Sunday, April 18, 2010

Our Easter with Family

Alleluia! He has risen!

Flying west during this family visit offered all a perfect mixture and balance of; Faith, Family and Friends.

Our days included many sacred and rich traditional days during Holy Week, something we were looking forward to partaking in while over there.

We weren't able to attend the Easter Vigil, however on Easter morning, the beauty displayed inside of the church was breathtaking and the Easter morning mass was so very uplifting.

You can bet, as people began to leave the church afterward, I felt an urge to remain behind, lapping up the peaceful silence while those still about me were offering their final prayers and thanksgivings for the day.

I didn't feel any hurry to depart in haste, and really didn't feel inclined to leave until I was able to lite several candles, one for each item on my promised prayer request list, ensuring I was able to send those spiritual love offerings heavenward.

There is always so much to pray for and so much to be thankful for. In my own heart, Easter Sunday was such a perfect time to spend a few extra moments with my heavenly Father, my God who knows all my mother's heart dreams and aspirations for my children/grandchildren, and all of my hopes for my husband and our future as a couple.

In the quiet of the church, once more I could firmly entrust all my cares to Him.

Easter Sunday

A time for all things incredibly promising, bright and most beautiful.

A time for hope.

A time for peace.

A time for thanksgiving.

A time for family love and gathering round for a full day's visit.

Gather we did, and everything couldn't feel more right with the world than to have all of our family near to us, treasuring the final day we would be all together.

For Jenn :)

We all understood what this day meant for us, at least for the bulk of us it was commonly thought of as a no-brainer. This would be the last family gathering before we were to leave and head back to our home in the east.

Our Easter Sunday gathering would not have been made possible without our son and daughter in law becoming good sports about their dad taking over the kitchen, that's for sure. Imagine being kicked out of your own kitchen! grin... Thanks again you two!

I believe this was one of the first Easter Sunday's in history when I/we weren't officially in charge of the dinner in our home.
It felt a bit odd for me to just show up and not be required to roll up my sleeves to work. Our older daughter had hosted Easter brunches for all of us, but usually for the most part, I was in charge of the dinners. Even since our move to the east, we've created our own feasting ourselves.

Our Easter chef came from the east, all prepared with his own apron, his own menu, his own goals to complete the task of serving Easter dinner to our entire family, parents and a few invited friends.

We had the grocery shopping covered in advance, so everything he would need, including his fresh stash of herbs, was ready and awaiting the work of his manly hands.

Our chef from the east came prepared with his own apron

One huge "A-ha" moment came during the week when visiting friends and listening to their frustrations of having a parent with huge physical limitations but extreme pride and stubbornness to pay attention and realize they should refrain from performing certain actions in the future.

My husband interjected and offered his own personal thoughts on the subject which he hoped might aid them in understanding the frustrations they were experiencing.

In his case, as physical limitations arose, he admitted to having the best caretaker (me), and how appreciative he was because I knew his every need and understood his medical journey thus far, but he offered this;

"There is a fear when one gives up and stops doing something just because it becomes difficult. Rather than cease doing it completely, the fear for me personally, is if I don't at least continue to try, however difficult or discouraging it may become, I may never be able to do it again later on,so as stubborn as it sounds, even if only for my own small triumphant and successful attempt at making the initial effort, that is what makes such a difference to me."

Okay. Now it all made sense. All the times when he attempted things he knew were too difficult, all those times when the rest of the family turned into nags and took over or began to reprimand him for trying, now we know - he had to try it even though he shouldn't, just the same.

And so, with Easter dinner, even though he had had an almost emergent start to his week with pulmonary issues, he was not going to sit back and throw in the towel just yet.

Even when I sometimes suggested he rest up a bit by sitting on a bar stool to get off his feet, he refused, because for him, he wasn't sure if he would be able to get up again and keep going once he sat down during in the process of his meal making.

He was focused and remained strong doing what he loved to do - being a chef and cooking!

Protective ... all kept making certain he was okay.

Okay Dad, I'll leave my own kitchen just for you.

(Our son had his front tooth knocked out by a hockey stick, and is awaiting his implant, poor guy)

Many visited and became fiercely protective over the course of the afternoon's kitchen flurry of activity. He often had visitors spending moments with him, surrounding him with love and affection, acknowledging his gracious efforts of single-handedly making dinner for the crowd.

