On Easter morning, we rolled out of bed and dressed for the Bok Sunrise Service, as planned. (Actually, Paul probably rolled whereas I eventually dragged myself out of my cocoon of sheets and blankets.) I had stayed up until almost midnight Saturday night preparing Easter baskets and stuffing eggs for the backyard hunt. Miriam's personal motto of "anything worth doing is worth overdoing" still ringing in my head, I even stuffed some giant eggs with special treats for each of our little egg hunters. So much for keeping the bar low.
Feeling pretty darn good about the fact that we wrestled two preschoolers into the car in their Easter attire by 6 am AFTER they opened their Easter baskets, we trundled on up Iron Mountain for the rising of the sun.
The service was beautiful, as always, with one little change this year: at every pause in the program, our little 2-year-old's munchkin voice would pierce the silence with "Is it over yet, Daddy?" At the end of every song and prayer, and even when we waited anxiously for the poor choir member who fainted in the middle of the service to stand and be escorted out, "Is it over yet, Daddy?" We became the little running joke in our seating area...toddlers are always good for a laugh.
We made it through the chuckles and sidelong glances from empty nesters who obviously remembered the preschool years all too well...their looks said, "Enjoy this sweetness. These years will be gone too soon." I smiled back knowingly, reflecting on how quickly our first child has grown. He's so big and mature. It's hard to believe 5 1/2 years have gone by! I vowed to myself, yet again, to accept the challenge and "enjoy these years while I can."
On our way back through the sanctuary, we stopped to take a picture of the kids in front of a colorful garden. KID 1 wore his red cowboy hat that morning and had even adorned it with a bright green feather for Easter morning. Paul took a couple of pics and then asked the cowboy to remove his hat for the last picture. I held it until they were done, then handed it back saying, "Your Easter bonnet, sir!"
He snatched it away and stuffed it back on his head, mumbling "I hate you!" just so I could hear. Let me tell you, it was all I could do not to start bawling right there, and I'm no cry-baby. I just couldn't believe this was the happy moment he chose to hit me with "I hate you!"
I didn't cry. I stopped him and had the "How Do You Think That Made Me Feel" talk with him, he apologized, I told him I love him, and we continued on with Easter morning. But it stung. It still stings. And I know there is more of that to come, I just wasn't expecting it so soon. I know he really loves me most of the time, but I love him ALL of the time, so my heart was just not prepared for that little dagger. I guess it's time to toughen up a bit.