Thursday, April 3, 2008

Catch Up #2

OK, so let's begin with Easter. I was SO excited about Easter. There's nothing I like more about having beloved family around me than having beloved family around me in my house. Any guest who has ever visited my house - if forced to be completely honest - would confess that my cooking is less than perfectly timed, my house is less than perfectly clean, and my "plans" are less than perfectly planned. But that's what I love about it all - we just join in one house and let it all hang out!

Aunt Lisa, Uncle Brad, Jessica, Andrew, and Dad (and Esther, Dad's black lab) all came in from Louisville (you shoulda seen the creative sleeping arrangements - Dad & Esther ended up in the basement closet!) for the weekend of Easter. By the time everyone arrived on Sat, it was decided (ok, I decided) that the theme for the weekend would be, "Everyone participates in everything." To drive this point home, we began the day with an Easter Egg dying contest. When Jessica (8th grade) responded with, "Oh my gosh, it's been like forever since I did this!" my excitement about the activity only escalated. Because, really, it had been awhile since ANY of us had done it. Uncle Brad won the contest with a cleverly died egg: one half blue for the KY Wildcats and one half red for (no, NOT the Louisville cards) the Ohio State Bucks. I don't care if he was kissing up to the judge (me) - total points for creativity.

Then we spent the afternoon snacking (on guacamole and peeps, which then evolved into a peep war... looks at photos below. This entertainment is far too sophisticated to go into detail about. Just trust me - it's fun) and preparing two whole chickens for dinner (needed TONS of help from Aunt Lisa on this one as I'd never cooked ANYTHING whole in my life - I have a knack for requiring assistance in the kitchen). Uncle Brad, Aunt Lisa, Scott and I had a delightful conversation about faith and church while Jess (actually, I think she was reading), Andrew and Dad watched NCAA basketball. Jackson? He just got tossed around from person to person!

Picture #1: Peeps prepared for war
Picture #2: Peeps in battle (yes, a microwave and toothpicks are involved)
Then dinner, then family taboo, then an outdoor flashlight easter egg hunt (thanks, beth, for the idea!), then family cranium. Then TO BED!

Sunday morning we all were amazingly efficient shower-takers and headed off to church for Easter Sunday. Last year I was pregnant and Dad and Mom had come into town for Easter. I remember at the start of last year's service, the choir sang this most incredibly beautiful hymn. I have no idea what it was. With Mom directly to my right, her bald head (radiation) hidden behind a purple knit hat and that melody just inviting us all into a sacred space, I wept. And it wasn't a pretty weeping. It was more like sobbing. It was a "I have a feeling I will not have my mom around much longer, I'm so glad I am spending Easter with her, Will she get to meet my babies, I wish she could be well now" cry. It was uncontollable. And I couldn't cut bait and leave the service - we were seated near the front. I had not prepared with tissues. And my mascara, I felt sure, was staining my face. But the, despite my attempt to get it together, the tears just kept coming. All the way through the song... a hand from behind me came out of nowhere offering several tissues. Thank goodness I could saturate all that moisture with something. I was so emotional, I couldn't even look back to respond. I just received that tissue like I was receiving it from someone I knew well, an undersdtanding between the giver and the receiver. That emotional period passed, like it had been THERE and then it was GONE. The rest of the service I felt zero sadness. After the service, I turned to my wonderful stranger friend and discreetly said, "Thanks, you were a lifesaver." The woman, who had clearly observed Mom's condition and maybe even mine, whispered in my ear, "I've been exactly where you are. Just remember, you're being prayed for." Ahh. That was almost, but not quite, enough to set me off again.

I tell this story of our Easter one year ago to explain that I walked into church this year a bit anxious. I was fearful that perhaps I would hear that same song again (wouldn't be able to pick it out of a song sheet, but would know it if I heard it) and it would be a ROUGH hour to get through. But no such song. I still teared up several times thinking about Mom. It was a special time.
Jackson looking dapper Easter morning

The Fam - Tiff, Sophia's mom, is taking the photo. See Sophia in Jess's arms?

After church, we got going in the kitchen again. Tiffanie and Sophia came one over from the down the street as well as good friend Amy Avery. There were a total of 11 of us dining together. Yummy. It seemed fun was had by all. The McClains and Dad headed back to Louisville after Easter lunch. The Arthurs then toted themselves over to Grandma and Poppie Arthur's home for a yummy dinner and Easter Basket spoiling. Jackson spent more time with cousin Dillon there.

Once home, we had the house to ourselves... until we headed on our next adventure, two days later!!!

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