It’s 2am and the baskets are almost put together. I glance at Mr. Brickie and he catches my gaze and we both sigh as if on cue. We are not sure this is going to be enough.
Making good financial decisions means accepting the risk of disappointing your kids. Last year we got them scooters from craigslist but this year the scooters are going strong and there were no good bikes on Craigslist. We walked through the aisles of the Dollar Store looking for things that were the Venn Diagram match between $1 and “Not too Cheap” and came up with bunny face sunglasses, headbands with bunny ears, paddle balls, and inflatable easter … things.
About 1am I was blowing up the rabbit and the ears wouldn’t inflate. I blew harder. At one point I had one of those late-night epiphanies along the lines of, “Trying harder doesn’t always fix things.” Which led me to plug the bunny and start squeezing it around the ear area. I felt like I was in a fun house version of every medical show on television.
“Will he make it?”
“I don’t know…I just…don’t…know…”
Finally the ears give and start to fill. I’m relieved to be finished blowing this up, knowing it is the visual “oomph” piece of these little dollar store baskets with candy they love but not a whole lot of it and feel something on my face.
Like a tiny breeze.
A tiny breeze whispering failure on my cheek. I see the tiny hole and ask Mr. B for packing tape because I will be damned if this thing isn’t inflated for Easter morning. I blow and plug and quickly slide my finger where my tongue was so I don’t have to wait for him to tape the thing to get the chemical plastic taste out of my mouth and he gets it and I sigh – for the hundredth time – and feel a moment of relief.
Then I realize the duck is deflating. I realize that the dollar store is not the place to buy inflatables but it’s too late for that now. The duck’s plug won’t stay plugged. It’s a size issue, or something. I have Mr. B get a bigger piece of packing tape so we can just tape the whole thing down.
I have never used so much packing tape at Easter.
I wonder if my kids will be disappointed. If they will question how little they are getting compared to other years. If they will somehow notice and will this be the reason they stop believing in the Easter Bunny (if they still do, I think we have the 5yo still and the other two won’t ruin it for her and that’s all I care about) and if they do does that mean I failed at Easter?
All of this is communicated in the sigh my husband and I exchange. We are exhausted. Defeated by another holiday we were unable to properly save or plan for. Then, he lights up and I look at him with pure confusion. “What?” I say.
I just remembered I picked something up last week.
It’s the one Skylander figure they are missing to complete the game we bought them at Christmas. The character wasn’t available at Christmas and has been sold out consistently since its release. He saw one and bought it.
So, in addition to their dollar store easter goodies (and little gold Lindt bunnies, which are a tradition) when they walk into the game room the morning they will see a shared gift for all three of them that was $15. As a group gift it is still a fairly good deal. He almost bought them all XBox gift cards but I talked him down from that ledge.
We both want to give our children so much more.
Snuggled in bed, I say with my last breath before sleep descends upon me, “I hope it’s enough.” He responds, “I’m sure it is.” I let the words do their job.
We are jolted awake at the first light of morning by screams and shouts of joy. The children are thrilled with their baskets and declare it to be the best Easter ever. They jump on our bed to hug us and tell us how wonderful their toys and candy are. We laugh with them and kiss them and drift back to sleep as they go compare baskets and eat chocolate for breakfast.
An unknown amount of time later (but probably not long) the kids run into our bedroom screeching with joy. “We got the final Skylander! The Easter Bunny brought us the final Skylander!” I crack my eye open (the one not still in the pillow) and see the look on my 10 year old’s face that is a combination of joy and secret knowing. This one knows we are the Easter Bunny, but she’s not going to give it away. Thank goodness.
The younger two go on about how cool Easter is and the oldest chimes in because she agrees Easter is very cool and can enjoy these moments freely, without slyness, because enjoyment does not have secrets attached. She is back to being a little girl, giddy for chocolate and video games.
I drag my not-enough-sleep body out of bed and look at the small baskets not even full and realize that they don’t keep score. They don’t measure this basket against the basket of ‘11 or ‘14 … there is only this basket in the here and now and they appreciate it with open hearts just as much as they did when they got scooters or whatever else we have gotten them in past baskets they do not remember.
As I watch them play Skylanders from the kitchen as my water takes too long to boil in the teakettle I am filled with a sense of peace and love and so much gratitude for what I have.
I no longer feel bad for not giving my children more. What we have given them is good enough.