Today is Easter Monday. We aren’t religious and I haven’t a clue what this day signifies in the Easter story but, for us and for many modern families, it is the day of recovering from general overindulgence – or at least declaring that we will stop overeating and drinking tomorrow at the very latest. I’m tucking into a beer right now, to illustrate my point.
Other than weddings and funerals, I make just three trips to church a year: for the school Christmas, Harvest and Easter services. To be honest, with two preschoolers in tow, I rarely stay long enough to smell the flower displays on these occasions, choosing to dump the lad and leg it, to avoid very public toddler meltdowns.
Thankfully, H’s school teaches the basics about why we celebrate each of the religious festivals, saving me the job of doing so. H is aware that Easter is about Jesus dying and rising again. Whilst I agree that we should all know why we are taking four days off and stuffing our faces with chocolate, explaining these things to a sensitive six year old can be challenging, especially when you are not remotely religious yourself. He was, understandably, pretty distressed about the idea of the crucifixion. Who wouldn’t be? In an ideal world, no six year old would have to try to understand the cruelty of humans, so vividly illustrated. Plus, discussing rising from the dead, when you have gone to great lengths to explain why the cat who died last year isn’t coming back, can be a bit of a tricky one. Sort of undoes all my hard work too, so thanks for that, God.
It was quite a relief when the Easter holidays started and the religious questions that school had put in H’s head could be put on hold for a while to let our own pretty Godless version of Easter begin. Aside from way too many chocolate eggs and various egg hunts, Easter for us means much needed family time, but also a chance to do all the dull jobs we put off on a normal weekend because we run out of time.
The big task this weekend has been emptying the sideboard. Yes, I know, far from thrilling but it had to be done as we are about to embark on a pretty major reorganisation and decoration of the living room. And that means getting rid of our lovely big sideboard, which was stuffed to the gunnels with all sorts of crap. It simply won’t fit in when we buy a bigger table, to accommodate Baby T: sadly we can’t restrain him in his highchair forever.
I’ve spent much of the weekend dumping long forgotten books, cutting down on DVDs and reorganising our remaining storage space as if my life depended on it. I waved a fond farewell to my old furniture friend this evening, for a measly £40. Sadly, it was the kid or the sideboard. It was a close one but I think dumping your youngest because you really want to keep a large piece of wooden furniture would be frowned upon. If watching our buyers struggling to get this massive hunk of wood into their large estate car hadn’t been so funny, I might have wept to see it go.
To get over the pain of impending furniture loss, we launched into making H’s school project on Saturday. His class are looking at all things Oz next term and he had to make an Australian animal during the holidays. We deliberated over this long and hard and, just when he seemed to have decided on a crocodile made of egg boxes, he switched (with slight parental pushing) to an echidna. Long nose, spikes – all sounded pretty easy to me. Plus no paint required, which is always a plus. But throw in the four year old also wanting to make one (she opted for a hedgehog, having no clue what an echidna was), plus the baby refusing to nap and clinging to my legs throughout, and it was an hour I’d rather not re-live. But we got there and everyone was pretty happy with the end result (although I was less pleased with T’s contribution of snot smears all over my trouser legs from all that clinging).
Despite dull reorganising and slightly painful craft sessions, we have had some fantastic family time this weekend too. No Easter would be complete without seeing my much adored family, so Sunday was spent doing egg hunts and having a rather chilly barbecue. I think it was a really lovely afternoon but my memory is a little blurry round the edges as it involved Dad’s killer Pimms, mixed with no more than a splash of lemonade per two litre bottle. It was delicious but a tad potent, so we moved on to Prosecco to wash it down after the third bucket full. We were entertained by the cousins creating a (mercifully short) Fairies vs Superheroes show, which we were all then required to review in writing, which was strangely formal but very endearing.
Despite being a movable feast, a good Easter weekend always feels like the start of Spring and warmer times to me. Spring has been a long time coming this year with way too much cloud and cold but as I type this the sun is finally shining and the kids are ‘helping’ their Dad do the gardening in t-shirts, rather than eight layers of wool. Hopefully a taste of sunny times to come.
Although, as always after a packed weekend and a late night sleepover, all three kids are already gearing up for a hideous evening and much exhausted angst before an early bedtime. You can’t have the chocolate fuelled ups without the mardy, miserable, all-Eastered-out downs.
Despite our Godless take on this particular holiday, it was all as it should be in my view, with a decent mix of practical accomplishments and fun (without a church in sight). Sideboard sold, echidna made and garden tidied, plus faces stuffed and eggs hunted.
But, more importantly than all that, good family times had.