I love that song - my Grandmama used to sing it to me and the words often come back to me in moments just like this one...
This time of year - no matter where I am in the world - always reminds me of being a little girl in North Carolina. Without fail.
For these weeks around Easter, I feel home again. At least as much as I can feel home anywhere in this world. And not the kind of home I’ve been talking about lately - that’s more an adult sense of belonging. This kind of home is the one where you open your eyes in the morning to dust twirling in sunshine and pots and pans clanging in the kitchen which always means mom’s making cinnamon sugar toast and the sound of a woodpecker in some near part of the woods. It’s the familiar smell of freshly-mown grass, my Grandaddy’s bump truck, white ankle socks with lace trim, galloping over an elaborate steeplechase course designed from brooms and overturned buckets pretending I’m a horse. Home where my Grandmama keeps a nightgown of my very own in her dresser because I’m there so often. Azaleas ablaze. Wild, creeping honeysuckle. Haphazard pine needles. Moss-covered river rocks and deviled eggs and porch swings. Going home home.
I really did have a fairty-tale growing-up back then and back there.
Since I’ve been doing a lot of meditating on Easter, I’ve also been thinking about our Easter traditions. In my family, the Easter Bunny always stuffed overflowing Easter baskets into hidden corners of our house. We had to hunt for them first thing Easter morning before putting on our new Easter clothes. For my sister and me, there were always new spring-colored, twirly dresses and bows. My brother would be in a matching collared shirt. There were white shoes and always Easter hats.
I remember the last time I wore a hat on Easter Sunday. I was around 12 years old and a self-declared tomboy. My mother even had to bribe me to wear a skirt that year. I refused to smile in any picture, scowling from beneath the wide-brimmed white straw contraption. A ribbon flowed down the back. We’d spent hours in the mall seeking compromise, my mother and I. After cajoling, threatening, bribing, we settled on a polka-dot one piece ensemble where the skirt only looked like a skirt from the outside. On the inside it was shorts. And that hat.
Now that I think about it, that was probably our last Easter in Raleigh.
After getting all dolled up, we’d go across the street to my grandparent’s house and take Easter pictures. Then, we’d all go to church for Easter Sunday, with a fresh flower clipped from the blossoming garden. There’d be a cross waiting, chicken-wired to gather the flower-offerings.
A garland of flowers to replace the crown of thorns.
Rebirth was in, among, surrounding us. Spring mingled with the rising of our Savior.
I LOVE making holidays special for my girls just as my family made them special for me. And I have the best role model - my own mom is the most thoughtful person I know when it comes to holidays and details. She always (and still does) made us feel special on our birthdays and steeped every holiday in tradition of some sort. I may struggle in the homemaking department, but dreaming up holiday surprises are a no-brainer thanks to my childhood. To this day she still sends us heaping packages for every occasion.
I’m super excited about an Easter surprise that I’m putting together for Kyle and the girls, and just the dreaming of it makes me feel close to my mama. Hopefully, it’ll stick for every year after this one. :)
|while I was out last night getting supplies for my surprise, Daddy fed the girls dinner. This is what happens when the cat's away...|
In the last couple of years, we’ve spent Easter with our “families” - either our Navy family or our church family in OK. Other than a big dinner, we haven’t done more of the traditional activities because we figured Meggie was too little to remember.
We tried last year, but ended up in the ER holding our daredevil as her forehead was stitched up and listening to the resident physician refer to AV as a “potential sibling.”
But, THIS year, our biggest girl is soaking in all kinds of new experiences and really processing them, so we’re adding into our weekend a practice Easter egg hunt in our backyard tomorrow, dying Easter eggs, and baking Easter sugar cookies. Their matching Easter dresses are freshly laundered and hanging up, white ankle socks trimmed with lace nestled in the top drawer of the dresser.
Leading up to this weekend, we’ve been adding more about why we celebrate Easter into our conversations with Meggie. Just the other day we were talking about forgiveness. How when you genuinely seek forgiveness your mistakes are wiped away - as if they never happened.
“And you know what else, Meggie? Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but that’s not the end! On the third day - on EASTER - Jesus rose from the dead. He came alive again! So that one day, when you make the decision to trust and believe in Jesus and ask Jesus to come into your heart, you can live forever with Jesus in Heaven! Meggie, he did that for you! What do you think about that?”
“It’s the GOOD NEWS!” She exclaimed. Oh my dear girl, she gets it.
Right now, we hunt for eggs and tie our bows and make a hundred desserts for a breaking of the bread - but when my girls are grown and getting sentimental, I hope they remember the good news most of all.
As well as the azaleas.
Er. Palm trees. :/
AND. To add to my sentimentality, I got out all of Meggie’s old 12-18 month summer clothes for AV today. AV’s bigger at her age now than Meggie was, so she’s almost out of 12 months and completely in 18, but we hadn’t needed the summer stuff in OK since we left during winter. Here, where it’s eternally summer, I’m over the moon at getting a second round out of them.
Opening the box made me teary. I have specific memories of Meggie in just about every outfit. Her first summer was one of my favorites. She was running everywhere and independent. I was finally emerging from the first-time baby shell-shock period and lost the last bits of baby weight. We were each other’s companions, and happy.
Now my AV gets to share these memories by making her own in them. How did I get so lucky?
|Here she is! Still teething.|
|Meggie's my "little mother." Such a caregiver, she saw that AV had taken her shoe off, so she sat right down to help her put it back on.|
|I love the way AV is looking at Meg. Such adoration. Or is that...your shirt looks tasty - can I have a nibble?|
|She was only 13 months old - taking off everywhere!|
|this was the face that always made people say, "MY! She does look like Kyle!" :)|