Twas the Night Before Easter and as it would seem, my children were wrapped in a jelly-bean dream. While my husband in his hoodie, and I in my shorts, sat down to fill baskets (while he checked out sports). Wait, what? That’s not the way it is supposed to go? Funny … because that’s exactly how it went. I sprawled on the floor of our living room, candy treats and toy treasures spread out around me as my husband sat beside me–spacing out. A little part of me questioned this layout. It wasn’t really the ideal family fantasy you envision when you’re thinking about holidays. But over the years, I’ve found that fantasy can really suck the fun out of the ordinary.
If things were perfect, I’d have had the Easter baskets stuffed for weeks … ready to be easily taken from a tall closet for the morning bunny delivery. But that is not what happened. Instead, I was up until about midnight, eating way too much candy to keep me buzzed long enough to remember which pieces went in the his and her baskets. Of course, I also realized that I must’ve been on some sort of hallucinogen when I bought the items for my children’s baskets, because at the store they all seemed so much smaller than they did when I was at home trying to shove it all into a two-foot wicker circle. We ended up needing to put the baskets on top of the toys we bought. If things were perfect, this never would have happened; but then where would the fun be?
The cutest thing about it is, my children have no doubt what-so-ever about the Easter bunny. They never thought to question him, his choices of gifts or how something (supposedly small and furry with no hands) could carry four baskets busting-to-the-brim with items that still had tags on them! In fact, this year when I suggested we think about what we might want to find in our Easter baskets this season, my son said, “I think I’d like to get him something, since he is always getting things for everyone else.” So the day before Easter, my kids took turns drawing pictures and writing cards for the famous Peter Cottontail.
But these are the things you don’t see in the pristinely-crafted Pottery Barn catalog shots of the Spring season. You see matching crocheted place mats, but not wrappers strewn in evidence of a good bellyache! You see crystal goblets and Fabergé-style eggs, but not the smelly, half-cracked hard-boiled egg with your kid’s crayon signature. Our life may not be on a magazine cover, but the pictures I take serve my soul. It’s so much more precious to me to remember my four-year-old daughter squeezed my hand tight, than the fact she was too afraid to participate in the Easter egg hunt at the local church. I swelled with pride at seeing my son give her half of the candy he collected, instead of counting his spoils like the kids around us. And I just had to laugh at myself when I realized that during church, to keep my son entertained, I actually said, “Play tic-tac-toe with yourself and then tell me who wins.” (He did … go figure.)
We’re far from perfect … far from photo-ready at times, but this ordinary life is so much more beautiful than pretend. Evangelist Dwight L. Moody characterized the kind of Christian I want to be, the kind I want to teach my family to be. He said, “We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does.” Jesus was perfect … but he didn’t call attention to himself by making others feel guilty or judged. He drew ordinary people to himself by loving them in an extraordinary way. Love is the only necessary ingredient this Easter, and I hope you too find plenty of it in your basket.