Monday, April 5, 2010

Sunday Best

So yes, yesterday was Easter Sunday. And we do celebrate it, so you'd think I'd be here today posting photos of my children in pastel Easter outfits hunting for brightly colored eggs amid flowers and spring-green shoots of grass, right?

Wrong.

And I'll tell you why. There are two factors at play that ensure the lack of Easter family photos in our house:

Number 1: the weather.

The weather on Easter Sunday in the Pacific Northwest is shit. There, I said it. And I stand by it, too. I dare anyone living within a 200-mile radius of me to challenge this. My friend in Eureka, CA got snow this year. Snow! And she lives almost 4 hours to the south.

We had rain. Buckets and buckets of rain. And it's occurred to me that perhaps, in other regions of the continent, people adapt to their weather conditions and plan accordingly, but not us. Oh no. It is spring, and Jesus has risen, and dammit all to hell in a handbasket, we are going to socialize outside on the courtyard after the church service in our dresses and skirts and brimmed hats come the apocalypse or anything else. Our rain-soaked, matted hair and water-logged sandals will not deter us, and no matter how frozen our fingers become, we will not let the wind rip our umbrellas right out of our hands.

Not again. Not this year.

And then, every year, we plan after-church activities which cannot possibly happen in a million years without inducing hypothermia in the very old and very young: egg hunts on the lawn. Picnics at the park. Springtime crafts and wine tastings at the vineyard (I was so looking forward to that one). Instead, we have to relocate everything indoors at the last minute. And this is an undisputed fact: any indoor space (from a church basement to a living room) not planned upon as an egg hunt/craft station/indoor picnic location well in advance does not a photogenic backdrop make. Any photo I'd take of the kids hunting down eggs would undoubtedly have not just their Easter baskets but my basket of unfolded laundry or half of Nate's discarded science fair project in the background.

And even if I were to get a decent background, I'm still left with factor #2: the clothes.

Sometime around 2006, I gave up dressing my kids for Easter. Wait, don't misread this: they're dressed, as in, they do have clothes on, but that's about as picky as I get.

I wasn't always this way. There was a time when I'd buy darling Easter outfits for my kids, making trips to BabyGap and Gymboree as early as late February to ensure they had all the sizes and colors I needed in their stock of matching sweater vests and slacks. Then I'd force the children into these outfits and pose them on the front porch, instructing them to stop shivering until I'd gotten a good shot.

Seriously. I did this.

And they were adorkable. But then, about four years ago, Toby outgrew the last pinstriped, embroidered duckling shirt I had folded in a storage tub (along with the coordinating brown loafers), and I never went back. To the extent that, this year, I neglected to think about Easter attire altogether until fifteen minutes before we were supposed to be in church when I hastily pulled any shirt with potential from the boys' closets and flung them on the beds, matching them with whatever jeans didn't have rips in them. Calvin took one look at the cotton polo I'd unearthed for him and declared it too 'fancy pants'.

"Mom! It has this scratchy part!"

Otherwise known as a collar. Where did that kid think he was being raised, on the set of My Name is Earl?

But there's a point when there's just no point anymore, once your kids reach a certain age. You simply become worn down by their sheer inability to wear something for longer than 20 minutes without ruining it or outgrowing it. (And if you disagree with me, I bet you have girls.) Their pleated khakis all have grass stains on them, and the only shoes they own which do not have cleats for soles are permamently caked in mud.

And so yesterday, they all ran out the door for church in various states of Sunday best: I'd found Nate's dress shirt from Thanksgiving, squinted at it for a while trying to decide if the orange hues could be considered springlike, then ordered him in it, along with his least-holey jeans and his least-muddy sneakers. (But when he couldn't find his jacket, he ended up wearing his ski team sweatshirt through the whole service. How was anyone supposed to admire his autumn harvest theme then?)

Calvin wore the offensive polo with his least-holey jeans and least-muddy sneakers, found his jacket, but never brushed his hair. Toby won the prize for best dressed in a crisp, light-blue Lands' End collared button-down that Calvin once wore to a wedding. I totally scored with that one. And as for me? I put on my cutest skirt and flimsiest sandals and dutifully froze half to death. But at least I looked good doing it.

Not that you'll see any photographic evidence.
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