Easter weekend arrived on the heels of a hard week, proving to be anything but “typical” when a series of unexpected trauma triggers rewrote the script we planned for Easter Sunday.
It was with heavy hearts and weary spirits that we moved into the Easter weekend.
It began with a not-so-Good Friday when we found ourselves at the emergency room with Ozzie in crisis.
An evaluation brought awareness that hospitalization was necessary. We arrived midafternoon and I spent the night sitting up in a chair while an open bed at a pediatric mental health hospital was sought out for Oz. Seven hours later a bed was secured and at 8:30am the ambulance arrived to transport him. The sun was already up when I dragged myself back to the parking lot for the heavy-hearted and painful drive home. I was physically exhausted from sitting up all night with Ozzie and emotionally weary from this long, lonely, rollercoaster ride we can’t seem to stop. After a few hours of sleep I rolled out of bed. Toby and I were both tapped dry but we had to rally. We couldn’t let the choices of one child steal the joy of the Easter holiday from the other children. Too many sacrifices have already made for the sake of the higher-needs children in the home and we weren’t going to allow the discouragement that weighed down our hearts, darken the joy of the day. So, Toby and I, exhausted and empty, headed out shopping for Easter baskets and egg coloring supplies. I found myself moving in a fog as I tried to figure out what to put into Easter baskets. I don’t know if it was bone-deep fatigue or the heaviness of grief over another unplanned detour in our family’s journey, but I felt like I couldn’t put together a complete thought, much less a creative plan.
It took us twice as long as it should have but Toby and I finally came up with a plan for Easter baskets and purchased the remaining ingredients needed for egg decorating and for the side dishes we were assigned to bring to Easter dinner.
We battled the crowds and the long lines associated with putting off holiday shopping until the day before, and eventually made it home.
In the hours that followed the eggs were hard boiled and colored, baskets were secretly assembled, Molly’s talk for Easter Sunday was printed out, Sunday clothes were washed and ironed, and soon it was time for bed. With everyone home and tucked into bed, and Ozzie safely cared for at Western Psych, I could finally sleep.
We awoke at 4:00 am to the harsh ring of the alarm clock.
We crawled from bed to do our Easter duty, going through the motions of childhood traditions, allowing the kids to be kids for another year.
While we don’t have any “bunny believers” left in our home, the “Easter Bunny” returned for another year. His arrival was especially critical this year, as we shared the joy of our Easter traditions with Braden who missed out on many of these special traditions as a child. He didn’t have a childhood filled with memories of colored eggs and Easter baskets, so we knew that it was important that his first Easter with us contain those beloved traditions. He needed an Easter basket. It was essential. He needed to be given a piece of our shared Easter memories, and needed the opportunity to be experience the joyful anticipation of being that 5-year-old little boy who exits his room in anticipation of baskets and brightly colored eggs hidden around the house. I know it sounds silly and indulgent given the crisis situation we were in. An Easter basket for a 17-year-old boy may not seem as urgent as other needs playing out in our home, but it was incredibly important, and I would even argue that it was essential.
And the effects of our efforts…our display of tender love and parental care… were priceless.
The joy of Easter morning moved into the joy of Easter worship as we celebrated the reason for the day, giving thanks for the atoning sacrifice that is the source of our hope and our strength.
After church we headed to Aunt Beth’s house for Easter dinner with Toby’s side of the family.
We were joined by Zach, Gracie’s boyfriend, who had Easter lunch with our family at 2:00 before Grace joined Zach at his family’s Easter dinner at 5:00.
We enjoyed good food and fun times with family, celebrating all of our blessings, but especially the blessing a God’s love, Christ’s atonement, forgiveness, do-overs, love-driven endurance, unconditional love, and forever families.
We are blessed.
The darkest days and the most heartbreaking, hopeless Fridays are always followed by the renewing promise and hopeful gift of Easter morning.
God is good…