down. So what if I didn't get the rolls made, or the Resurrection Eggs finished. So what if we weren't going to have cinnamon rolls for breakfast? I had worked hard on our quiet books. I had stayed up late two nights in a row working on them, and I was going to finish them, and clean things up at least a little bit, and I was going to go to bed. And Easter would be just fine anyway.
And it was.
Faye woke up first and while she was getting a drink, she saw the basket on the table. Our new table. It was her first time seeing that as well. She squealed, and forgot about her drink in her desire to get her brother and share this exciting moment with him. Moments later I could hear her excited gibberish because when she is excited she talks so quickly, no one can understand a word she says. Except Keith. They must share some of the same soul. I heard delighted stomps on the stairs as they came running break neck speed to see what was there. Because Faye delights in sharing things with people rather than hoarding it to herself, so of course she didn't peek until her brother was at her side.
Faye got a hula-hoop, Keith got a suduko book, and Beth got a ball. There was a thing of sidewalk chalk in the bottom of the basket, and all around were the quiet books I had made, plus a scripture study guide and journal for Keith. I wasn't planning on adding any candy because I knew they would get plenty from grandparents, but my dad insisted and gave me a bag of kisses, so I dumped that on top of everything.
Their reactions were simply perfect!
I made eggs for breakfast and we got ready to join my family for Conference at my parent's house.
Except Jeffrey was sick
so he stayed home being miserable while we enjoyed ourselves with family and friends.
And Conference was beautiful, as it always is. The parts I could hear, anyway. I completely missed the afternoon session due to trying to take care of a sick baby and a sick husband.
And cousins came over and helped more the furniture downstairs, and took home our old table.
And Grandpa came by to read stories to Beth.
And then it was bedtime.
I went down to tuck Keith in, and we had the most beautiful conversation about the gospel. We talked about how special our bodies are and why we need to take care of them, but more importantly is our spirit, and we need to safeguard that more than anything else, ever. We talked about the Heavenly family council where we learned we would come to earth to get our bodies and be tested and tried. We talked about Lucifer's plan, and how it isn't okay to ever force anyone to do anything. It is so important for people to make choices and decide for themselves, even if their choices are wrong. We talked about sinning and not being able to live with Heavenly Father because of our sins, but because of Jesus, we can repent and then live with our Father again. And how each Sunday when we go to church and take the Sacrament, that is the most important thing we can do all week, because if we repent, we can be wholly cleansed again. We talked about subtle ways Satan might trick us into not making the right choices, and what we can do about it. It was an incredible talk with him. I am so glad that he wanted me to tuck him in and that I could allow the time necessary to carry on such a deep conversation with him. Finally, I did the official tuck and kiss, and left him pondering the things we talked about.
As I ascended the stairs, I saw Faye, still sitting at the counter, still avoiding eating her dinner. She had talked through the whole meal, hardly pausing for breath, and certainly not for food! I told her she had to stop talking and eat, and she couldn't leave until she had eaten something. After my 45 minute tuck in session with Keith, she was still sitting, albeit upside down, singing a song to herself, her plate not having been touched at all.
I asked her to brush her teeth, and then to come sit by me in the living room. We watched the video He Lives together, and then she began asking questions that would need a lengthy explanation to them. And so our 45 minute tuck in session began. Essentially we talked about the events leading up to Christ's death and resurrection. I have never really talked in length about all the horrible things that were done to my Savior, but I felt now was the time to tell Faye exactly what happened. I pulled out a book with paintings from many different artists depictions of the life of Jesus Christ, and we flipped through the book talking about the Atonement in the garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal, the mock trial, the sentencing, the scouring, crown of thorns, mocking, Pilate, and finally the crucifixion. Faye wanted to show me all of her scars when we talked about His. We then moved on to the resurrection.
I am so humbled to know that today was made special for the kids in the most important way possible. We didn't do any hunting for treats. We didn't color eggs. We didn't indulge in the usual sticky sweet pastries I so love to make. But I was able to share my testimony with my children of the true meaning of Easter. I was able to have a quiet moment with each of them where the Spirit was strong, confirming my words to their sweet open hearts. I am so grateful that despite my crazy perfectionism I had the opportunity to re-evaluate the importance of all the little extra things, thus preparing myself for tonight when I would be able to not focus on what I wasn't doing, but instead focus on what the kids were doing, and what they needed. And then on top of that, I am so thankful that I was able to have that rare alone time with each of them, teaching and loving them, and listening to them. My heart is full, tonight, and I am once again left in awe at the subtle and precise workings of my Father in Heaven who guides me in his wisdom through my blindness so that once in a while I can get things right. This is a true Easter Miracle.