There are little rituals which repeat themselves in our daily lives over and over again. They are like the bookends of our day, keeping everything in place, secured upright. Morning coffee, bedtime stories and everything in between, they shape our sense of order. They define the “us” that fits around a family like a snug cardigan.
I love these rituals. I love knowing what Joel will do every night before bed. I love knowing how he takes his coffee. I love knowing what Ella will call out to us in the morning when she wakes. Our daily walks. Our cooking meals. Our reading stories. These are the intricate details, the bones of our private life, that only we have the privilege of witnessing, and they are what we will remember – long after the shine of holidays fade – to be the things which represent the family we are.
That being said, Lord have mercy: Hallmark Holidays. You love them, right?
But hate them just a little bit, too?
We celebrate little things all the time. A beautiful sunrise? Let’s chuck our coffee in a thermos and head to the cliffs to watch it. A thunderstorm? Let’s turn the lights off, light a million candles and read stories on the couch. We made it to Friday? Let’s order Thai and have a dance-off in the lounge room. We celebrate these little things and we know that in doing so, they make our lives richer, because they are unique to us – our family’s own little legacy. They are the gold fillings among an otherwise ordinary set of teeth.
And then the Hallmark Holidays hit – the ones everybody shares – and we join in. We paint the eggs and we go on the egg hunts and we might dust a few bunny prints around the place if we’re feeling extra creative. It’s fun. It’s the fun part of parenting where instead of saying no, we say look!. Instead of diving into the breakfast drill and the shower routines, we stay in our jammies and we look for evidence of MAGIC. Of secret amazing bunnies that come when we’re asleep and plant shiny chocolate eggs around the place for us to find.
The thing about Hallmark Holidays is that we’re always looking sideways. We’re seeing how everybody else does Easter, and if maybe they’re doing it better. Having more fun. Making better traditions.
I’m getting better though, at looking upon other people, other families, other lives and saying “that’s nice” instead of “that’s better”. There are things that make them them, just like there are things that make us us. And while we could always do, create and have more, I’m finally seeing that the way we roll is enough.
Like a $3 Easter activity book plucked from the Woolworths shelf three days before Easter because Shit! Easter!
Like heading to the Easter fair down at our little beach.
(I asked Joel to take a photo and this is all he got – said he was being arty.)
Like a last-minute Easter egg hunt whipped together while Ella had a day sleep because apparently the Easter bunny is suffering major fatigue this year and could not fathom organizing one after the children went to bed the night before.
Like little bunny tails.
Like time with Joel’s family.
And time with mine.
Like an Easter gift for Ella to collect her chicken eggs each morning, which she is already putting to good use.
These times of year are fun. My festive dial always gets crazy- high during calendar holidays. But I also know that if they don’t always measure up to “happy families” and “best day ever” which, Lord knows, they certainly won’t always, it doesn’t really matter. What matters are the Sunday night BBQs with our neighbours, our kids running bare-bummed through the backyard. What matters are the movie nights we treat ourselves to on a Friday. The annual Farmstay trips. The daily ritual of collecting our chicken eggs.
Those are the things, repeated over and over again, which make up family life, our family’s life — the pages in our ever-growing book and the book which only we could ever write.
This is us.
Merry Easter, friends.
And also, how cute is my baby boy??