Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Simple Easter

I've seen many attention-grabbing parenting articles aimed at frantic 'do-it-all' moms about letting ourselves off the hook. Minimizing, de-cluttering, and pared-down holidays, you know which ones I mean. And I applaud the movement towards simplifying. Homes, calendars, holidays. Simplifying makes priorities more appear clear, and easy to recognize. As a parent, it is easy to confuse nostalgia and traditions with a self-imposed pressure to 'make memories.' I have found myself running to the store minutes before it closes the Saturday of Easter long weekend to get eggs for the egg hunt because the kids were counting on it, and wondering why am I doing this? I don't want that to be the way we do holidays.

April and her new baby. Miraculous!

This year, I was pretty chilled out about Easter. I gave some real thought to what it means to me, having had a complicated relationship with it for awhile. I considered what it means to my girls, and what I want to foster in them. In years past, we have emphasized the new life aspect of the holiday, by celebrating baby animals, returning geese, planting seeds and the symbolism of eggs. This weekend, we gathered around my laptop to watch April the Giraffe (finally!) give birth to her calf, live. The girls and I were moved by her innate knowledge of how to give birth and nurture her new baby without once reading an article on simplifying her pregnancy. We talked about their births, about the circle of life, about what new life looks like in the natural world. We watered our newly-planted seeds for our vegetable garden, we painted eggs, and we went to church together.

Homemade whole wheat cinnamon buns

We came home for an egg hunt their daddy set up. It's not a popular choice, but our family doesn't believe in an Easter bunny. The girls thoroughly enjoy egg hunts and Easter decor, stories of the Easter bunny and church dresses, but I didn't feel good about telling them a mythical rabbit came into our house with chocolate, without much of a spiritual association to the belief. It felt like a stretch, like an extra hoop for me to jump thorough, so I took that pressure off and asked my mom to get chocolate eggs when I forgot and ran out of time. This weekend, we gathered with our family and spent a lot of time outside enjoying new Spring weather. We hosted one of my favourite Easter dinners to date. All the guests brought dish to share, so my job was to prepare the ham and yam and peas. The girls helped set the table with our wedding china and the newly-literate twins wrote out place tags. 

Holidays are inherently busy, with dinners to attend and activities in which to participate. This Easter, the girls are a bit older, which decreases the insane chaos level, but a deliberate intention to keep things simple really made me enjoy this long weekend. The food was delicious, the mornings were slow, the time outside was unhurried and we still managed to make it special with treats, a few traditions, and a decision to pare down to what's important to us. Simplifying may be the phrase du jour, but applying it has helped me enjoy our holidays and weekends together, instead of organizing time and holding up high standards. I mean, my enjoyment matters too. It is sometimes hard to remember that.

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