I was actually really excited about the entire weekend of Easter. We had two egg hunts planned, one for the little kids at our house and one for the older kids at my brother in laws house. We also had one of Halea's scholarship banquets to attend. It was going to be a really busy day and Sunday we were doing the Passover Dinner, like in the Old Testament. I was hoping being busy would be good for me. Last year, Tates was here for the egg hunt and Easter. Everyone was here. Lance's sister and her husband that live in St. George even came up for it. It was just a really nice day. Tatum even got to go out and sit on the porch swing. Easter was just another one of the firsts without her. We kept everything really simple this year. I was able to stuff the eggs the night before, made most of the dinner the night before so the morning went really smooth and low stress. We ate when everyone arrived, then off to the egg hunt. We had four little nephews come and Hilary. All five and under! What great, easy ages to please.
Then we just hung out and visited. One of the families we don't see super often stayed for quite awhile after everyone else left. Lance and I had a list a mile long of things that we should have been doing, (and I'm sure they did too) but it was so fun to visit with them. While Tatum was sick I learned very quickly that a lot of things just don't matter. People and relationships and friendships matter. I have tried hard to maintain that pattern of thought. I try to not get caught up on the "things" in life. I am so not perfect at it, but I am trying to improve and pause a lot more. I was so grateful that they stayed and visited. It was one of the highlights of my day. At one point in the day my nephew's wife and I were peering out the window watching the kids playing in the back yard. She said to me, "it's so hard to watch Hilary by herself, without Tatum." She nailed it. I was thankful for her words. I know that some people see it and think it, but it's too hard to say. It is nice for someone else to say it. It is killing me every day to think of her growing up without her side kick. The other day I opened our iPad and one of the kids had changed the wallpaper picture to a picture of Tatum that I hadn't seen in awhile. I showed it to Hilary and she said, "Aww." and sighed this sad sigh. I told her that I missed her a lot, and she nodded and gave me a hug.
Lance and I met Halea in Salt Lake for the scholarship banquet, another 500.00 to add to her pot of college money. It was a nice program and a yummy dinner. We sat with a few other kids from Lehi, so that was nice. Then we rushed home and grabbed the other kids and went up to the big kids night egg hunt. It was really fun. Lance's sister that died a year and a half ago used to organize it with her daughter, so now her daughter does it. It feels really important to keep these traditions alive. It helps us to solidify those fond memories of loved ones. I still really miss my sister-in-law. My kids still call their house "aunt Becky's". She was always such a good aunt to our kids. She truly loved them, so I know that she is taking care of Trevin and Tatum.
Sacrament meeting at church was nice. All of the talks were sweet and true testaments of our Savior. After sacrament I was walking to my class when someone came up to me in the hall and asked if I would go and help in the nursery. A nursery full of kids that are Tatum's age. I know that people don't keep track of how old Tatum would be, so I don't blame anyone, but it is still really hard for me to see and imagine what it would be like if she was still here. So in I went to nursery. When I got there I realized why she had asked me to help. There were several kids crying. There were several adults, but there were enough kids crying that it still seemed chaotic. I took one of the criers and slowly he calmed down and then started participating. Soon everyone was pretty calm, so after a half hour or so I excused myself. There are two little girls in there that were born within weeks of Tatum. They are both so adorable. I don't even think of Tatum walking or talking or doing the things that they are doing because I know that she wouldn't be doing those things. I don't want that regular two year old, I just want Tatum. I wish that these feeling would subside, but they just seem to be getting harder and worse. My heart literally just aches for her.
When I got home I started getting prepared for our Passover dinner. My niece and her husband were coming, so I wanted to be prepared. I tried to set the table pretty and then I read over the old testament scriptures that cover the Passover and its symbolism.
On Wednesday before Easter we had our Relief Society class. The teacher prepared the passover dinner for all of us. We studied the scriptures and then studied those last few days before Christ's Atonement and crucifixion. It was so emotional. I love the symbolism of the dinner items. They first eat the bitter herbs that represented their bondage, and sin. Our teacher told us to watch the person next to us as we ate them. That face you make when you eat those disgusting herbs truly is a great representation of sin! Then you immediately want the next course, the unleavened bread. (we used pita bread for convenience) As you put the bread into your mouth it absorbs a lot of the taste, but not all. The bread represents repentance (our part). Then the last part of the meal, the meat. The first passover dinners used lamb. They were to sacrifice the lamb, paint the blood over the door for protection. The lamb was to represent the Savior, obviously. As you eat the meat, it truly takes away any remnants of the bitter herbs that were left in your mouth. It is such a great visual of what the Savior truly does for us. He does what no one else can do. At the last supper the Savior changes the passover ordinance to the sacrament that we take to this day. I had never put that last part together. At our Wednesday class we talked about that last supper before Christ was taken away. It says in the scriptures that he "desired" to eat it with his disciples. He knew what was about to happen to him, and yet he still desired to do it because He loved all of us that much. He knew it was the only way. It is truly a gift that I can never repay. I will see Trevin and Tatum and Aunt Becky and my sister and my grandpa and countless other friends and relatives, because of this selfless act. How could I ever be thankful enough for such hope. I feel an even deeper appreciation for what it all means after this past week.
I have seen several small miracles in the past few weeks. There were a few things that were a worry to me going into our trip with Halea. While we were on our trip they all worked out. No one even knew I was worried about these things, but my Heavenly Father did. I had been praying about them, and miraculously they got fixed. Not coincidences.
Our trip with Halea was fantastic. I may try and write about it in the next few days. There were some really inspiring things that we were able to see. She has received notice of several scholarships that she has won, she was told today that she is in the top 25 graduating students so she gets to "audition" to speak at her graduation. Then she found out today that she is also in the Prom royalty! We were laughing our heads off because it isn't really her thing and she wouldn't consider herself one of the "popular" kids. I am so glad that she has had such a great senior year. She has worked hard on her grades and other accomplishments, so I am happy to see her recognized for that. Here is a sampling of her senior pictures that we just had taken. They turned out so beautiful.
Hayden has been playing tennis and loving it. I think that he really likes the "tan" he's getting. I have had so much fun watching him play. I LOVE tennis! The other day he was playing a kid from one of the more affluent schools. The other kid was killing him, but when that kid would miss a shot he would still get so mad. Hayden on the other hand had such a good attitude. His body language was springy and happy even though he was struggling. Even when the other kid would make a good shot Hayden would clap and tell him, "good shot" or "good serve". I was teary watching him. I was so proud to be his mom. (he never lets me take pictures of him, so no photo shown)
Holden is wearing one of the trinkets that he won at the night egg hunt. It is fitting. He is quite a character. He announced at 7:30 pm last night that his county report was due, the next day! OK, I should have been a little more on top of things, but really no warning!! He worked hard all night and got the bare minimum done. I hope that this is not a foreshadowing of things to come. He is such a quiet little light in our home. He is genuinely sweet and kind hearted. Hopefully we can help him channel his energy to the good things in life. If so he will do great things.
right side up....
She has changed my perspective on life, helped me look through different glasses. I love her. She has helped heal my sad heart. She has truly kept the sunshine in our family. Forever grateful and full of hope.