Seeing the Details...

In my experience, there are two types of motherly Easter exhaustion: the first is the kind that dresses the children in whatever fits and doesn't smell, slogs through the mashing of the potatoes, endures the liturgy and falls into bed with a tear on the cheek. The second is the kind that puts the finishing touches on handmade Easter dresses, hand grates the cheese for the potatoes and looks for the prettiest dish, notices the beautiful embroidery on Father's Easter chasuble and falls into bed like a rag doll, completely drained but so satisfied.

I have been in both of these states for Easters during the years of my motherhood and accept that the hills and valleys come when they will. Last year was a valley... my senses overwhelmed with pregnancy sickness and fatigue. Thankfully, this year was detail-rich for me; and my exhaustion was sweet and punctuated by the smiles of a new baby.

I have also known two types of motherly energy. One is panicked and clingy, holding on to whatever else is moving and desperate prayer just to keep up. The details morph into the blur of survival and the eyes keep dropping down to see the feet moving... one step at a time. The other type of energy is a fire that burns independently of it's material surroundings. Clarity is a hallmark and the details come into view. The hands and feet and heart race but the eyes take it all in as if in vivid slow motion.

I have known both kinds of this energy at Easter and embrace the ebb and flow of that tide. With gratitude, I recognize that this year I had the energy that blazes and, somehow, coexists peacefully with exhaustion.

These different seasons in life are all moments of grace. I know intellectually that one is not necessarily more beneficial for the state of my soul. He works whether I feel it or know it or understand it... and He works perfectly. At times, the consolation of detail suffers while we cling blindly to the Cross. The hyacinths on the side of the road are a blur. Colors are muted. Singing is noise...

... And this is where the Lord may find us on Easter morning. Or He may find that we had just enough left to arrange some pretty flowers around the statue of Blessed Mother. Or write little notes for the kids' Easter baskets. And of course, that's grace, too. When it rains, it pours down His mercy and grace. When the sun shines, it saturates with mercy and grace. If I had my way, I would have every Easter like this one; so clear and sweet... but I'll take the other one's, too, as long as He promises not to let me go. And He has promised. And He does keep His word. Blessed be the Lord!

Some of our lovely details (taken down a visible notch because of my lousy photography)...

Four dozen Easter eggs. 

Easter Vigil Mass, sweet little girls, and handmade dresses...

After the egg hunt at Grandma's...

A little music, a little picture taking, a little wearing of cool hats...

The balloon balls were big fun for the kids, regardless of age.

Little Cub looking like a big boy in his new polo from Grandma and Grandpa...

Cookie remembered to put up the mantel decorations...

Twenty pounds of Easter candy (not including what has already been eaten)! *gasp*

There are so many more details that have been a delight to me... and many really lousy photos to prove it. (I've been playing with my photo editor trying to improve them but with little success. The photos above, unfortunately, were some of the better ones.)
Some other beautiful details that remain clear in my mind...

~ The 22 joyful altar servers at Easter Vigil Mass in flying cassocks and surplices.
~ Professor assisting at the Vigil as the "book bearer" and looking like there was no place on earth he'd rather be.
~ The bells and incense that invade the senses and shout Wake Up! He is here! Rejoice!
~ The Deacon looking reverently upon the altar with lips closed as the priests say the words of consecration... and perhaps thinking ahead to his May ordination.
~ Four beloved priests at the altar
~ The Chief holding Little Cub and laughing as his suit jacket catches spit-up.
~ Candles in a dark church and a little girl saying the darndest things
~ A row of little white Easter hats
~The smell of beeswax ("Mommy, it smells like cinnamon")
~The return of the "A word"... Alleluia!!
~ Crash racing down the stairs at 1:00am with a pretty flower he had bought for me with his own money. He inscribed in a tiny space:
an a
~ A book of gratitude that the children had secretly prepared for me
~ My pretty Cookie helping the little ones and so grateful to Daddy for her new dress.
~ The Chief's face as he surprises me with diamonds. (How can I ever wear sweatpants in his presence again! lol)
~ "I just wanted to tell you that this was the best Easter basket ever because it was centered around our faith and patron saints." Thank you, Professor.
~ Button reading a Psalm response during family prayer on Easter morning.
~ The kids and cousins playing so happily.
~ That first bite of Easter chocolate!
~ Family games, "time for dessert!" and laughter.
~ A soft pillow.
~ Divine Mercy beads beneath my fingers.

Jesus, I trust in You!

Posted on April 26, 2011 and filed under "Easter".