Easter Sunday was the first one with just the kids and me — our second since becoming a single-parent family because last year, my mom was with us.
Last year, we did things the way we had always done them … new shoes, new clothes, Easter eggs, Easter baskets, church, ham, potato salad, dessert … for as long as I can remember, this is how we celebrated Easter as a family. Those were our traditions.
This year I didn’t know what we’d do. With it being just us, I realized we could do anything! We didn’t have to do things the way we’d always done them. We could be open to new ideas and find something special in the celebration that was just for us.
When one member of a family leaves, for whatever reason, birthdays and holidays and special days for a long time afterward are tinged with the memory of “how we did things before.” And because of those memories, special days are often not the celebrations that they should be but are instead sad reminders of what (and who) is missing.
I’ve discovered that putting on a brave face and pretending it doesn’t matter — doing the same things the same ways as always — is not what is best for my little family.
We do need to remember the past, but at the same time, we (and I’m speaking for my family only) need to find a new way to celebrate.
While trying to decide what we would do this year, I kept the following things in mind:
- What things about this holiday did we love to do together as a family?
- Why did we love those things?
- Were the traditions of our past central to what we wanted this day to be about? If not, do we really need to do them?
- What do other families we know do? Is that something we would like to add to our traditions?
- How could our family best honor God and the meaning of this day?
We decided that we would keep some of our traditions the same: new shoes, new clothes, Easter eggs, and church. However, we also decided to add some new things: reading The Jesus Story Book Bible the week before, creating a garden tomb centerpiece on Good Friday, opening Resurrection Eggs before church, and going on a picnic and flying a kite with a friend on Easter Sunday afternoon.
It was a beautiful day, a celebratory day — which is what Easter should be.
Best of all, we were able to focus more on the new beginnings God has for us … which is what Easter is all about.
You are doing great with this new adventure in life. Your focus on your children and also redefining yourself is amazing. Love your new traditions.
Katie, you are so awesome! You do a great job of keeping priorities straight, honoring God and your children correctly.
Wow, it sounds like you came up with a great way to celebrate-and incorporating your kids into choosing what to do must have made it all the more meaningful for them.
Thanks Jenn! I HOPE it was more meaningful for them. We’re a team, the three of us. 🙂
You are absolutely right on this…finding a new way to celebrate holidays and family traditions can go a long way to alleviating some of the stress and things that ensue when a family member is absent. Plus, it makes for great fun and adventure as the family comes up with what works for them.
In my family, our Christmas’ celebrations become more zany and family oriented every year. Last year, we had a pajama party where we baked desserts, stayed in our pj’s all day & made silly videos.
Thanks for reminding us that some times change isn’t a bad thing. Great post!
Thanks Selena! I've learned a lot from you actually in this area. Going with the flow and looking at things from perspectives other than my own. 🙂 It's making me a better mom… most of the time.
You are a special person. A loving mother that understands what is important for her children. The past is not what’s a head of us or our children. Your beautiful Easter Sunday story demonstrates this perfectly. Each day brings new adventures, if these are our focus, our children will benefit. I’m better person to have met you, to be able to call you a friend 🙂
Thanks Dennis! I’m so thankful to have met you and Mary too! I keep remembering what you said to me that day… about really always being “in the middle of my story.” Changing my perspective is making a big difference.
I’m with them–way to go, Katie. It takes a courageous woman to sort through expectations to get to what’s important and loving.