I found myself also visiting my husband, knowing he was at the helm of the dinner, by himself, naturally overdoing it, and then I would spot signs of fatigue showing up in his face BUT he kept assuring me confidence was high. For now, he said he was fine.

This really was strange for me though, in a good way of course, the not helping and diving in to make the meal happen. One of our sons who had recently made his own batch of wine, brought along a few white and red offerings, so at one point he actually put his arm around me, handed me a glass with the order to go enjoy the day and relax. Still - weird I tell ya!

Traditional turkey and ham were the mainstays for the dinner food fare. Just look at that golden bird and that pineapple marinated ham! Yum!

His dinner turned out to be outstanding, the salad and homemade dressing by our son and daughter in law a crowd pleaser, and a cheese/fruit platter by another daughter in law were just perfect for nibbles. Thanks again to all of you.

All gathered round to say grace before our meal, and what a meal it was!

At long last, many hours after first beginning his chef' endeavors, when my husband sat down with his dinner plate before him, he had us laughing when he finally admitted he might be too tired to eat. True confessions had an entire crowd force him to remain on his chair for the rest of the evening.

I knew he was elated with his accomplishment! He was actually beaming from being able to reach his goal for the day. And I was just so very proud of him. We all were proud, knowing what this meant for him in the end to perform such a grand feat. As a general blessing to the family, we were truly rewarded the fruits of his labors, and a great dinner was had by all.

Plenty of leftovers remained, enough for every additional family to share, and bring home a future meal to enjoy another time. Terrific!

Some of the children had crafted napkin rings for our dinner, crafts were provided beforehand, stories read, Veggie Tale movie about the real story of Easter were watched and enjoyed by even adults, hair was braided by sister/auntie, back massages appreciated, dogs played with, all of them were having a marvelous time!

Clusters of family migrated into every room on the main floor of our son's home. Memories were being made before our eyes, surely everyone who was able to partake of this day would never forget this Easter together. It was noticeable all were "seizing the day".

As in all things traditional in a family, this year the egg hunt saw a change when my husband was too busy in the kitchen. Becoming flexible, the assigned duty was passed to myself and to a few of our adult children. Others also contributed to desserts and goodie bag supplies for the children (little, big, teen and adult ones!) who were so excited about what was to happen when the time was eventually announced.

I realized it's been five years since our family has been together for Easter, too long. Most of the little children were too young to remember the last time we did this, so the little traditional event was extra special for all of them.

Placing little ones and big ones into teams of two, off they went and it took them all quite some time to find all the eggs - some tiny, some rather large. It was sure heartwarming to observe them all scurrying about, and the looks on their faces were priceless whenever one was located.

Best of all, of course we all know the reason for Easter.

After our dinner and before dessert was served, my mother gathered all round and brought out a cake, complete with candles and began to lite them. Grabbing my camera I snapped a few pics, not very good ones however, but heh, I got them...

Insisting this was also a celebration of all our future family birthdays to come over the course of this year, she summoned my husband to represent all of us and blow out the candles on everyone's behalf.

A few confused children became somewhat bewild
ered, and then we had them giggling.

Happy Unbirthday to us all!

Family gatherings would never be complete without a few surprises unfolding along the way, like the cake and like our boys impromptu display of fun later in the evening.

Only hockey families might understand when four brothers ban together in solidarity for the love of all things hockey with lessons and protective tips quickly offered over how a proper hockey hit should be thrown or received.

Yep, in the photo here, these are our two big adult boys teaching their younger brothers what they need to know for safety on the ice.

Ahhhh, our family was truly able to celebrate the miracle of each moment together over the course of our entire visit in the west. How can one dispute there is a love so grand as time together reuniting as a circle of love.

Miracle of the Moment

So breathe it in and breathe it out
Listen to your heartbeat
There’s a wonder in the here and now
It’s right there in front of you
And I don’t want you to miss
The miracle of the moment
by; Steven Curtis Chapman

No matter the miracle of this Easter family moment, with complete thanksgiving, our family was able to gather to make a priority, coming together to celebrate faith, family and friends, three things in life everyone can only to depend.

And this was our family's Easter - 2010

A few more blog posts about our trip await in my draft box, soon to come....