The first thing Mildred said upon waking Sunday morning was, "C'mon! It's the happiest day of the year!"
The darkness and bleak mourning of Good Friday become something truly Good only with the risen Christ. Death fell, defeated; past, present, and future are firmly sealed; and Easter Sunday is the happiest day of the year.
From Madeleine L'Engle's poem Three Days, in which Mary speaks:
Dear God, He has come, the Word has come again.
There is no terror left in silence, in clouds, in gloom.
He has conquered the hate; he has overcome the pain.
Where, days ago, was death lies only an empty tomb.
The secret should have come to me with his birth,
when glory shone through darkness, peace through strife.
For every birth follows a kind of death,
and only after pain comes life.
I stayed up late making everything for Easter dinner that could be made ahead of time, and at Mildred's request, I made sticky buns for breakfast (see buildabelly for details). I also washed the table and set it. You may not be impressed, but this is amazing work for a procrastinator...
On Saturday night, the girls and I made bunny lollipops, and they somehow found their way to the breakfast plates. It was a kind of pleasant torture for the girls to see them, hold them, and not be allowed to eat them until the ride home from church.
We arrived home from our hour-long journey from church and immediately set about the final preparations for the meal. My parents and two of my brothers came for the feast, and they helped. Mom scurried around the kitchen with me, finishing sauces and boiling potatoes, Dad stirred the punch, John made salad into art, and Joel took the burden of resting upon himself. (The girls had completely tuckered him out...)
Annika didn't let him recover for long, though.
And here's Luke, dutifully reading to Millie while she...sucks her toes?!???!?
And that's it! I took no pictures of our feast table, all spread with glass, green, and yellow, no pictures of the sizzling ham, and no pictures of the feasters themselves.
It was yummy. Let this list stand in for snapshots:
Spiced Honey Ham
Sour Cherry Sauce
Roasted Garlic & Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean and Carrot Medley
Streusal-Topped Cheesy Broccoli
Corn (thanks to Mom freezing last harvest, we all ate golden pieces of summertime)
Fruity Jello Salad
Tossed Spring Salad
Home-canned Dill Pickles
Summer Squash and Red Pepper Pickles
Home-canned Chunky Applesauce
Cream Puffs (yummiest ever; thanks, Mom!)
Lemon Meringue Pie
Blushing Moon table wine
I did take a few pictures of leftovers, though, which can be found You Know Where.
I only had time to fire off a shot or two for each girl during basket-hunting. Here they are; excuse the blurriness. We had to coax Susannah to climb on top of the play set; she was more interested in the swings, and needed a nudge or two to find the basket.
She was so pleased with herself that one would think it was HER genius that prompted the climb and subsequent discovery.
Annika scoured the shed and came up empty-handed.
She should have known that her unimaginative mama simply turned a wheelbarrow upside down.
She did like the peeps, looks be darned.
And now for Millie.
She was frustrated at first.
Then she jumped up and down.
And then, lickety-split, she played Squirrel-mimic.
For the sake of something.
You wouldn't know it to look at these pictures, but, though short, this was the most miserable picture session. By that, I mean that I was the Most Miserable Mama Bear ever. I've decided that I should just give up on trying to make three sweetlings sit still and SMILE, especially when the oldest and the youngest have been awake since five o'clock in the morning. I usually disagree with the practice of posing one's children like puppets just for the sake of getting a good picture, whether the end result looks candid and natural or formally posed (though I grudgingly admit that there are appropriate times, this day wasn't one of them).
Okay. Nine months from now, I'll probably forget this and try to take pictures of them in Christmas dresses...remind me.
So, three cheers to these three girls, who forgive me so readily for my failings. They act more Christlike in their simple forgiveness and forsaking of sin than I do with my eternal memory, and I would do well to wholly forgive others the way that they forgive me.
The first picture I took. Looks like fun, eh?
Here's the happy one when we began.
Here's what happened when I asked them to smile.
Here's the Enough's Enough one when I decided to put us out of our misery.
And here's where we ended. When I wasn't looking, Susannah was zapped with the Shrinking Ray. Poor thing.
Annika's easy to take pictures of, because all I have to do is make up silly stories about elephants, and she grins. The only problem is that she punctuates these grins with elephant trumpet noises, so my trigger finger has to be fast to catch only the grins.
Susannah was crazy tired. Here's the first picture I took of her. She's mimicking Annika, who tried to make her grin.
Then she immediately flopped down on the table and removed her hat, so here's the second picture.
And the last two, while still lying on the table.
Millie likes these holiday shoots as little as I do, so I told her we'd skip solo pictures of her if she didn't want me to take any. She wanted "a few" taken, but I only took the one before Annika's shrieks made us both jump up. Susannah had fallen down while playing, and the side of her head was covered with blood that continued to spurt down onto her belly while she screamed. Moms, here's your warning...BEWARE THE BARRETTE.
Innocuous, yes. Deadly, YES.
I ran over to Becky's (it's so convenient to have a calm sister next door), and she helped me corral the older girls in the living room while we washed off Susannah's head. She's fine. She has a nasty gash on her head but nothing requiring stitches, and Millie told me, in all seriousness, that she wished Susannah's hair was really that pretty color. (Before I washed her up, Susannah's matted hair was a classy shade of blood-maroon.)
Here ends the tale. Take heed of these two truths. Only let your daughters wear metal clips while they're wearing straight jackets! And posed pictures are evil!
The girls dyed their hands along with some eggs the day before Easter. I annoyed them by taking pictures of the glasses in the house's only sunny window before I let them spill color in the kitchen. (There's no need to comment on how pathetic I am.)
Millie told me straightforwardly and with no hint of jealousy that she thinks Annika knows how to make prettier Easter eggs than she does. Really, Annika's secret is simple. She scientifically dunks each egg in nearly every color. Observe.
The method requires great concentration.
For the sake of efficiency (and because there's only so much that you'll all endure), I'll skip the pictures of dunks two and three. Here's dunk the fourth.
Dunk the fifth.
Skipping dunks six and seven, for the reasons stated above...
While she finishes dunk the eighth, she streamlines her efforts by simultaneously beginning a dunk the first on a new victim.