All There Is

“Guys, let me tell you what I’m thinking about today.”

Tyler is coloring the space between the tiles on the table at Chili’s, and Tucker is looking like something straight out of the 1930s in his Easter hat.  He looks like a newsie.

We have just finished an evening at church; we opted to go on Saturday so our parking spot might be free tomorrow for someone who might come for the first time.  This has led to many conversations of clarity, since we went to church on Good Friday, again on Holy Saturday, even though Easter is on Sunday.

Just put on your hats and join me, Newsies.

“I have been thinking about Easter.  Please tell me why we celebrate it.”  Please tell me an accurate answer.

Earlier this week, they were caught up in easter eggs and bunnies, and I swallowed a gulp of maternal shame since their priorities were clearly off target.  So we’ve been rehearsing a bit each day.  Please learn these answers, even if they’re only words to you right now.

They recite the answer, thankfully in their own words.  “Easter is the day that Jesus rose from the dead after he died on the cross.  Nobody else has risen from the dead, so this is the way we can know Jesus is the real thing.”

“You got it.”

There’s a fine line between pride and responsibility.  It’s my responsibility to teach them well; I am proud of them when they know the answers.

“Here’s what I was thinking about that, guys.  If Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead, then their would be no way for us to get to heaven.  That’s where Daddy is. And that’s where we will go when this life is over, because we believe Jesus is the real thing.  Everybody gets to go if they believe him.  So, we will get to see Daddy again.”

“Because Daddy is going to come alive again?”

“No, sugar.  He’s gone for good. Jesus is the only one who came back.  But since Jesus came back, he showed us there’s more after this.  When people die, they don’t just stop.  This isn’t all there is.”

“Mommy, if there wasn’t heaven, people would have to sleep for a long, long time.”  True.  And I’ll choose right now not to go into any theories on existentialism or purgatory.  Which is wise also because I don’t know very much about either one.  “And that would just be so boring. Laying around waiting to be buried.”

We all agree: dying just for the sake of death would be boring and pointless.  As a collective three, we’re not up for that.

“Guys, because of Easter, we get to see Daddy again.  Because this isn’t all there is.”

“I want to go now, Mommy.”

“I know, lovey.  But we’ll live as many days as God gives us, just like Daddy did.  And then, when we’re done, it will only get better.”

This is the most tangible understanding of the resurrection that I’ve ever claimed.

We celebrate with our family, with our community, with believers all over the world, and with Daddy and his million friends in heaven.

We celebrate because this isn’t all there is.

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Oh, Beloved Grand Luxe.

I don’t mean to alarm you.  But the Grand Luxe Cafe has closed.   Quite seemingly, for good.

I know. I know.  Take a moment.

They made no farewell, no goodbye (and I seriously think they could have made a good bit of revenue on a giant farewell tour).  Just a sign on the door that says, “Thank you for your years of patronage.  The Grand Luxe Cafe has closed its doors.  Feel free to enjoy The Cheesecake Factory.”

I shall do no such thing.  With all due respect to The Cheesecake Factory, she is not The Grand Luxe.

This is like getting a letter to end a long distance romance, where we’ve only seen each other every few weeks, but our meals together were pure, sweet, luxurious, and rich with conversation and memories.  And now I get this letter that says, “I’m out, but feel free to date my cousin.  He lives closer to you anyway.”

I shall date no cousin of the one I love.  I shall not.

They even refer to themselves as “the Colorado location.”   As if that’s how I’ve addressed my Christmas cards.

Oh, Asian Nachos, how have you forsaken me?  I feel like you’ve gone to heaven.

(Speaking of which, I sincerely hope there are Asian Nachos in heaven.  Robb, submit a memo about that, please.)

So much for dinners with girlfriends,
Christmas Eve with my family,
New Year’s Eve with a crowd,
New Year’s Eve on our own,
Mother’s Day,
My birthday,
Evenings when I decided I deserved a date even if only by myself,
Reunions with long ago friends who have just stepped off the plane and into my city, into my life,
and they are hungry for the best goodness in the history of the world.

I’ll not even go into the fact that Robb took me there every time I could convince him to go again.  We were perfect bread partners: he loved the crusty outsides while I loved the chewy middles.  We each carved out our favorite part and set the other aside in a pile of marital affection.

But I won’t play the widow card right now.  That’s a low-blow, a dirty trick in the face of such loss.

Farewell, Grand Luxe.  I left my heart in your wineglass.

Immeasurable

“Mommy, guess how much I love you.”

We are working side by side in the kitchen; I am cutting fruit, and he is playing on the Cool Math Games website.

“Let’s see.  Do you love me more than ice cream?”

“No.”

Okay then.  “I’m not sure I can guess, Tuck.  How about you tell me how much you love me.”

“I love you more than all the stars.”

“That’s a whole lot, Lovey.”

“And I love you more than all of your kisses forever.”

“Now that’s really a lot.”

“And I love you more than technology.”

I kiss the top of his head, keeping my strawberried fingers out of his hair.  “Now that’s a statement, right there, buddy.”

Class of 2013

I’ve received an invitation to the first graduation party of the season: my first class of students will graduate from high school in a few weeks.

Which is odd, because in my mind they’re all nine years old, shorter than me, delighting in stickers on math pages, journaling about video games, and experimenting with newly perfected cursive handwriting.

There’s nothing quite like your first year as a teacher.  There was definitely nothing quite like mine.  I fell in love with those students.  They taught me as much as I taught them.

And now they’re choosing colleges.  And prom dates.  Both of those decisions fascinate me equally.  I was newly married to Robb and just out of college when I met each of these graduates of 2013.

I can see now how time has passed so quickly, how memories transcend and matter.  But whenever I cross paths with one of them, they are surprised I remember them.

Oh, silly you.  Of course I remember you.  Every single one of you.

Fun Is Too My Thing

“Mommy, it just seems like fun isn’t really your thing.”

Well, not everyone has always thought so, kiddo.  I’m sorry you get the mom version of me.  The sister, friend, love, teacher, companion… she’s a fun girl.

And if only you knew how much worse this could be for you.  Vegetables aren’t even on my radar.

Family legend says that I told my mom once, when I was about their age, “Your childhood was so much better than mine.  I mean, look at the mother you had.”

She said, “I’m sorry to tell you this, but the mother I had is a whole lot like the mother you have.”

And history repeats itself.

I initiated building a snowman, for the record.  Because I’m fun like that.  Also, I didn’t totally lose my mind yesterday when I found the boys wrestling – while Tyler was holding a saw.  I’m not even kidding.  I just calmly asked him to put away the saw. Forever.

I think I’m fun.  There’s fun in me.  There used to be.

I just don’t think a girl’s measure of fun should come down to whether she’s willing to sleep downstairs on any given evening.

Someday, maybe.  Just not tonight.

And I’m still fun.  No matter what they think.

So there.