The long Easter weekend with young kids is not for the weak. That much I have learned for sure over the last five years.
By the time Monday rolled around, I was in desperate need of a respite from fatherhood. I know home life has been quite demanding and overwhelming when I welcome a return to deadlines and office work come Monday mornings.
After this particular weekend, I returned to work from a three-day so-called “respite” worn out from being over-sugared due to nibbling on one of my son’s chocolate bunnies for much of Sunday; exhausted from several Easter egg hunts and related activities; frustrated by parenting two kids who had candy as part of their breakfast on Sunday morning and over indulged all weekend on the sweets; and barely able to walk from being so sore from an alumni lacrosse game on Saturday. Indeed, I was ready for my so-called desk job and anxious to put the holiday weekend behind me.
However, with that said, if I were a kid today, Easter weekend would be one of the highlights of my year.
It would be competing for top billing and most likely would fall just behind Christmas and birthdays because it truly is a day (really more of an entire week) of fun.
Easter around my house is serious business, and my wife, Pam, gets most of the credit for making it such an enjoyable time for my sons, Beckett, 4, and Carson, 3. Her Easter baskets (buckets I call them) feature books, educational materials, videos, little gadgets and, of course, some candy.
When I was growing up, I surely remember receiving my share of memorable Easter baskets, but, like most things, they have gotten bigger and better over time as expectations have soared, and Beckett and Carson have no idea how lucky they are to receive these baskets and all that comes along with the week-long festivities that include school and daycare celebrations during the week as well as what we have in store for them on the weekend.
Admittedly, Easter Sunday morning pales in comparison to the excitement of Christmas morning at our house, but the Easter holiday should hold its head up high as my kids love it.
Of course, candy is a big part of that adoration. We do our best on a regular basis to limit our kids’ candy intake because nothing good comes from it routinely. They get overly energetic and lose all sense of listening and concentrating with no willingness to abide by orders to settle down.
The one day when rules on candy are relaxed is Easter Sunday, which we basically expect to be a major challenge. This year was no different with Beckett and Carson each having some candy along with their breakfasts. It was a challenge from that point on, as the over-sugared kids left us with our work cut out for us. That was to be expected.
What made Easter Sunday even more of a challenge was the fact it was a rainy day. Being inside most of the day with hyper kids high on chocolate peanut butter eggs and jelly beans was enough to leave me lightheaded most of the day as a result of all my heavy breathing.
It’s not just Easter Sunday, however. What kid does not want some candy after he claimed it fair and square in an Easter egg hunt? It’s difficult to deprive them at that time. However, the problem comes when there are multiple egg hunts and the same expectation is held following each. Candy, candy and more candy, and that’s not a good thing for anyone, particularly 4- and 3-year-olds and their parents.
A tradition for us on Easter weekend is the Berlin Spring Celebration, which holds lots of festivities including an egg hunt in the morning and photos with a strolling Easter bunny.
Encounters with the Easter bunny, like Santa, are always interesting with my kids. Beckett was quick to warm up to the bunny on Main Street in Berlin, probably because he thought he might get some candy if he smiled nice for the camera. On the other hand, Carson didn’t freak out over the bunny, but he was quick to let us know he would not be getting in any photo with the bunny without a parent. Even then, he refused to cooperate and look at the camera. He was just not too trusting of this bunny and seemed focused on the tennis shoes that poked out from under the costume.
Between all the candy and the egg hunts, we try like most parents to remind our kids of the reason for the season, according to our religious beliefs.
Based off years past and the heaping breakfast of sugar, we decided against church on Easter morning and instead vowed to discuss the holiday’s significance at home with our kids. That turned out to be quite funny actually.
While I worked to keep Carson from scaling a nearby wall, Beckett and Pam were discussing why we celebrate Easter, and she was quick to point out candy has no true significance. When she asked about the meaning of the holiday, he said we celebrate it "because Jesus died for us on the lacrosse field."
Knowing he was somehow confused with the new sport he has been practicing of late, she asked him again, and he said, “you know on lacrosse” like your necklace. We then realized he intended to say “on the cross.”
I love the random things kids say and it’s particularly funny when they mix up words, even if it’s coming at a fast clip due to sugar overload.