Easter was very different for us this year. It was our first major holiday by ourselves, the six of us, away from our extended family. It was the year Mary Claire admitted to me that she hasn’t believed in the Easter Bunny for more than a couple years. It was the year Sam played 18 holes of golf with his buddies instead of hanging out at home. It was our first solo effort — one filled with Chex Mix and Pringles instead of Cadbury Eggs and Dove Chocolate Bunnies.
Granted, part of that was my fault. When you procrastinate in Starkville, the basket pickins are slim. But my kids are teens and tweens now. They much prefer Pop-Tarts over jellybeans. For them, those baskets held a veritable feast. I always worry a bit about George, though. Is he missing out on some quintessential parts of childhood because he’s the youngest, because he’s being dragged much more quickly into adolescence by his siblings? DID HE WANT THE CHOCOLATE BUNNY?
I looked at the wide-eyed wonder on my sweet grand-niece’s face today via Facebook pictures. And I remember those days. I remember matching, plaid shirts and ruffled dresses. I remember egg hunts after church and tear-stained faces when small fingers couldn’t grab as quickly as bigger hands.
We tried a few new traditions this year. I made a breakfast casserole that only George ate. The others relished their Butterfingers and energy gum. And I let them. We dyed our eggs on Easter instead of before. I had my iPod playing in the background when “Bluer than Blue” came on.
“This song sucks,” Mary Claire stated as she perfected the glitter on her tie-dyed egg. Such charming, lady-like sentiment from my pre-teen’s mouth — the same mouth that used to curl in a perfect “O” around her fingers while she rubbed her blankie on her rosy baby cheek. We made Rice Krispie eggs with M&Ms inside. The kids were much more adept at it than I was.
Nothing stays the same.
There are so many beautiful things about our current place in life. Deep conversations with our kids, belly laughs at the dinner table. It’s not that I’d want to go back to diapers and thumb-sucking and pre-dawn Easter egg hunts.
It just moves so quickly.
This march of time doesn’t let up for a second.
Everything I have right now is more than enough. But I still miss my family, still miss my friends. I don’t want to go back to where we were before — it’s vital for us to keep moving forward. But there is such nostalgia in reflection.
Things weren’t perfect in Indiana. Things aren’t perfect in Mississippi. But there are people and moments and memories in both places. There are new friendships made, old friendships lost. Experiences that change and define us are happening always. Always.
Ever forward, this crazy ride moves. Looking back, yearning for what once was — or wishing for what might have been — is fruitless. The realities we create in our minds are never truths. They are just stories. And stories can be rewritten, stories are always retold. Words that are penned by one are never interpreted quite the same by another.
I missed my mom today. Missed seeing the wrinkles at the edge of her smile, missed the cotton candy feel of her Snow White hair.
But here’s what I had instead. A brilliant blue sky, shape-shifting clouds, and a bottle of wine. Four healthy, happy kids who indulged in every way possible — food, TV, computers, uncleanliness. A good book and a gentle breeze that felt like the warm caress of a friend’s hand, a secret whispered in my ear. Air in my lungs and the love of my life by my side.
More than enough.