Hubs and I had prepared for Easter a few weeks ago by picking up all the Easter Bunny things we needed but we slacked hard on preparing the plastic eggs for the Easter egg hunt our kids look forward to every year. So, there we were, at 5am yesterday morning, blearily putting together plastic eggs and repeatedly asking each other what we were supposed to put in each one and how we did this last year. We were sneaky and put the baskets together in the garage then brought them into the house. We hid the eggs, some higher for our 9-year-old, some lower for our almost two-year-old.
Real talk: it wasn’t fun. I felt annoyed almost the entire time we were putting it all together.
Typically, I find great joy in putting together the Easter stuff and hiding eggs for my kids to find – especially with having an older kid where you get super creative on hiding places because she’s tall and smart. (yes, I still give my 20-year-old an Easter basket and hide eggs for her to find, judge away).
This year, my oldest and grandson wouldn’t be with us for Easter since we’re under stay at home orders and she lives an hour and a half North of us now. I knew she wouldn’t be able to come home this year several weeks ago, but not having her and my grand babe around was yet another reminder that this Easter would be… different. Each year there are four other baskets that don’t get filled and that never gets easier; it’s become accepted, but never easier. Not having four of my babes here makes my heart hurt and is especially tender on holidays. Not having my daughter or grandson here made the absence of the other four even more… apparent.
I’ve always loved Easter – I’m a southern girl so I always got a new dress and a hat and gloves… it was so much fun to go to church, everyone showing off their fancy new gear, and celebrate Jesus raising from the dead. We would dye eggs and participate in the tradition passed down in my family called egg boxing where we would take turns ramming eggs into each other to see whose would break. The winner of each round whose egg didn’t break would move on to face another opponent in the family until an overall winner was determined. Not to brag, but before my husband came along and joined our family, I won egg boxing a lot. A LOT. Now, he typically beats me every year, but it doesn’t bother me because seeing him (and my kids) participate in this family tradition from my side of the family warms my heart.
Real Talk: we didn’t dye eggs until right before we boxed this year. I was in such a funk; I didn’t feel like doing it because my mom typically dyes all the egg boxing eggs and I wasn’t going to get to see her this year except on FaceTime. Or my dad. Or my siblings or their spouses or my nieces. Or my daughter or grandson. It all felt so… wrong. And added to my giant funk.
We watched church online, which has become the custom over the past month or so. Typically, it’s not so glaringly obvious that this isn’t the normal way of doing things but for Easter, when things feel amplified and we almost always leave service being blown away by the message and the music, it felt… flat. It felt less than. It felt underwhelming. Add to that, my kids being loud and obnoxious every single second our pastor was talking made my husband and I lose our shit. Happy Easter, indeed. We yelled at our kids more times than I can count, rolled my eyes so hard I was sure my daughter an hour and a half away could hear it, and couldn’t concentrate on anything going on because of the ruckus.
Sidebar: I hate complaining about my kids because I feel that since all I ever wanted was living kids and there are so many folks who are still praying hard for living kids, it makes me an asshole to complain. But seriously, y’all, parenthood is hard in all its forms and sometimes it’s worthy of complaint. I am grateful for them, I love them, and I’m sorry if my complaining makes you upset. Grace upon grace, please.
Since the whole family wasn’t getting together as per usual, our menu looked different. Delicious, but different. I was determined to have something be the same when it came to the meal, so I made my Grandma’s lemon pie. I messed up the first one, something I’ve never done in years of making this pie, and the second one seemed… off. It wasn’t how it usually looks – it wasn’t how my mom makes it. My husband tried to make me feel better about it… it didn’t work. Tasted good, though.
Real Talk: I cried yesterday. I snapped at my kids repeatedly. I got in an argument with my husband. I was in a funk. Yesterday was Easter, a holiday I really love, and it sucked.
I wanted to go to church and be filled with the spirit while forcing my kids to be dressed up with matching or coordinating outfits and combed hair. (This makes me ridiculously happy, don’t judge.) I wanted to eat my regular Easter meal, with my grandma’s pie that looked and tasted normal, surrounded by my extended family with loud and rambunctious egg boxing. I wanted to watch my kids and their cousins do the egg hunt my mom does at my folks’ house with perfectly allotted eggs, so each kid got the same amount as the others.
I was a certifiable cranky ass yesterday and it stole a lot of my joy. Sure, there’s the elephant in the room that I can blame everything on (looking at you, COVID-19!) but in all actuality, my attitude is my own choice. I could have (should have!) chosen to lead well yesterday and show my kids that despite everything being wonky this year, Easter can still be great!
Real Talk: I didn’t do that.
Holidays are hard enough when you’re a loss parent and this added layer of what-the-eff-is-happening-in-the-world-and-when-is-it-gonna-end stuff added some challenges that I just didn’t rise to meet. I feel so guilty and like a failure about it all; I even did my gratitude practice yesterday morning and looked for ways to find joy throughout the day. I came up short. IN EVERY SINGLE WAY.
Sometimes holidays just suck, even when we don’t expect them to. Sometimes a random day of the week just sucks when we weren’t expecting it to. Grief throws a wrench in our lives that we can’t always anticipate and we just find ways to adapt to it. Or we get our asses kicked and try again the next day.
My husband won our family’s egg boxing match so he’ll go on to compete against the winners of each of the rest of my family’s household matches when the world opens up again. Today is a new day and it will be better than yesterday, at the very least because I have a telehealth therapy session and because I freaking need it to be.
Some days are just hard, Grief Warriors, and you don’t show up in the ways you want, and you eat food you’re not used to, and everything feels off and uncomfortable. All we can do is offer ourselves grace and try again. All we can do is hope that tomorrow will be better.
Thinking of you all and hoping that your Easters were better than mine – and if not, that today is a new day and will be better.
Real Talk: Because we freaking need it to be.