(Those are definitely last year’s eggs.)
I was driving home from our church’s Easter service with the kids, feeling pretty happy about everything. We’d made it on time, Brian did well in the nursery, the girls didn’t make a scene in the service. (Not a big one, at any rate. We’re always kind of a spectacle… it happens when you have preschoolers who aren’t into Sunday School.) The kids were happy (thanks to Randy’s ENORMOUS flower sugar cookies that they look forward to every year.)
Jenna started chattering from the back.
“I LOVE Easter. You know why? Because we get COOKIES and we get to DYE eggs and LOOK for them. The plastic ones that have jobeans in them.” [Jobeans are jelly beans in our house. Because Katherine.]
I look nervously in the rear view mirror. “Um… Well, you got cookies! …I didn’t actually get as far as doing anything at all with eggs. Not the kind you dye or the kind with jobeans in them. But you got cookies! And we did resurrection rolls yesterday!”
And then everything falls apart. There are tears. Genuine five-year-old heartbreak over dashed hopes and dreams. Offers to pay her own money for eggs if Mama would please just make an extra stop. (Nope.)
“This is the WORST. EASTER. EVER.”
And now I’m frustrated. A touch defensive. The reasons I didn’t get as far as doing eggs are many. They include making meals for other people and, you know, growing a baby sister in my body while keeping the other three alive and holding things together at home while Andrew has a Very Hectic Week. Also? Eggs are not biblical requirements. They just aren’t.
“Jenna, can you please find a thankful heart? Can you be glad that there were ginormous cookies? Can the fact that, I don’t know, JESUS ISN’T DEAD and he saved us from our sins make this a good day?”
(More tears.) “No. Because that’s exciting to grownups, but for kids, it just means we have to sit for a really long time.” (…said every five-year-old, ever.)
And now I’m a failure on both ends of the spectrum. On the one hand, I hate that I didn’t get myself together enough to do eggs. They’re five and almost four. Of course they want/anticipate/expect eggs. It just isn’t that hard. What is my problem? On the other, how did my normally very spiritually attuned daughter come to the conclusion that dying eggs she’ll refuse to eat is more exciting than the fact that Jesus is alive?!?
My own words convict me.
“…can the fact that… I don’t know… JESUS ISN’T DEAD… make today a good day?”
My car is in the shop and my garage door opener with it, so I’m driving a loaner. I get home from this frustrating eight-minute drive and go into the garage to let myself in. The kids are still buckled. Instead of immediately opening the garage, I throw a tantrum and phone a friend. Who laughs at me. (Deservedly so.) “This isn’t an epic mom fail. It’s an epic mom story. You know that, right?”
Here I am, having my own “worst Easter ever,” upset because Jenna’s being… five.
Meanwhile… Hello, JESUS ISN’T DEAD.
And that should mean something.
It should mean everything.
The sermon was about this being of “first importance.”
And so I choose to let the day reset itself. Jesus is alive. The eggs don’t matter. There’s grace for Jenna being a five-year-old. The fact that I don’t have what I need to make the ham in my fridge for dinner isn’t a problem. Ham on Resurrection Sunday is not any more biblically mandated than eggs. Shells and sauce will be fine. There’s grace for episodes of Curious George while I nap. I don’t need to frantically work to boil eggs to placate the preschoolers or fuss and fret about procuring plastic eggs and jelly beans at 3 on an Easter afternoon.
Jesus is alive.
Everything is fine.
There is no such thing as the worst Easter ever.