twenty-fifteen easter looks like this.
+ we go to church on saturday night because, well, i don't actually remember why. but it works out that way. instead of going to the main campus, which is the one closest to where my family lives, we decide to drive to the campus where my brother is a volunteer because he is volunteering and it's the only way we can all be together. (and we all always want to be together.)
this turns out to be a neat thing, because we all get to meet the people who J works with on a regular basis. people who love him and appreciate him, and it makes my heart happy to see how honestly and genuinely they care for and challenge him.
+ we plan to be ready by a specific time, which is thirty minutes before the time we need to leave (which is, even still, another thirty minutes before we really need to leave), because we want to take photos.
someone asked me recently what our easter traditions are, and the only thing i could think of that has remained consistent is our photo shoots. we wear good clothes, go to church, and take photos.
it is a surprise to no one when we are not ready in time for our thirty-minute designated window for photos and even though we still have a good thirty minute buffer, we are left feeling rushed and stressed out as we attempt to take our photos, because my mom is rushing and feels stressed out. because, well, have you met my mom?
(context: we used to have a strict fifteen minute bathroom/shower policy growing up because all six of us shared one shower. this schedule was especially important on school days, when one person taking too long made everyone late. my mom was always banging on the bathroom door, telling us to HURRY UP because we'd BEEN IN THERE FOR THIRTY MINUTES whenever we ran even a couple minutes over our allotted time.)
(in my 2.75 years away, i had sort of forgotten about this.)
(I LOVE YOU, MOM.)
so, the fact that we are running a little behind schedule felt, to my mom, like we are running a lot behind schedule.
+ our pre-church photo shoot includes: (1) the goodin family photo, in which luca looks directly at the camera for each photo while wearing an entirely unamused face. (2) my parents + H and me, after which my mom asks "okay, are we done now?" in a panicky voice that implies this is her first time meeting us because, two photos? (3) the sister photo.
and then we are done, and we drive to our farther away campus, and luca enjoys a semi-decent nap while waiting in the car, because we have arrived with about ...thirty minutes to spare.
+ walking out after church, i take this photo because this little family is the most precious and i can't.
+ our post-church photo shoot includes: (1) luca. x893745 attempts. (2) luca + chocolate bunny bribery AND HE'S SMILING SO WHO CARES. (3) T and me, and lee the secret to not getting our feet in the photo is to frame it so our feet are not in the photo. (4) this one of luca and me because the only way i could get a photo with him is to get in a photo with him. (5) this not so great one of J and me that i'm only posting because it's the only one of the two of us from this weekend.
+ on sunday morning, we search for our easter baskets. and by we, i mean luca and i. i don't even know what this is about, but i guess it was a thing lee did as a child, so they now do it for luca. and me, for the sake of not feeling left out, i guess.
in an attempt to get a photo of us with our easter baskets, luca notices mine is filled with candy and proceeds to try to make a trade, first with the too-small-for-me spiderman sunglasses, then with a matchbox car.
+ we go to my parents' house and watch them give luca a bike for easter. we all take turns pushing him around on it because he doesn't know how to pedal yet. T is nervous about the whole thing.
+ we go back inside and give luca more presents. i give him one of those wooden toolbox things and T makes a comment about the irony of that gift coming from me because, let's be real, lee had to come over and help me figure out how tools work.
+ we have our easter brunch meal and luca sits at the table like a big kid, and eats french toast with a fork like a big kid. unfortunately, this is the only photo i am able to take of this momentous occasion because my storage is full from the 973458 other photos and videos i have already taken.
+ after lunch and J is back from volunteering, we host an easter egg hunt for luca, which he thoroughly enjoys. seeing his face when he spots another egg, and his reaction as he runs over to it (also, his little toddler waddle-run – kills me) is too good, and T ends up stealing some of the the eggs he's collected in his basket to re-hide them (read: throw them back in the grass) just so the fun wouldn't have to end.
but when it does, he squats down, as he does, and carefully pulls each egg out, one by one, and puts them in the grass until his basket is empty.
and it's things like this, a perfectly average easter egg hunt with a 1.5 year old, that get me. i want to bottle these moments up and save them for a rainy day. or the day when he goes to kindergarten or get his driver's license. because, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about this day, except for the fact that there will only ever be this one easter.
+ luca rides on his roller coaster. (this is a somewhat new thing (for me, at least) because the last i knew, he would ride on the car and play with his matchbox cars on the "track" but he didn't really like riding the car on the track himself.) J picks him up after he rides, carries him back to the beginning, asks if luca is ready, luca says "GO!" and J gives him a little push. repeat x47.
+ while everyone was outside after the egg hunt and the roller coaster fun, we all comment on how great my parents' new back yard is. perfect for wiffle ball, T says, and J runs inside to get the bats and balls. we play the most fun game of wiffle ball we've probably ever played, because we didn't really have any rules or designated bases, and also luca was on and off the field – sometimes hitting the ball, sometimes just carrying the bat around, sometimes being held by lee, sometimes pulling up a chair.
+ mid-game, we hear the ice cream truck and i think between that and the fact that we are playing wiffle ball in the back yard, we are all instantly brought back to our days in the apartments, when we would play kickball in the court yard and the ice cream truck would pass through the neighborhood every day in the summertime. surprisingly (because, i don't know what his childhood relationship with the ice cream truck looked like), lee is the one who is the most vocal about his excitement. when i ask if we're going to get ice cream (because how can we not), lee responds with an excited "I HAVE THREE DOLLARS!" so we flag her down and run over, and mom follows shortly after, saying, "i've got twenties!" while fanning them out in front of her like, yes we'd like ALL the ice creams please.
and nothing has ever made me feel more like i was seven years old again quite like this exact moment.
+ we eat our ice creams and share them with luca, who won't actually take a bite of any of them because it's too cold on his teeth, so we have to break off pieces. he goes from person to person, the same way he does when he has a boo boo and needs each of us to kiss it better.
mine is an oreo ice cream and not as easy to break apart, considering it's just vanilla ice cream on a stick topped with oreo crumbs, but i give him a piece to start, and after he'd been around to everyone, he comes back for more of mine. by this point, it was especially melty and his only option was to take a bite, and so he did.
i keep thinking about this, because i obviously loved that he liked my ice cream the best, enough to risk the cold on his teeth and take a bite, but it could've just as easily been anyone. and then i remember how, when T was pregnant, he'd always kick when she ate oreos. and i can't believe this is a thing i forgot about.
+ we take a fab4 photo, and then it's time for me to leave. my mom, T, luca, and H bring me to the airport. luca is sleepy and cranky, but he still says "love you" as i say goodbye and it's the first time i've left him where he's said that back to me.
i walk into the airport and feel like i could ugly cry while going through security, but i don't. i don't really cry when i leave them anymore, i guess because i've gotten better at it after so many goodbyes, but i don't think it will ever get any easier.