We had such a great Easter today – and I think it has a lot to do with my expectations (hint: they were low!)
In that past, Easter has always been such a hard holiday for me – Easter and Mother’s Day. Ever since Mr. M started working on Dancing With The Stars about nine years ago – he has had to work Easter and Mother’s Day. Since both of those holidays are on a Sunday, and Monday’s are the day the show airs – his hours on Sunday can sometimes stretch until the very wee hours of morning, and sometimes they stretch right through to Monday night! Since I live in California – and my whole family lives in Indiana – I am always always alone with the children on those two holidays.
I am embarrassed to admit that I used to even feel sorry for myself sometimes – I would see these other families having big gatherings with their extended families – and of course, I’d see all kinds of photos on Facebook which would lead me to compare. It was hard for me.
But this year was different for a couple of reasons:
1) I took the pressure off of myself to make it magical for the kids. There were no Pinterest-projects (not that I ever really succeed in that). There were no matching outfits.
Basically, a few days ago – I went to the garage and found a few things in the “Easter Box” – which is a box of Easter things we’ve forgotten to use in past years. I did not go to Target for Easter – I did not shop. I made do with what we already had in the house – and even though that was a little scary last night when I realized all we had were Easter socks and Easter napkins (!!!!) to put in their Easter basket – it ended up being more than enough for the girls.
Now, let me explain – because I am always with the kids (homeschooling with a newborn and a spouse who works crazy hours does that to ya) – there was no chance for me to go shopping for Easter. Zilch. I tried to buy a few things on Amazon – but it seemed like a little price gouging was going on (I’m looking at you $30 chocolate rabbit).
So, I looked in the garage and we had plastic eggs – I ordered some Hershey’s Kisses for $5 on Amazon – and crossed my fingers that was enough…because, you know…expectations! Parenting in 2015 is full of expectations and if you’re playing that game, it’s so hard to win. What’s that saying? The only way to win is not to play the game…
2) I realized that the girls only know this – and they are extremely happy and grateful for what they have. They have never known big family get-togethers with cousins (they don’t have any cousins!) – so this is their childhood and the memories that they know. And it is enough for them. It is MORE than enough for them. I really do believe that the mom sets the tone for the house – and if I am happy, and giving to them the love and attention they need on a daily basis – then we have a lot to be thankful for in our home.
3) I stayed away from social media – and just exchanged pictures with a few close friends. Over the past few months, I have been very intentional about my use of social media. I have realized that I am sensitive to comparing myself to others, sensitive to criticism – and as much as I want to be all things to all people, I’m not! I guard my energy pretty closely because, as it turns out, I need it to be present for this family we’ve got here. If I’m always looking across the fence at what my neighbor is doing, I miss out on the beautiful moments happening right under my nose.
So – back to our Easter!
The past few days I’ve been beyond tired and exhausted. We are having central air conditioning installed in our house (yay!) – and the workers have been coming very early in the morning, drilling into the side of the house, and making lots of big noises. I am very happy and grateful about this – but it also means that being up with a newborn all night and then being up at the crack of dawn was wearing me down big time. I have been spending my days keeping the kids happy, safe, and out of the workers’ hair…while still overseeing the job. It is worth it – but simply put: I was tirrrrred.
So yesterday – I made the plastic eggs with Hershey’s Kisses and the few dollars/change I had in my wallet. I put them in a bag and asked Mr. M to hide them before work. I put together one simple Easter basket with the Easter socks I found in the garage, one stuffed bunny rabbit, some rabbit ears, and a few necklaces from the dollar aisle I had saved back…
Then, this morning, I slept in. 🙂 I didn’t mean to sleep in – but I was up with Ellie until 2am, and I slept late. When I woke up, the three big girls had dressed themselves, made breakfast, and had brushed their hair and their teeth. They were all sitting together on the couch reading Easter books.
When I came out of the bedroom, they jumped up with excitement to tell me that the Easter Bunny had left them the most AMAZING Easter Basket EVER for all of them to share. (This is the basket that’s big present was new socks). 🙂 They had to show me all the things in the basket (the dollar aisle necklaces) – and the little stuffed Easter Bunny. They were so excited to go hunt the eggs in the backyard but they wanted to wait for me and Ellie to wake up – so they hadn’t even been outside yet.
Then we all went out to the backyard and the girls helped each other find eggs. I kept hearing things like: Here, Paprika – you have this blue one since blue is your favorite color. Let’s help Violet find the green ones since she loves green. Let’s wait for Ginger to go to the bathroom before we find anymore eggs. We don’t want her to miss out.
This year, I didn’t even get out my big “real” camera – cell phone pics will do just fine:
Then the girls came inside, and opened up those little plastic eggs which were filled with melted Hershey’s Kisses and pocket change – and they honest to goodness thought it was the best thing ever. I got a bowl to put the chocolate in the fridge – and the girls split the money evenly between themselves.
And the rest of the day?
First, they took all the plastic eggs and made little surprises inside, and hid them all over the house in surprising places for their Daddy to find. They said they really wanted their dad to have a great Easter – and nothing would spoil it, not even having to work on Easter! So, they decided to give him all their chocolate, except then they later decided they would keep three Hershey’s kisses each. Ha!
They had a “shower party” with all the fake grass in the basket. They were running around throwing it at each other, shouting “Party! Party! Party!”
They had named that one little stuffed Easter Bunny “Sparkle” and played hide-and-go seek with her for most of the afternoon:
They kept saying over and over again that it was the Best Easter Ever! I think they’re on to something:
Managing expectations and being grateful for what we have is where it’s at. It was a happy, happy day and one I hope to always remember. It wasn’t Pinterest-worthy or flashy, but it was darn good.
Playing in the backyard until dark:
Ellie napping in the baby carrier while I watch the girls play:
I think I just realized that this is it! Every day, we can make the choice to be grateful for what we have, and to find the joy in these small moments, or we can over-think and make ourselves crazy trying to make everything perfect. This right here, right now, is good – good enough.
It’s like that saying: Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. -Guillaume Apollinaire
Today was a very good day…