Yesterday was National Pastor-in-Hiding Day. That is my own special name for the day after Easter. For those of us in the liturgical Church business, we give our all to the high seasons of our work. We pour ourselves into all that is meaning and themes and worship and sacredness. When we say ‘Go in peace’ at the end of the last service on Easter, there is a literal and spiritual release that is often followed by a glorious nap. I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of sunshine and friendship which was followed by a day of pajama wearing documentary watching. It was truly sacred space for me.
Did you know that Easter is not just a day? Eastertide is the name we churchy folks give to the 50 days that we celebrate this season. It took us 40 days to journey to the cross, so it just seems fitting that we take even longer to live in the after party. This is the time when we cast aside the pensive nature of waiting and fully devote ourselves to the act of celebration. Just as we were invited during Holy Week to enter into darkness and contemplate how we have in our own ways crucified Christ, we now are invited to live in the resurrection as we celebrate the risen Christ and honor the things that bring us new life, both big and small.
My writing will have a particular tone in these 50 days. I won’t be posting daily, but I will be telling stories of resurrection and celebration. Some of these stories are big and seem life shifting. Some are smaller and yet still very significant. I firmly believe that we have to choose to be Easter people. This is especially true for people like me that will always notice the bleak, the struggle and the defeat. For the next 50 days, I am turning my eyes to the victories, even the ones that are hard to see, in an intentional attempt to remind myself of the resurrection that is happening all around me.
I am a mother of two very different girls. And when I say different, that word seems insufficient in describing the vast chasm of interests, passion, temperament and goals that these two young women possess. From the time my oldest was aware of the possibility, she wanted to be a big sister. When the opportunity to fulfill that calling was a reality, she wanted to hold and feed and care and cuddle. Unfortunately, my youngest wanted to be in charge from her first breath. She did not need a sister, a guide or a person. She is fiercely independent. She has her own way and goals and stubbornness.
Over the last 13 years, these two beautiful creatures have often resembled the most aggressive of fights between wild animals on the desert plains. I recently saw a picture of an anaconda wrapped around a roaring lion’s belly. This is an accurate picture of my house the last 5 years. One wants to nurture (or kill for the sake of being close). The other wants to literally bite the intruder in half. Ah, sisters. I don’t understand this mindset. Watching their constant aggression has been more than annoying, it has hurt a piece of me that is deeply precious. My siblings are my people. Our best stories are together. I still pick and love and need both of them in ways that I cannot explain. All I have wanted, literally, from the moment that the doctor said, “It’s a girl” the second time around, was for them to be sisters.
Something has shifted in the last 9 months in our house. I have my theories, but honestly, I cannot really explain it. The lack of concrete evidence leaves me in a place of wonder about the resurrection significance of this season. My girls have come to depend on each other. They trust each other. They share their lives. Much like any other person that has gone through struggle and pain, they have both walked through some very big challenges and learned to walk along side each other in ways that they each needed more they could explain. I have countless posed sister pictures, but this is one of my favorites. The unplanned, ‘I need you’ moments that I snap when they are just being silly are my favorites. I have found this bed snuggling image on many recent nights. In the midst of hard decisions or boy drama or the occasional need to gang up on me, they are united.
Now, for the big news. We have one more year as #TeamHilbrich under one roof. The past 2 years have been especially hard and sometimes soul trying. We have all learned so much about the things that matter. In the midst of that learning, we have come to value our differences and similarities. I have written before about the gift that we were given in the decision to think outside the education box with AJ. Over the past few months, we have debated and weighed all of the possibilities as Ally prepared for high school. For completely different, but equally valuable reasons, Ally has decided to join her sister at Laurel Springs next year. They are already planning adventures and learning together. Most importantly, we are going to have this year to be together. Both of these precious and unique creations are driven to pursue their passions. With this decision, we can take our school on the road as we adventure and dream together.
While I see and feel resurrection in so many ways through this decision, perhaps the most stunning part of the journey is my excitement as a mom. I can remember the days of dreading summer. They would be home ALL THE DAYS. I would fret and scramble for babysitters and activities. I would long for VBS weeks. That is completely the opposite in this season. I cannot wait to empower, explore and dream with these amazing young people. While the decision was 100% Ally’s (we went so far as to not even offer an opinion until she had fully pro/con-ed and talked to all the people), I have been doing the happiest of happy dances with the outcome. We have big plans for 2019-2020, and best of all, we are doing it together.