Bright Spots: New Easter Celebrations

Typically, we spend Easter Sunday in a pleasant frenzy. Getting dressed up.  Coordinating gifts for the boys with the Easter Bunny. Serving at Mass. Cooking up something small to add to the feast we would inevitably share with my extended family, all 30+ of us crammed into some relative’s home to celebrate the holiday.

This year is, obviously, more subdued. I think it’s easy for me to mourn the Easter that could have been — and to feel annoyed with this pandemic and its effects on my life, particularly in light of this holiday’s importance to my faith and to my entire family.

And that emotional weight seems a bit heavier when I take into account:

  1. I haven’t seen my extended family in over a month.
  2. My grandparents wish that they could see my kids and me, since being around their grandchildren and great-grandchildren is one of their highlights of any holiday.
  3. I’m continuing to grapple with my sense of parental failure, particularly since I dropped the ball a bit and completely overlooked compiling an Easter basket for Tadashi and Hiro.

Going into this Easter Sunday — particularly last night, as I prepared to fall asleep — I wrestled with an overall sense of sadness, frustration, and emptiness. How could this day be special when it seems like everything has gone so wrong?

But here, at the end of the day, is where I’ll pause. And reflect on what actually has transpired. And I’ll encourage myself to reframe this situation: While this day started seeming less than ideal, what bright spots can I glean from how we were “forced” to celebrate this?

So, on that note, here are some bright spots from this slightly weird Easter celebration:

  • Because we’re in a pandemic, we had a pantry filled with a lot of different snacks and goodies. So I was able to grab a few Tadashi- and Hiro-friendly snacks, repackage them in Easter baskets from last year, and have little presents set up for them 20 minutes before they woke up. They were particularly fond of the artificial grass.
  • Because we’re in a pandemic, we couldn’t attend Easter Sunday Mass. However, our neighborhood parish has been live-streaming their services, and Reggie and I were able to partake in Mass — while allowing Tadashi and Hiro to run around and play, without worrying about wrangling them or ensuring they weren’t too disruptive.
  • Because we’re in a pandemic, we couldn’t visit our family like we typically do. Instead, we video-chatted with everyone to greet them a “Happy Easter” — and Noah even surprised my grandma with a smile and a wave through the screen.
  • Because we’re in a pandemic, we didn’t have a large family gathering. But I was able to spend the day with just my husband and my kids. And, for the first time in recent memory, I was able to make them special homemade meals. Vegan French toast bake with bacon, fresh fruit, coffee, and mimosas for breakfast. Pork tenderloin, crispy smashed potatoes, and brown sugar glazed carrots for dinner. Vegan lemon cake topped with a vegan lemon buttercream and enjoyed at our tiny, scratched-up dining table, right after the boys took their afternoon nap.

So, yes, this Easter was not as frenzied. And, yes, I was saddened that I couldn’t see my parents and my siblings and my grandparents and my nieces and nephews. And, yes, I still struggle a bit as each day in this quarantine passes.

But I can also see the bright spots. I’m grateful that my little family is healthy. I’m grateful that I have stable employment right now. I’m grateful for technology, which enables me to stay connected with all my loved ones as I miss them more and more each day. I’m grateful for how resilient little kids are, as they’ve shown me how easily they can adapt to these uncertain times, so long as Reggie and I continue to provide them with a safe emotional space. I’m grateful that this time has forced Reggie and me to discuss aspects of our relationship that we probably would have ignored otherwise. I’m grateful that I can spend this much time with my two young boys — I would never have imagined this was possible as a full-time working mom. I’m grateful that I’m a bit of a packrat, since that enabled me to throw together a little surprise for my boys to make their morning a bit more special.

And I’m just grateful that, amidst all this uncertainty and global stress, we can still find moments of joy and the energy to celebrate what’s important.

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