alphabet Easter

Weeks before my children and their family and friends came for Easter, I began preparing the house. I cleared off beds, set out the Easter egg tree and took everything off our headboard bookshelf to dust — including the faded alphabet blocks from grandma’s house, arranged in a message of love. They needed something else. I pulled out the basket of small toys, sorted out a colorful modern set of alphabet blocks and carefully stacked them with diagonally ascending rows of matching letters. I decided to show of the children’s blocks my son brought from Ukraine. I took them out of storage, blew off the dust and figured out a careful arrangement.
I was ready. The house was ready. And, more importantly, the refrigerator was ready — courtesy of concerned phone calls from each child wanting to discuss the weekend’s menu.
Tuesday evening my husband hauled the tent out of the attic. One guy was coming to rough it in the back yard and eat beans out of a can heated up over a campfire. We bought beans and stacked wood for a bonfire.
Thursday afternoon, I emptied the linen cupboards and my husband pumped up the air mattress for the tent. The babies arrived first. Waking from their seven-hour nap, they ran to check out the toy cupboard and explore the house.
An hour or so later, the collegiates came en-masse from Indiana and Arkadelphia. Three cars arrived within minutes of each other. The house resounded with energized young adults who stayed up late and children who got up early.
The little one dumped the blocks off my bed for play time. They are the fifth generation to play with the faded, old blocks and the first to build with new colorful blocks and the small, Russian blocks with black letters. They built and destroyed towers of blocks around the room.
In the afternoon, I shoved the Russian letters more or less neatly back in their box, made sure the modern blocks had the colorful raised letter side showing and forgot that the antique blocks had had a message. I followed the trail of toys down the hall, rounding them up to return to the play cupboard. Friday evening my daughter and her friend made pecan pies and started the dishwasher for the third time that day.
Mid-morning Saturday the last son straggled in with his guitar and a fellow photographer. IT was a busy day: The collegiates made whole wheat bread or cut-out and sanded wooden puzzle pieces. The toddlers dyed eggs to hid in the yard.
After church Sunday, my daughter and daughter-in-love chopped vegetables for Mexican stack-ups as my guitar son and I quick fried tortillas into the shape of bowls. My husband set the table and tots played with the blocks on my bed.
We ate lunch and within an hour, only two were left. A trail of candy wrappers, grass from Easter baskets and toys lead me to the blocks scattered over my comforter. I haphazardly shoved the blocks back into place, not caring which side was showing. I just wanted them out of my way so I could flop down, rest and relish our weekend.