Easter Basket Boondoggle

I’ve always got these great ideas. Like…I am going to make the moments of my life more meaningful by living intentionally with great deliberation and forethought and by thinking ahead of time with intent that is, ummmm, you know, intentional.


This year Easter fell prey to this tendency to over-commit to meaning. And I guess I should have seen it coming, I mean…Easter is happening on a day of this week. And that's really all it takes to get me riled up. So, you know, it was bound to happen.

I’ve never been super comfortable with the Easter as a gift giving extravaganza. I can’t quite figure out what a bunch of dolls and games and cars and My Little Pony stuffed animals has to do with Easter. I mean…don’t my kids with their warm home and full pantry and good educations and room dedicated to toys have, you know, enough? Shouldn’t we be dedicating the Sunday where we celebrate His eternal life with service or symbolism or maybe, at least, back to back viewings of Ben Hur?

But my kids have talking about waking up to Easter baskets for the past week. And the Easter Bunny. And eggs. And I don’t want to be a total Grinch. (Or whatever the Easter equivalent of that little jerk is…what’s the natural enemy of the bunny? A fox? I don’t want to be a total Fox.)

So, I had a long talk with myself. And I decided that each Easter, the kids would still wake up to a gift. But it would be an offering that reflected an eternal principle or pursuit. Something that united us as a family and expanded their horizons. Something that helped remind them of the rights of their divine heritage and the universal nature of our God’s love. Something that helped them understand the beauty of this mortal and immortal life! A brief and incomplete reflection of one of the things that made them worth something as grand and comprehensive as the Atonement. Yes! That was it! A gift that paid homage to THE gift.

I decided this year we would focus on Creation. How to teach them about the divine gift of creation? Give them the means to create, of course! Baskets full of the makings of many little and big projects. Odds and ends and ribbons and glue and paint and paper and pieces of wood and felt shapes and…other things! And all of it would be accompanied with a card that explained the divine directive to create in words that even a three year old can understand! AND IT WOULD BE BEAUTIFUL AND THE DAY WOULD BE FULL OF DEEP DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE REVELATIONS WE GAIN BY EMULATING GOD AND REACHING FOR THE TOPS OF OUR SOULS! AND EASTER WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME IN OUR LITTLE TREE COVERED HOUSEHOLD AGAIN!

But no pressure.

I left the house last night to get the supplies for my baskets brimming with creativity. Told the cute husband I would just run to Target and be back in an hour.

It was all going to be so simple. But then…I don’t know. I got there and didn’t know where to start. Should I focus on a project or just creativity in general? Did the baskets call for gem shaped crayons, regular crayons or speckled with different color crayons? I hemmed and hawed over the Great Crayon Decision of 2015 for about 15 minutes. And then I remembered they had like, I don’t know, FOUR HUNDRED crayons…so maybe they didn’t need anymore. Or maybe they just needed the gem ones. Or the speckled ones. Or nothing at all. I mean does anyone really need crayons? No! Unless they just need some more regular ones….

And paper! Who knew paper was so expensive! I mean just the white stuff wasn’t too bad…but the stuff I wanted to get with the patterns! and color! and square cut for kid folda-bility! was nearly ten bucks. I guess I’ll get three…

Would they rather use textile markers on a tote bag? Or a pillow? Or…ooooooh look at those vases they could decorate! And then there’s all the possibilities with the wood crafts…doesn’t every home need a birdhouse…two birdhouses?

Maybe this is a dumb idea? I mean…will they even understand what I am trying to say? Am I really giving them the gift of creativity with a $14 tote bag and some markers? And in truth… WHAT HAVE I GIVEN THEM? IN THE COURSE OF THEIR LIVES? WHAT WILL THEY HAVE IN THEIR HANDS AND HEARTS WHEN THEY LEAVE THIS TIME WITH ME? Are we doing anything well enough…true enough…expansively enough? Forget the stuff…AM I EVEN A GOOD MOTHER? IS THIS ALL A WAY TO MAKE UP FOR THE MORE IMPORTANT PLACES THAT HOLD MY FAILURE????

Maybe that sewing kit would be a better buy?

Three hours later, I finally returned home. Six bags of good intention gone bad and one receipt that came close to approaching our weekly grocery budget.  Riley just laughed. I laughed and then got a little teary-eyed and then laughed again.

Because…this is kind of a pretty damn good little synopsis of the mother my kids have right now. Big ideas and little ability to figure out how to implement them. And all the time between the moments of grand intention are filled with hugs and dance parties and definitely too much TV. And I hope it is enough and that my often ridiculous reaching for big things results in a hunger in them to do the same. Who knows…they might actually end up being effective at the task. Heaven knows, I, most often, am not.

So what am I doing with those six bags? Taking them back today. And then buying some plastic eggs to fill with candy. And two little dresses for two little girls that like to twirl. And calling it good enough.

Because, maybe, right now, it is.  

But seriously...what the heck are you putting in your kids' baskets??? Chat with me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Click one the links below.