By Gwen Rockwood, newspaper columnist and mama of 3
This morning the kids went back to school – the digital kind. But we shortened the regular morning routine. They insisted they didn’t need to get up as early as usual, since the commute to school is as quick as rolling over to start a laptop.
Between sessions in the Google Classroom, they meander in and out of the kitchen, grabbing snacks and grumbling when I force them to wash their hands again. Then they disappear for a while to a quieter room to do math or read a book so they can write a report. The dogs trot along behind them, happy to have extra humans in the house all day.
Tom and I, who are accustomed to working from home, are adjusting to three new teenage “co-workers,” who fist-bump us when we pass in the hallway. There are no more “Let’s go to lunch” excursions for the two of us. And with three teens around, leftovers disappear quickly, and a bag of chips doesn’t stand a chance around here. We may be single-handedly keeping the frozen pizza industry afloat right now.
In short, life is weird. Every now and then, the bizarre reality of our world’s situation washes over me, and the voice in my head says, “This is really happening. It’s like a scary movie, but it’s actually happening.” There must be a part of my brain that doesn’t quite believe it because I catch myself being stunned by it over and over.
And as much as I love a tradition that stays the same year in and year out, I’m not at all unhappy that Easter comes this year at what may be the height of the Coronavirus crisis. Sure, it will impact the holiday. No real reason to dress up and snap the family photo. No in-person Easter service. No nice restaurant lunch afterward. It won’t be the same.
But that’s okay. Because in the midst of a tragedy, Easter is the holiday you most want around. I know this from experience. In April 2001, we buried my brother – who died suddenly at age 34 – and then a few days later we got up and went to church. It was Easter Sunday.
On that day, the church bulletin’s cover page had a beautiful photo of a yellow butterfly, which reminded us of the group of yellow butterflies that had flitted around his gravesite a few days earlier. We took it as a personal wink from God that things are more connected than we realize.
Of course, we cried most of the way through the church service that year. Every note of music pierced our hearts. Every kind word from friends made us desperate not to feel the enormity of our loss. And yet, there it was – Easter. Its essence was the same as always – hope, renewal, miracle. It was and still is the promise of something beyond all the pain, suffering and death.
When we needed it most, Easter came along and reminded our family that easier days were ahead. I trust it will do the same thing this year.
Despite the news of the day, Easter has the power to comfort a grieving, frightened world. It can point the way toward hope and new beginnings, even when we feel devastated and broken.
Like so many others, I’m not sure of much these days. But the thing I know from experience and for certain?
We can always count on Easter.
Gwen Rockwood is a mom to three great kids, wife to one cool guy, a newspaper columnist and co-owner of nwaMotherlode.com. Her book is available on Amazon.