Easter weekend is over. It was beauticious.
Obviously, since we had no classes Friday and none until 10:00 on Monday, we made the most of our weekend. We got home Friday mid-morning. The sun was shining, contrary to the weather forecast, and Mom, Naomi and the twins were in the yard with rakes and other tools, tidying up what was destroyed by snow and rain and lots of heavy vehicles and equipment driving on the lawn, and building materials that were stacked there. It felt like spring even though there is far less greenery at home than in Moscow. I put away my suitcase and had the just-home glass of icy cold water (well water! Woot!), said Hi to the girls, and joined them in the yard, uncovering our rock path from the house to the cellar with the tools and a broom and the hose.
Abel and Seth started climbing the rocks by the house, so I had Naomi run after my camera and we went for a walk with them. I had a tour of their castles and forts, watched Naomi climb a tree, looked at gopher trails on the logging road above the house. We climbed up a mossy rock that was still slippery from the day-before rains, and wound our way to the Trailer House Rock, they stopped at the TT Tree, and then not far from the big rock (where the Phlox flowers will be growing soon) we found a snake. Once convinced all snakes aren't poisonous, they became very interested, and we enjoyed him for about 15 minutes. That was Friday morning.
The rest of Friday and Saturday were filled with visiting, cooking, ironing, planning hairdos, taking pictures, watching movies, more walks, a bit of Aesop's fables, reading the girls' stories over their shoulders as they wrote... Luke arrived late Friday night, and Saturday he bought a new car which we had to admire.
It's pretty much tradition to go to Grandma and Grandpa Smiley's for Easter, and to their church with them. We were amused by their new pastor who introduced his sermon by saying it wouldn't be long, and who led the singing by hitting a button on a remote that turned CCM on on the sterio (since their pianist, Heather, is now in Moscow). The words were projected onto the wall for us, and we were able to find the tune after listening a bit. :) We were about 1/2 of the congregation, and they loved it. They are all very sweet and delighted by visitors.
The saddest part of the service was communion. Music played softly on the sterio, and the pastor knelt praying to the side of the podium. The bread (tiny wafer squares) and wine (grape juice) was on a small table at the front of the church below a great cross on the wall. And the congregants filed up the aisle to get their piece and their sip and go back to their seats. It all felt a bit awkward and unlike communion and altogether pitiful to see them go by, partake alone, and slip past the line of people waiting to their seats again. Somehow I think they missed something about the whole deal. Mom and Dad asked some of us girls if we wanted to partake or just skip it since we were visiting, and we decided to join in, following the example of Grandpa and our uncles Brian and Chris who each went up and got the sacrament for themselves and their wives. We went in a clump, bringing back for the little ones, and our rows ate and drank more or less one with another.
And then Grandma's house. What with Maria, Luke and I, the 12 at home and Mom and Dad, Vicki with Ben, Natalie (2 1/2) and Hailey (10 mos), Matt with Maylene and Daniel (2), then Mom's little sister Kelley with Chris and baby Chloe (5 mos), her brother Brian with Sue and the twins Madalynn and Meredith (20 months), it was a fantastic houseful! So many chairs and paper punch cups and dessert plates, cameras and diaper bags and sippy cups and bottles, flouffy dresses and neckties some of which were discarded for easier clothes, baby dolls and strollers, the kiddie piano, two play telephones, a stairway, a magazine rack for a horse, chocolate eggs on the table, and Brian's dog Lady for the kids to play with. It was raining outside and so good inside we skipped our hike (except for some of the guys who went out to the junk pile for a car part and got soaked). Conversation and eating and a cartoon, spit-up and baby naps and spankings, punctuated by moments of cleanup and photography binges.
I noticed while sharing Grandpa's huge leather chair with Seth, while Kelley looked for a Little Rascals show, that this moment was one instance of home: Grandma and Mom loving on the babies, mothers taking things away from toddlers and sending them off to toys again, small faces peeking through the rails of the stairway, Grandpa and Dad and the big guys' voices curling around the corners from the living room, ice cream and 8 different kinds of pies on the table, and the boys stomping in with wet boots still laughing over something someone's uncle or brother said. The small persons are new, and the young mothers were not long ago girls talking about school and horses and dreams, but this is us. I love family holidays.