Well, Easter is over. Time to shovel down the rest of the chocolate, pick all that blasted Easter grass from out of the rug, and get back to normal life agai... Just kidding! The official celebration of Easter lasts a full EIGHT days, guys! We have eight days of solemnities, the highest feast days of the Church, to revel in this mystery of the Resurrection and rejoice! (And the entire season lasts FIFTY!) Don't forget that! Let the wisdom of the Church lead your homes.
Our secular world is hard on moms. We're expected to cram SO MUCH into 24 hours...a special breakfast to greet the family in the morning, Easter baskets filled with individually selected treats, perfectly planned and executed elaborate multiple course feasts, matching new Easter outfits for all the kids, egg boiling and dyeing, perfectly posed family portraits, egg hunts in the yard, extended family obligations (and the drama that maybe comes with), and oh, squeeze church somewhere in there, too, where your sugared-up kids are now expected to behave like voiceless, cherub-faced dolls and smile at the elderly woman they've never met who loves seeing children. Oh, hey. Your home is supposed to be perfectly scrubbed and decorated before all this, too. And then after the crazy rush of Sunday, it's all...over. It's no wonder we moms are left exhausted (and maybe a bit resentful), ready to be done with the whole thing, having barely entered into the deeper reality and the point of it all.
BUT the liturgical calendar is so wise and gentle on us mothers! It is such a gift to be able to spread out the celebrating and allow ourselves to truly rest in the graces of Easter. It's the greatest feast of the Christian life! It's a time to remember what He created us for and the entire point of everything. After a birth, we are often so quick, too quick, to get right back to "normal." We forget that a new birth changes everything! And it's supposed to! That postpartum time is supposed to be a time set apart, a chance to rest and enter into the mystery of this new life we've been given. It's an invitation to just BE, to set everything else aside and remember what life really is all about. Our country is terrible about setting this time apart and we know that this is not healthy for moms, babies, and is contributing to the high and rising PPD rates in this country...rates we don't see in other countries that have a special culturally respected time set apart for new mothers. Maybe Easter is a little bit the same. There is something incredibly important about entering into this time after the birth of all births and letting it change us, remembering that a birth like this should rock our world. New life has entered the world. All of creation is reborn. There is something very wise and spiritually healthy about setting time aside to simply live in that mystery for just a little bit before getting back to normal.
So take heart if you didn't get to all the Easter things you wanted to with your family. There's still time for egg hunts and treats, special dinners and beautiful pictures if you want to do them (though I don't blame you for getting rid of that awful grass...I mean, even right after a birth someone's still got to clean up a bit of that mess). There's still reason to proclaim that Christ our Lord is risen indeed. Choose to enter in and celebrate. Choose to honor the gift that He made and the work that He did. Give yourself some time off and some grace to rest in the reality of the Resurrection and the life-changing reality of this new life in Christ. Yes, there will still be dinners to make, fights to manage, sugar to moderate, and laundry to keep up with but in our hearts we can choose to claim that Alleluia every day. We can let these days of Easter be set apart both in our hearts and in our families. Christ died and rose so that we might truly LIVE as well. Let's do that.