Yesterday I hosted my first family holiday dinner, excluding Chinese New Years. We started the CNY dinner a few years ago, so it is a relatively new tradition for our extended family. Easter. Thanksgiving. Christmas – those are the holidays my grandparents, parents and Aunt & Uncle host. They are the holidays seeped in tradition and memories. I love holidays and traditions. They provide perspective and a strong sense of belonging. Roots run deeper than the memories. I am sure there are things I do every Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter that I don’t even realize were passed down to me from several generations back. I love that. I want that for my kids.
So, I hosted this year. I forgot basically everything I was supposed to have….like lemons for the tea and salt & pepper for each table. I was putting butter plates out at the last minute and forgot all the plates of pickles. None of it really mattered, but it is funny how much I take for granted until I am the one doing it. I’m claiming Easter next year (hear that family)…and I’m going to have some cute salt & pepper shakers on each table.
Over the last year I’ve looked back at photos from family holidays. I realized I take a lot of day to day life pictures, but not that many when my whole family is together. This Easter I wanted to capture the little details that make my heart smile – things I want to remember about what Easter dinner was like in 2015.
I decorated with doilies and hydrangeas. Both remind me of my grandma. My oldest daughter actually picked out the flowers. She called them “Marrying flowers” because brides carry them when they walk down the aisle. I think of grandma’s hydrangea bush. I want to remember both.I want to remember how he read up until the final moment when the first family member walked in the door and the minute the last person left, he had his book back out.I want to remember how she found a spot on the counter because all the kitchen chairs were moved to another room and the dog would try to eat her food if she sat on the floor.…the way they snuck a bite of their Great Grandma’s cranberry salad when they thought no one was watching and how Chris still uses that old mug I made him in college….….how she is just like her momma and can get away with anything when she flashes that irresistible grin……..how my mom tried to make bunny shaped rolls like she saw on Pinterest, but it didn’t work so well….….the way she drank massive amounts of water because she had no interest in anything we were eating…….the girls sitting cutely waiting for dinner to begin….…the boys acting like vultures while their Pappy carved the ham….….my family. Chris’ family. All gathered together (except those living out of town)……little girls running into my garden to hunt eggs filled with coins, just like my sister and I ran through our grandparent’s yard hunting for eggs filled with coins……my girls in dresses and tennis shoes because the ground was wet….…my nieces and the delicate ways they have stolen my heart….….my boy, who always has at least one shoe untied. Always…..…my 9 year old, who didn’t want to carry a bucket because his eggs would fall out and his older brother, who probably should have done the same……my sister capturing the girls with an iPhone. One day this will be so fun to look back on, one day iPhones like this will be obsolete……the girls. There was a time that I had 3 boys and a brand new baby girl. It made me so sad to think that my kids would not get to grow up close in age to my sister’s kids. Thankfully, I can’t see the big picture. Four girls – each a year apart. I didn’t know it would be this good……an empty room at the end of the day. The overwhelming sense of gratitude for family and belonging despite all of our rough edges. The gift of knowing there is always room at the table for me, no matter how bad my mood is or what dumb thing I’ve done. We came together to celebrate an empty tomb and a risen Savior. I’m so thankful there is room at His table for me too.