Monday, April 18 2022

easter, church, and a movie

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday. How was your Easter weekend?

I'm going to be honest with you, Easter weekend was a total surprise to me. If you had asked me last week, I don't even think I saw it coming. That's the tricky part about these wandering holidays, they seem to sneak up on my every year.

And what can I say? It hardly feels like Easter. After all, there's another dusting of fresh snow on the ground. If I look out my dining room window at the right angle, I can see tiny snowflakes drifting out of the sky. So what gives, Mother nature? Is this some kind of sick joke?

There's nothing funny about snowfall in the spring. Strike that - the only funny part is waking Rodney up with a snarky "Merry Christmas". I have to admit I get a sick thrill from watching him run to the window and sigh.

Merry Christmas and happy April, reader. I got you a cup of coffee.

Sip. Easter really did sneak up on us this year. Marissa and I felt a shared twinge of guilt about it, because we hardly did anything festive. No crackling glazed ham. No after dinner sugar cookies. No egg hunt in the backyard. But given all the craziness of this month, it was easy enough to rationalize our decision to take a break from a big Easter this year. Marissa coyly reminded me, "we just bought a house, remember?"

The most Easter thing we did yesterday was attend church, and that was a big deal for us. Yesterday was the first time we set foot in our church building since the onset of COVID. In the months that followed, we had a new Sunday morning routine of watching the church service on YouTube. To be honest, I think we got just a little too comfortable with remote church. We could sleep in longer, leave our pajamas on, and drink a whole pot of our own coffee while we watched to the sermon on our TV.

As tempting as it was to just put off our in person attendance for after we move, it didn't feel right. So we put our family will power together and made it in time for the 10:30 service.


It was difficult. Crayons, coloring books, stickers, and action figures only held Miles' attention for minute-long stints. On top of everything, collective germ awareness adds a new element of awkwardness to the time in church where you're supposed to greet the people around you. Some people still shake hands, some bump elbows, some people just sheepishly wave at you with their elbows pinned to their sides, and using only body language and eye brow expressions, you have to communicate your preferences to each person you greet in a split second window. Peace be with you - lemme just lightly punch your elbow and then wave. Or I'll back away slowly while you extend your hand, only so you can knock away my hand with your elbow. Maybe I'm just projecting my own feeling of awkwardness as a visitor at our own church, but you have to admit that the pandemic has really complicated the simple act of shaking hands with people.

After the sermon, our church choir sang the chorus from Handel's Messiah. If we were watching the sermon at home, I would have probably been putting cereal bowls in the sink or rinsing out the coffee brewer. Hearing the choir in person, their voices sounded so beautiful reverberating off the high ceilings of our sanctuary, and I felt grateful to be there.

After church, we took the boys to see the new Sonic movie with Rodney's friend Archer and his mom. Trying to wrangle and contain Miles in a church pew that same morning, I found it amusing how easy it was to get him to sit still in a movie theater. Give a kid a giant bucket of buttery popcorn, and the rules of engagement totally change.


At least at first. Sadly, even the giant bucket of popcorn could only do so much. In our viewing of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Miles passed through four distinct phases. He happily munched on popcorn for the duration of the previews, and we'll call this phase zero.

Phase 1: food FOMO. Miles noticed Marissa was eating a bag of Reese's Pieces. Suddenly, popcorn was an afterthought. He held out his hand and beckoned for chocolate. Marissa dumped some pieces out for him, and he popped them in his mouth like a junkie. His contentment intensified. So long as we kept the Reese's Pieces flowing, Miles acted like a dignified, mature movie-goer.

Phase 2: sugar rush. Once the sugar hit his system, Miles demanded action. He stood up in his seat, digging his gym shoes into Marissa's thighs. He danced a jig between our seats, shouting into the air like he was at a faith healing. I felt relieved that the sounds of explosions and action scenes drowned his shrieking.

Phase 3: sugar crash. Three quarters of the way through the movie, Miles' body shut down. He collapsed and slumped over in Marissa's lap like a sack of potatoes. This wouldn't have been so bad, but Miles also started to heat up like a car battery. "Can you take him?" whispered Marissa. "He's like a little space heater."

Carefully, Marissa and I passed Miles back and forth. Each time the sweat and body heat would get too much for us, we handed him over. Eventually, this awoke him from his sugar coma.

Phase 4: second sugar rush. Miles rallied, and by the end of the movie he was ready to bounce around the movie theater at super speed. Outside the theater in the hallway, he ran ahead of us with his hands swept behind him like Sonic the hedgehog. It's true - boys will really watch a movie, then decide to base their whole personality off the main character.

That's what I got today. Happy Monday, and if you get a chance, go see the new Sonic Movie.