After my post-semester hangover on Thursday, we made the last-minute decision to join my family for Easter in Orem. Easter egg hunts are more fun when there are 30 plus cousins to enjoy the battle for candy.
Peter has no recollection of Easter last year, partly because I was mucho grande pregnant and too overwhelmed with embryo to do much with eggs, and partly because there was such an abundance of snowdrifts and arctic-esque winds in Rexburg that when we shivered our way down to the park for the Easter Egg Hunt, volunteers simply herded all of the kids into a line and quickly handed candy to the kids so they wouldn't get Springtime-in-Rexburg frostbite. So this year was like Peter's first Hunt, and he delivered enough cuteness to overwhelm even the greatest Easter scrooge. He was enjoying his typical 45 minute breakfast, savoring each bite of Grandma's wheat pancakes, when we rushed him outside to join in the Hunt. It wasn't until we got outside that we noticed that he had pulled a "Jean Valjean" and had made off with not one, not two, but THREE of his Grandma's nice silver forks, and added them to his Easter booty. I yelled out to him, "Peter, use the FORKS!" in my best Obi-Wan voice as he searched high and low (Okay. . . he's only two-and-a-half feet high. . . low and low would be more fitting) to find plastic eggs. Each egg was like his first egg, and he belly-laughed his way through each one in his bag, gasping with toddler-delight at each and every glance of candy from the first egg to the last.
After Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, Eric shared an Easter insight with me that I wanted to pass along. He was holding Marie during the Sacrament, and as he watched the Priests cover the bread and water, he thought back to the day of her birth, remembering seeing her for the first time. The doctor roughly pulled her out of me, knowing that my uterus was filling with blood, not knowing if she had aspirated any of it. He described to me his first glimpse of her, gray and waxy, looking more dead than alive. He watched the pediatrician roughly throw her head back like a ragdoll, trying to clear her throat so she could breathe, tossing her back and forth as he tried to get her to gasp in some air. When we heard her let out her first gurgling cry, we later found out we had shared an identical, shuddering thought : "At least she's ours. . ."
Later that night, we let ourselves hope for more time with her than a single breath. With the help of needles and tubes, she took more breaths, and fully fleshed out the miracle of her birth.
Yesterday, he watched the Sacrament being passed, and replayed those surreal images from a year ago in his mind, remembering the miraculous moment he knew that Marie wasn't dead. Eric told me how thought to himself, "What in YOU died that night because she lived? Because you witnessed her overcome death, what have you done to live a better life?" He told me how he wondered if he had allowed cynicism or bad habits or sin to die because of that night so full of life. As he thought of the Easter scripture in Luke 24 :6 that says, "He is not here, but is risen" he wondered if someone who hadn't seen him for several years could say the same of his old self. "Where is the old you? He/She is not here; a new self has risen." Eric talked about how the sacrament yesterday was somehow different because it was Easter, that difference highlighted because of the beautiful, vibrant baby he was holding in his arms. He wondered if we shouldn't allow part of ourselves to die each Sunday, replacing that part with something new, something better, something more like Christ--the very person whose death and rebirth we commemorate as we take upon ourselves His name. I hadn't ever thought of the Sacrament quite that way, and I know that next Sunday will be different as I think of Marie's upcoming birthday, wondering what part of me I let die because she was able to live, remembering how every part of Him was sacrificed so that this weekly rebirth could be possible.