Our family has always tried to keep things uncomplicated, but lately I’ve been mindful of even more activities (and products) I can cut out to replace with more meaningful time and resourcefulness. (I like to eliminate as many consumer products as possible because things you need just turn into more errands to buy them!) Sometimes the fun activities we plan don’t necessarily help reach our goal of happiness in the long run. The holidays are a good example of this, because it’s easy to get caught up in all the things we “need” to buy and do to celebrate, often missing the true goal of spending quality time with family and focusing on spiritual gratitude.
I wanted this Easter to be special for Alzette. Our friend Carrie was in town for the weekend, and I thought on Saturday we could go out and look for a little basket and some treats to fill it with. I planned to hit the University Book Store to find a new book, and the toy store to find a little toy to put in the basket. Carrie brought Alzette a beautiful chocolate bunny from Seroogy’s so we could put that in with a couple of eggs.
My friend Carrie has a way of bringing clarity to a situation without saying a word (perhaps because by now I know what she’s thinking). When I brought up the Easter basket, I looked at her and realized I had planned too much. It may not sound like a lot, but really we were about to drag Alzette on a 2-hour long errand in the car to buy something she didn’t even need when all she really wanted to do was play outside and be with those she loved most. Finding stuff for the basket would be fun, but not as fun as just hanging out. We said forget it to errand running and had a much better time on Saturday because of it.
Here’s what we did Easter Sunday: We had a bowl of beautiful eggs. We get our eggs from a friend who raises heritage chickens, so the eggs are never white anyway. So instead of spending time dying the eggs (even though Alzette would find this fun the adults would be doing most of the work and I’ve always found dying eggs to be kind of tedious) I decided we could just boil our “pre-dyed” eggs and be grateful for the beauty nature provides. I dressed Alzette in a pinafore with a bunny design while Scott hid 6 eggs around the living room. Alzette caught onto the game quickly and had a blast. Afterwards we enjoyed a delicious brunch at home while we told stories and played games with Alzette. After her nap she ate half her chocolate bunny. It was a gorgeous day, so in the late afternoon our family walked to the park where Alzette played on the jungle gym, talked to the ducks, and ran in the grass.
My husband once came up with the idea for a diet plan that would be called “You can halve it all!” The basic idea was that you would eat as you normally did but just cut every meal and snack you usually ate in half. I think this might apply to a lot of things in life. If we cut our internet time, time running around to scheduled activities, and time shopping for those perfect party decorations in half, we would have a lot more time to simply relax and do more meaningful activities with our family and friends.
It’s hard not to feel constant pressure that we’re not doing enough. As a home-centered parent, it’s especially easy to feel like you should be taking your child to swimming lessons, the gym, the museum, library readings, and play dates all the time. But I like to think that it is because I’m a parent at home that I have the luxury of not needing too many activities for my child. When we’re at home she is constantly learning by exploring the world around her with my guidance, and she has a healthy balance between getting out and doing stuff and feeling centered in the security of her own home. At this age, she doesn’t need a lot to have fun. I’m convinced more each day that if you live a certain way, this remains true for the rest of your life.