936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
Today was full– full but not busy, not hectic, not frenzied, just full and fulfilling. We hunted for the perfect tomatoes, rode a lawn mower train, bought our garden’s worth of transplants, planted half of them into the earth. Today I taught my son what a baby broccoli plant looks like, and how to place it into the soil so it can grow. So he can eat it. So he can grow.
Today was full. One project after another but every project with much meaning, and each one inspiring.
And then tonight, after the babes were scrubbed clean in the tub of the days festivities, and the Chinese takeout containers emptied (I will not cook after planting 65 plants), we sat down to breathe. And with the boys sound asleep and dreaming of the farmer’s market and mama’s sourdough pancakes, I set to work composing their Easter baskets.
Gift giving is my love language. It’s how I express thought, care, and affection for another person. Each gift means something special; something that reminds me of the one I am giving to. And so tasks such as filling Easter baskets for my boys– these tasks I love. I looked forward to it all day long.
Tomorrow they will come home from church to find their treasures. And then Zeke will run around in the yard with his buddy hunting bright plastic Easter eggs stuffed with chocolate covered raisins and new play doh colors.
Tonight as I stuffed those eggs I decided that maybe I should run out and get a few more. I told my husband I was running to Walgreens. He said maybe I should just go to Target. I didn’t fight him on that suggestion.
Red–normally an alarming color–is somehow transformed into a comforting welcome when it is the glow of the Target symbol late at night, when children are fast asleep and moms have all the time in the world to browse.They can walk right past that deplorable cage of over-sized bouncy balls without fear of offspring tantrums.
As I approached the Easter section, I noticed a small gathering of despondent adults slowly meandering the aisles, forlorn looks shadowing their faces. I followed their gaze to the near empty shelves. A few tattered Easter baskets remained, as well as some cheap plastic basket fillers. And marshmallow Peeps–an alarming amount of those bright colored critters.
A warily optimistic Target employee stood nearby, trying to encourage. He held up a pink, blue, and green cardboard carton. “Now here is a chocolate bunny!” He exclaimed, his voice quite bold in light of his gloomy undertaking. Surely he pulled the short straw in the back room. The bunny he held was in fact decapitated, its over-dramatized bunny smile laying sidewise next to its bunny knees.
A woman approached the scene, her face fell. “This is what we get for waiting until the last moment.” I offered a smile. “That’s what I wanted.” She points to two lonely foil-wrapped bunnies on the bottom shelf; they sit together yet look alone, their ears unwrapped, and bitten. Yes, bitten. The woman walks away.
I quickly give up the scene for hopeless, there are no plastic eggs to be found in this establishment. I make my way back to my car. I have not lost hope, however; there is a Toys R Us down the street, and surely they have better prepared for the Easter holiday than Target has.
When I walk into Toys R Us, I find much of the same scene. The first few welcoming aisles are Easter clearance. The overlooked pre-packed baskets of goodies that no child desired. (Believe me, they would rather a basket with hand-picked items you selected specifically for them any day) Oh and there were Peeps. It seems that the marshmallow bunnies have been doing what bunnies do best because this city is in no shortage of marshmallow Peeps on the night before Easter.
I decide that perhaps the 18 eggs at home will be just fine for Zeke and his buddy.
The boys are down and I am on my own time so I walk the aisles of Toys R Us. I am in search of one more item for Ellis’ basket. And part of me thinks that maybe I could find some plastic Easter Eggs doing just what they were created to do: hiding, waiting to be found.
I decide upon a final gift for Ellison and carry it under my arm towards the checkout. Maybe I will stop by Walgreens after all to check for eggs. Or maybe I’ll just go home.
That is when I spot them. Two cellophane sleeves of wonder. They sit at the bottom of a forgotten cart; one of those carts that belonged, at one time, to an employee clearing shelves of misplaced items. Blue, yellow, orange, pink eggs peer through the pile of displaced toys, as if calling out to me “Here we are! You found us!”
I snag them up before anyone can notice my discovery. I glance around for a moment, just long enough to not feel guilty over the slight chance that I am swiping these hidden beauties from another mom out late in search of the city’s last sleeves of cheap plastic eggs.
I walk proudly to the register and place my items on the belt. I am even more pleased when the eggs ring up on clearance. It’s 9pm the night before Easter, after all. I walk out of the store a victor.
What I could not help but notice on my venture out on the night before Easter, was that it actually felt like it was the day after Easter. All of those empty shelves and red clearance tags slapped onto rejected baskets and bunnies seemed to proclaim that Easter was over. After all, most kids already opened baskets and ran across fields to “search” for scattered eggs this morning.
But wait, it’s Saturday.
And Jesus is still in the tomb.
Motionless. Breathless. Without a heart beat. Waiting.
It’s only Saturday, and the best part is yet to come.
Tomorrow my child, like the rest of them, will open his basket of goodies, and search under tree branches and bushes for those plastic eggs I myself hunted so hard for. But I will teach him that the basket and eggs do not compose Easter.
Easter is composed of blood shed, of “Forgive them, they know not what they do.”, of a last breath. Easter is composed of breath given again, of life made new.
Just like today, when he planted his “bok-O-lee”, and pushed its roots into the soil, he will learn that Easter means he, also, can be rooted. Rooted and grounded in love. In love proclaimed on that hilltop, and love that reigned victoriously when that tomb was found empty three days later.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Easter isn’t over yet.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!