Little Brooks made a comment to me this morning that quite frankly I had been mulling over myself, although had not yet given voice to. He mentioned that holidays were different without Daddy around, and in fact, as we got closer and closer to Easter I’d been thinking the same thing.

Obviously, he’s not here, so that’s just too obvious to miss. But, what Brooksy was making a point of, was the fact that holidays are completely different during deployments. Sometimes holidays occur on alternative dates. Santa has been known to visit us weeks prior to Jesus’s birthday. Birthday’s are just as wacky… we’ve coordinated web cams so that D.Brooks could watch Little B blow out his candles and listen to us sing him happy birthday.

But it goes beyond that. There are some things that we do during a holiday that we wouldn’t normally do with Big Brooks, and vice versa. It all depends on the holiday but for sure things are different, and My Boy is getting old enough to pick up on those differences. We do a lot more running around when D.Brooks is gone. He’s not a big fan of crowd infested events so we usually skip those when he’s home.

In our family D.Brooks always knows he’s leaving again so we are always have a date looming large over our heads. That can color things, tinge them in such a way that everything gets marred. Art projects not completed during Brooks’ work day or schedule won’t get done while he’s home. We’re too busy spending time with Brooks, talking his ear off, or just being near him, that those things get discarded by the wayside.

It’s an abnormal existence that for us is wholly normal.

I vividly remember our second Christmas together, that coincidentally we spent apart. Brooks’ parents had come down to Georgia to visit with us before he deployed to Kuwait (prior to the thrust into Iraq in 2003).  We all knew he’d be involved in something, that they wouldn’t just sit in Kuwait if something happened. It made me so sad to think that he’d be alone on such a big day and so I ordered us an artificial tree over the internet, this smallish thing that we placed on a table to give it some semblance of height.

But when I think of that now, it doesn’t make me sad anymore. It makes me smile, at what we were, at the memory of the day, because for us, that was our Christmas.

And so another holiday apart is about to transpire before us. One we didn’t rush to celebrate before he left, like our combined birthday celebration in January. I miss that he’s not here to help me assemble Brooks’ basket. I miss that he’s not here to help me eat the bunny’s treats or hide his basket. Tomorrow I’ll miss Brooks just a little more than I usually allow myself, because I know it’ll be another holiday that he’s missing with his boy. Another holiday shared over the phone, via pictures posted on the web, and a blog post.

And I remain ever proud of him and the profession he’s chosen. Though we miss him, and wish every moment to be together, this is our here and now, and we’d be silly not to embrace it. Someday our life story will change… we’ll be blessed with a calendar looming large over our heads, with empty spaces waiting to be filled, year after year. Won’t that be something?

And so today we partook in some Easter celebrations, without Brooks, though we thought of him often.

My wonderful friend Tanja invited us to her church’s Easter egg hunt. Although I’d been hurting pretty badly the night before I’m glad I pushed myself to make it. The hunt was at a parishioners home and they had graciously provided different areas for hunting eggs according to age as well as a wonderful lunch. Marilyn and Brooks got plenty of candy filled eggs and had a great time.

I had been planning on taking the kiddos to the Killeen Easter Egg hunt but at the last moment changed my mind. My foot was already protesting and I was still tired from the night before. The kiddos came home and went straight to Brooks’ room to play with his toys, which they later abandoned when I put on a Veggie Tales movie. I heart Netflix… just saying.

After I rested I took the kids outside to play in the sprinkler. The girls, Marilyn and Rayanna, drew pictures on the driveway with chalk while BB and I played catch with a mini football. Football in a boot is not the keenest idea, but I tried my best and we had a great time. It was nice to spend some one on one with The Boy doing something we love.

Later the girls joined B in the sprinkler and they all played with bubbles.

After the kiddos came in we worked on some Hot Cross Bunnies. Here is the link:

The recipe is super simple and the kids loved being able to make the whole thing. We figured we’d make some for the Easter Bunny to snack on while he visits our home. There are few things that smell as amazing as baking bread. Yum!

While we let the dough rest and double in size we headed to Cove’s Church of the Nazarene for an Easter Musical. One of our homeschool families had mentioned that her church put this production on every year and that it was a neat thing to see, so in the car we jumped and went (this, the running around in the car, might be one of the primary reasons why my foot is doing so poorly).

The musical was amazing. I think we need to go again next year. I cried like a baby and enjoyed every second of it. The kiddos were on the edge of their seats. They enjoyed it as well.

I’m including photos of the Hot Cross Bunnies after they were formed by Brooks and Marilyn and baked. We never got around to dying our eggs, though it’s on our list of things to do tomorrow. I found  a neat link for shaving cream egg dying that I thought the kids would love. Plus, I have a ton of games and activities for tomorrow, so it’s going to be a busy and full day.

Just the way I like it.