Did I Ruin The Magic of Easter this Year? Maybe, But I’m OK With That
So, it's officially day two after Easter and I have a small confession for you... this year, my daughter and I didn't dye Easter eggs. I had plenty of opportunity and all the supplies to do it. I just... didn't want to. I didn't want to deal with the bowls of stinky dye and the inevitable cup of spilled dye all over the counter and floors. I didn't want to deal with the breakdown that an egg didn't turn out. I didn't want to deal with scrubbing my white countertops for an hour with a magic eraser to get the blue dye out. So, I didn't.
And thankfully - she's still here and has undergone minor scarring as a result.
I spend every New Years, Valentine's Day, Easter, Father's Day, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas making sure my family has a MAGICAL time. I also plan out vacations, and birthdays, and tea parties, and school parties, and play dates, and picnics, and everything else that my daughter could possibly think of and consider each and every detail. Now, that we are in quarantine - I've become her teacher, her coach, her playmate, her parent, her bestie, her lunch lady, her hair stylist, and everything else she wants or needs.
Now, before you get all up on your high horse, it's not like she went without on Easter... This past Sunday, I coordinated a detailed egg hunt and an Easter basket filled with things she wanted. I somehow got my family to church on time for a drive-in church. And then I made a complete Easter meal on the fly with ham, pasta salad, parm potatoes, broccoli au gratin, and orange cake. We even read a special Easter book before bed to help her understand the true meaning of the holiday. Spoiler alert: for us, it's not about dying eggs or baskets anyway.
But she made sure to remind me that we didn't dye eggs this year...
My reply was simply: maybe next year.
And that's okay! I'm done beating myself up over "missed opportunities to make memories." That's the crap that I tell myself. She's only little once - squeeze it all in. But at what price? MY SANITY? MY MOOD? HER COLLEGE FUND?
As parents (usually moms but not always) we are responsible for making things magical. My mom did it for me. I have so many great holiday memories. My mom handmade a custom costume for me every Halloween. No store bought junk for us! Well, guess who has continued that tradition? We start scheming in July and I love it. But if I can't go to 15 different candy trails and camp out in a Halloween themed cabin and visit the Halloween theme park and make sure all the neighbors and family see her costume. I just can't. But I also can't let it get to me.
This past year, our favorite Santa helper passed away so I had to find a suitable replacement. After our third (THIRD) Santa - we talked about the fact that all the Santas here in Indiana were helpers. The real one has to stay at the North Pole and supervise elves making toys. Why didn't I just tell her that from the beginning?
And don't even get me started on having to buy outfits for every. single. occasion. every. single. year.
By now the bar is set high. She has certain expectations and things she looks forward to. But, life is full of disappointments. And I promise you - I'm giving it my best.
It's a LOT. And, I have to learn to give myself grace now and then. She will too.
And I'm not the only one who felt the pressure of making childhood magical - and how much harder lockdown has made it. My friend Sarah posted on Facebook that she didn't do baskets for her boys with the hashtag sorrynotsorry. Another friend posted that she didn't miss driving around to the 15 egg hunts that go along with Easter these days but stuffing a million eggs for her kids to find was not a fun Saturday night.
But honestly, maybe minimizing holidays allows you to focus on a few really good memories. We spend so much time running around and making every detail perfect, we forget to focus in on a few and be present in them. And childhood is just... magical. You see the world differently because you aren't the one planning every detail. You build blanket forts because it's fun to hide out - not because you are standing above it all thinking about the mess you have to clean up. Maybe minimizing the details would allow me to not think about the mess afterwards and enjoy the present.
We've had seven Easter egg dying sessions thus far. And there will be more. Just not this year...