At Ash Wednesday Mass, our family was asked to carry up the gifts for the first time. Our sons had been asked, and John and I were asked before becoming parents, but we had never been asked as a family.
Then on Easter Sunday, our family was asked again to take up the gifts.
It was really lovely to be part of two such different Masses, each so meaningful, each so moving. I’ve been reflecting all week on what it might mean. Should I be thinking about how I am being pressed into service in some new way? Should I be seeing that I need to participate more actively in my faith? Do I need to place the Eucharist more firmly in the center of my life?
It could mean many things. But the thought I keep coming back to is just that that invitation to bring the bread and wine forward was simply a beautiful gift—no strings attached, no expectations. Maybe it was just a lovely, tangible sign of God’s love and grace in our lives.
One day last week I carefully packed our fifth grader’s lunch and forgot to put his lunchbox into his backpack. When I came home, he said, “You didn’t pack me a lunch!”
I was horrified. What kind of mother sends her child to school without a lunch?
“Oh, no! What did you do? Did you buy something from the cafeteria?”
“I bought chips and an ice cream.”
“Oh. So…you were fine.”
Chips and an ice cream? That sounds like the best lunch ever. Why am I getting up early to make him a salad every day?
Then this week he forgot to take his trumpet to school one day, and I received an email from the music teacher asking me to deliver it. I felt better that I’m not the only forgetful member of the family. And I felt happy that our fifth grader still needs me.
We went to confession on Holy Saturday in a church we had never visited before. The people who were just hours away from receiving the Easter sacraments were preparing for Easter Vigil as we waited in line at the back of the church. I was so inspired to think of how the Holy Spirit is at work even at this moment in our Church’s history.
The line for confession was so long. We waited about an hour and a half to see the priest, and when we left, there were 20 people in line behind us. It was so moving to think that people wanted so much to deepen their relationship with Jesus and receive God’s grace in a special way.
Our sons always leave baskets out on Holy Saturday for the Easter Bunny to fill, but my husband and I don’t have baskets—though we have stockings for Santa and leave out our shoes for St. Nicholas.
But our sweet, thoughtful, and maybe a little enterprising 9-year-old decided we really needed a basket. So, he took our Lenten prayer intention basket and placed it in between the boys’ baskets with a sign labeling it for Mom and Dad.
“Don’t be sad if you don’t get anything this year,” he told me. “You can always try again next year.”
But the Easter Bunny filled it with playing cards, noodles, and candy. Happy Easter, indeed.
Did you dye eggs for Easter? We traditionally dye ours on Holy Saturday, but that day ended up being full of lots of other things, and we ran out of time. So, we dyed ours on Easter Sunday. Because we weren’t hosting and just had a few things to bring to my parents’ house for dinner, we had plenty of time to dye them.
We always have fun dyeing the eggs. But somehow we haven’t eaten any of them. I guess we’re having hard-boiled eggs for dinner.
When we finished Easter dinner, I started spooning out bunny ice cream sundaes for dessert. My 3-year-old goddaughter had brought her chocolate bunny with her to eat, and she sat down and started unwrapping it.
And its ears broke off.
That’s the kind of problem that’s fine when you’re not 3. But, even though her 4-year-old big sister was happily laughing as she nibbled off her bunny’s ears and nose, my goddaughter wanted her bunny fixed.
It was sad—and also a little funny. Ultimately the bunny didn’t need its ears. She was going to eat them. That was the whole point of the bunny, in fact. But it’s hard to have that perspective when you’re that age, when little things can seem so, so big, when the chocolate bunny you got for Easter is an extraordinary treasure.
Today I’m going on a fifth-grade field trip to Annapolis. It’s a busy time of year for me at work, so taking a day seems a little extravagant. And I’ve been working all week to try to get ahead so I could take the time to go.
But he’s in fifth grade. I don’t know how many more field trips he will want me to go on. And I know with absolute certainty that there will always be more work to do. There won’t always be more fifth-grade field trips.
So off we go. I can’t wait!
Find more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum, and have a wonderful weekend!