I love my husbands side of the family. They know how to throw an amazing holiday bash. It's never ordinary, and nothing short of extraordinary...every time. I leave their homes filled with the warm and fuzzies, and we always reflect on our way home about how good of a time we had.
It had been a wonderful day full of amazing memories filed away in the "happy childhood I want them to remember" box.
They go all out, and always make us feel so welcomed, you'd never know we were not the immediate family. You see...Dave is the great grandson which makes our kids the great great grand kids, but they are loving like that. They always have amazing surprises, whether it be a mason jar filled with a pinterest goodie for the adults, or a giant chocolate bunny for each kid, and they don't just have an egg hunt...they hide special eggs just for you. Special eggs that have your name carefully written in sharpie marker, and no one else can scramble to steal and pile in their basket, so you are left with cast offs half open with filling falling out. They're filled with trinkets, and money...you just feel the love put into it.
The aunts all gather in the kitchen and prepare the most scrumptious meals, and they don't skimp on presentation with foiled pans, and hodge podge dishes....they bring out the ice buckets, and glass pitchers, heirloom platters and a dry erase plaque that says "Welcome family and friends". It's a happy place. Almost as if the sky parts and angels sing kind of happy-family- place. I never leave them disappointed.
So when you see Gods love through them, woven like a fine tapestry...I wondered? Did they know? How did I go 8 years without telling them why? Why we really celebrate Easter.
We were on a quiet ride back from the Easter extravaganza, when something inside me prompted me to ask the girls "the question".
So I turned down the radio and looked back at them both and asked...
"do you girls know why we celebrate this day?"
Girls in unison-"No"
so i told them...
"we celebrate because Jesus died for our sins. He died, and then he came back to life, and because of him we are forgiven, and if we believe in him and love him we get to be with him in heaven someday."
They both looked at me puzzled...
Ashlyn- "how did he come back to life?"
It's in these moments that you realize that just because you are an adult by "adult standards" doesn't mean you aren't really a 6 year old child inside. That your little heart too feels just as confused, and in awe of this crazy world. That you still have some of those same questions and just pretend to know all the "enlightening" answers.
The first word that came to mind was "magic". (the little girl in me) I look at Dave and I whisper..."I can't say magic can I?" and he shook his head no.
So I thought carefully for a few seconds and I said..."a miracle"
Ashlyn-"whats a miracle?"
My reply... "A miracle is something wonderful that you can't explain"
Then here came the toughie...
"Why would we want to go to heaven anyway mama?
I got a little choked up, cause like them the little girl in me reserves the talk of heaven for when someone passes away. It's not somewhere I can honestly say I'm ready to embrace. I have lots of "super christian" friends that are "there" they even go as far as to say they can't wait. Me, I'm still a piggy tailed ruffle dress little girl who wants to play...here. Here with my kids, in the dirt, making memories, and I will go away to heaven when I'm silver haired and good and wrinkly.
Heaven is where we say paw paw is....it's where amaya releases her balloon to everytime she gets one. She looks at me for permission..."for paw paw?" and I shake my head..."yes baby, you can give it to paw paw" and she lets them go. unselfishly.
Almost every time.
So when my 6 year old green eyed beauty asked me....
"Why would we want to go to heaven?"
I answered her with the most thoughtful right answer the little girl in me could think of...
"so we could live with Jesus forever and ever and ever" it was all I could say without opening a bible, or calling a friend. It was the only "right" answer I could give her at the moment.
I turned around in my seat, and thought about those tough questions. I thought about how as a parent, or a person for that matter you don't get "the book". The one that you can turn to like a dictionary when you don't know the answer. There is Google...yes, but for grey areas like these, for the "just believe" questions, or really far out questions...there are few solid answers, and I refuse to fill their heads with wrong ones.
I don't sugar coat for them. When they ask me....i usually give an age appropriate answer.
They know where babies come from, they know about mama's "big bandaids", when they ask...I try and tell. After all, I am quite analytical myself, and even at the ripe young/old age of 30 I have questions...lots of them unanswered that tend to puzzle me often.
I just pray that I'm doing this big job right. That at the end of the day I like my husbands family exude Gods love to them, and everyone around me. That I'm leading them by example, and I hope that I am careful to answer questions the best I can so I steer them in the right direction throughout their lives.
Parenthood is tough.
Tough questions, tough answers, just all around difficult sometimes.
But it's worth every second...of everyday.