Sunday, March 27, 2016


Keep it simple stupid. 

Our Easter tradition comes from a great place, it is inexpensive, unique and really easy. 

Backstory, Michael was going to Oklahoma to visit his family on the first Easter we were together. So I bucked tsa rules and wrote him a note on a puzzle and hid the pieces throughout his luggage without his knowledge. 

Every Easter since we have hidden a puzzle with a secret message on it. 

No basket, no candy but I like it because it is special to our family. 

But I feel the pull. There is so much cute stuff out there that Andrew would love. He would have died if we'd used a dump truck as an Easter basket. 

And I agree with it on the surface. However, I'm conflicted because my mom did work to make my childhood magical. And it really was in many ways. 

She would throw dress up tea parties and my big sister and cousins would do my little friends and my garish makeup. She would organize the neighborhood kids to throw impromptu talent shows. She and my aunts competed at who could pull the silliest or sneakiest pranks on each other (toilet paper was king). 

We had traditions of course but what stuck with me was out overriding tradition which was being outside the box. And I loved and love it. 

Thinking about my childhood and that article I think the differences are at least these. 1) the magic created as described above was basically free. It was the creative mind of a mom and her crew who had pretty limited financial resources but invested the time happily 2) my childhood was set in a neighborhood (an apartment complex really). There were lots of other kids around including at least a few cousins. 3) my mom really let her personal social life revolve around the kids- I genuinely believe because she loved it. 

I hope to be creative and interesting in how I raise my kids. And that's pretty inexpensive. I have a lot more available resources than my mom and i hope that enhances rather than replaces the creativity she brought to my childhood. 

I don't know how to make my friends and family more like a neighborhood. These days everyone has something else going on and it gets harder to have impromptu adventure. And since impromptu adventure is hard to achieve you wind up scheduling things which then ties you up from being able to have impromptu adventure. Then it becomes a vicious cycle. 

The third point is the one I need to deviate from my mom's model. Because I see now how poorly it works down the road. As much as I want my kid's childhoods to be magical I want my adulthood to be interesting and engaging in itself and I want to have my own ambition to work toward when my children inevitably forsake me. 

So, as I sit here without a kids Easter basket to pilfer, I want to do my best to have our traditions and the magic we make for our kids come naturally, creatively and in the spirit of enriching the whole family. This is easier said than done sometimes but still worth a shot. 

Puzzle hunt
Andrew putting Miranda's puzzle together. 
Chocolate bunny from friends are still appreciated
All gussied up
It still brings joy to put babies in silly headpieces


Kathy said...

I love this article! It's funny you mentioned the "neighborhood" of apartment complexes. I have noticed that since moving to my current place. One of our neighbors lived here his entire life (birth through high school), and he had a rich social life with neighbors and a few cousins who live in the complex. At first, I remember being sad about kids who "didn't have a yard" or whatever I thought came with living in a standalone home, but I looked out the window one day to see a group of them (lifelong friends and family) tossing a football around in a huge, green open space bigger than any yard in front of one of the two pools at our complex. They were steps away from their own front doors, away from the street, safe, and happy. They were, I realized, closer than any group of kids could be who didn't share the walls of apartments. Childcare was easier, kids were safer (in spite of our less-than-safe general neighborhood), and there was a really strong sense of community. There are definitely downsides, I'm sure, but it seems difficult to recreate this experience in other environments.

Your kids are going to have an awesome, magical childhood, A. They have creative, funny, interesting, loving parents, and they have each other. Sounds like a win-win to me. :)

aeep said...

Yeah, I lived in the same townhouse from 6mknths until college. I knew the complex blindfolded and had a yard and pool and kids to be with that basically no single family home could rival. M and I talked seriously about that as an option.