When I was a little girl Easter looked like a starched white dress with a pink pinafore and matching ribbons in my hair, complete with white patent leather shoes over ankle socks turned down to the lace trim.
It looked like a church cantata and my pale pink Precious Moments bible opened to the Gospel.
Like a basketful of candy and a stuffed bunny perched on my antique dresser.
Like the edges of a well-worn quilt spread out on the back lawn by the irises where the grown-ups drank sweet tea while we hunted for hidden eggs with our cousins.
One of my favorite childhood memories was when my parents hid the golden egg so well that we never did find it until later that spring, when my dad ran over it with the lawnmower and showered shards across the lawn.
(I do not think that it is my father’s favorite memory.)
Some twenty-odd years later Easter looks similar, except I’m the one sipping sweet tea on the quilt while the sounds of laughter trail across the yard, tiny little legs chasing down treasure-filled eggs.
But it feels different, like the edges of a memory, the faint shimmer of hope and miracles that you can’t quite grasp but are always catching a glimpse of out of the corner of your eye.
The miracles all coincide around that Easter date circled on the calendar – the ones I’ve been witness to and the one that changed our history’s timeline; a trio of crosses to an empty tomb.
This week marked the 6th anniversary of the day that we brought our daughter home from the hospital after spending nearly half of her first year of life in the NICU.
I shared on Instagram about how on that day six years ago we drove carefully up to our house with her to see that all of our rose bushes had bloomed for the very first time that season.
It felt symbolic, the way life lay still in the cold of winter and unfurled its petals to blossom in the spring.
Ridley was born just shy of 5 years to the day later, nine months of uncertainly leaning into the hope that I found illuminated in the darkness all those years before.
This week I hitched him up on my hip to blow out a birthday candle, my redeeming evidence of hope in the unexpected.
And then on Wednesday, exactly six years later, I picked Scarlette up from school and she came bounding out of the kindergarten building all bright and beautiful and full of life.
And when I pulled up to the house, on her homecoming date, all of our rosebushes were in full bloom.
“For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come.” ~ Song of Solomon 2:11-12
They are my Easter babies, both coming home from the hospital to an Easter story that I recognized in a new way – the one where we acknowledge the days where the deepest of despair gave way to an ever enduring hope.
Easter has become indelible on me.
I feel the gravity of Easter here, in the memories of my springs. The way the darkness hung heavy, the weight of grief, the tightness of fear.
And I feel the freedom of Easter here, in the life of my present. The way the dawn broke across the dark, the weight of glory, the lightness of love.
The wild mystery of faith that gave us redemption when hope came unexpected.
This is what Easter looks like here.