So this is a weird way to put this, but I keep thinking it – if 2012 is my last year to live (and it almost certainly isn’t), I am definitely living it right! I had a pitch perfect Christmas, a slam dunk Mardi Gras, an amazing trip outside the country, a majorly fun visit from my sister and her hubs, and now we just experienced my favorite Easter (as an adult). I’m doing something right here. Getting jobs and moving towards finding a permanent home has apparently rosied up my glasses, because everything seems to be working out to perfection this year. KNOCKING ON SO MUCH WOOD.
Holy Week was a special one for me. I remain a non-evangelical, still-searching, skeptical Presbyterian who nevertheless regularly attends church and finds only things I like there – and during Holy Week, I attended the heck outta that church. (I went five times in eight days.) The preacher cedes the pulpit to a huge orchestral classical piece twice per year, on Palm Sunday and the Sunday nearest Christmas. Therefore, the day before Palm Sunday (Palm Saturday?) I spent most of the morning practicing Mozart’s Grand Mass with our choir, a full orchestra, and paid soloists. The next day, after the children had processed up the center aisle waving palm fronds, we performed the Grand Mass in the place of a normal church ceremony and received a rousing standing ovation from a thrilled crowd when we finished. Jack stayed through the whole piece and watched, rapt. I was as proud of him as I was of myself.
On Wednesday, we had choir practice as usual in the evening, and the following night we performed another pair of gorgeous pieces for Maundy Thursday. Few members attend this once-a-year evening service, which is a shame, because it is breathtakingly gorgeous. All is somber, silent, unadorned. The altar flower arrangements and vestments are removed, the cross and altar are draped in black, verses are read, hymns are sung, and it is cool and quiet in the gloom of the twilit sanctuary. We sang the Fissinger Lux Aeterna, and if you click on that link and listen to it while you continue to read this post, you won’t regret it. It was haunting, perfect, and made me want to go stay in a monastery for a week and do it every day.
The next day Jack had no school (Good Friday is a holiday in this Catholic town), and Liam’s nanny has that day off (also a Catholic!), so I had both boys with me. We picked up around the house and took a jog to the park, then went home and napped and waited for our dear friends Vern, Michelle, and Savannah to arrive. Vern and I were in the band together in North Carolina, and we’ve seen each other a few times since The Professor and I moved away, but not enough. He and his lovely wife Michelle loaded up their two year old in the car and drove fourteen hours to see us, an unimaginable feat. In exchange for their epic journey, we tried to show them a live time here in NOLA town!
Friday we spent some time at Audubon park, and then The Professor took them out to drink disgusting Kool-Aid drinks through neon straws out of fishbowls down at the Quarter and otherwise revel in the tacky glory of Bourbon Street. (I’m pretty sure they saw some nicer parts of the Quarter, too!) I stayed home with the chitlins, doing some homework and resting my dawgs. Saturday morning the children roused us early, as expected, and we arranged a little Easter Egg hunt in our tiny postage stamp of a front yard.
After the children ate their weight in chocolate and sugar, we took a drive to a huge playground at City Park and let them loose. Savannah chased ducks, Liam chased Savannah, and Jack made some friends and they all served us “cakes” and “cookies” and “burgers” from a little plastic “storefront.” We came home for naps (and wine for the grown-ups), and then set up a little Easter decorating station. I had boiled one and a half dozen eggs, and only after boiling and cooling them did I realize that they were the brown eggs. In other words, NOT the white eggs that take the dye, but the crappy eggs that will look brown no matter what you do. I was not interested in going out and purchasing more eggs, but luckily our children are wee and don’t know the difference, because we couldn’t eat the eighteen hard boiled eggs we had in any reasonable amount of time, let alone twice that many. Anyway, we also bought this pump-action egg dying machine thing, which due to its shoddy construction and the uncooperative eggs was a spectacular failure, so in the end I just got out some markers and stickers and let the kids have at it.
The kids also ended up getting some pretty rad Toy Story tattoos. The stickers and markers slipped right off the eggs, but ended up being surprisingly permanent decorations on the children, along with these indelible tats. They had a blast.
We washed the kids off as best we could in a very chaotic and fun three-toddler splash-a-rama (also known as a bath), then put them in pjs and greeted our sitter for the night. We left the punks in her capable hands and headed out to the Rock n’ Bowl to drink and watch Kermit Ruffins play a set. We danced, we had drinks, we participated in a wedding reception (held there, in the midst of the crowd, bride in a traditional white gown, groom at least four decades older than her – it was weird). Kermit was awesome, the wedding reception was odd, the dancing was great, and the companionship was perfect. We went home to bed when Kermit began playing the Muzak version of the Electric Slide (presumably a wedding reception request). We would have to wake up early the next morning to be able to play Easter Bunny before the kids awoke . . .