The day before Easter, and I quietly sit on the couch. No panic rises within me. I don’t worry about filling Easter baskets, no need to make the mad rush to the grocery store to buy more candy or toys because the baskets were bigger than I remember them. No one needs new shoes, and there are no shirts to iron. I am not arguing with someone who refuses to wear the nice new clothes I bought them but would prefer to wear an old black t-shirt with holes in it. I don’t have a big dinner to prepare for because I invited them all to come tonight with a covered dish. I bought the ham precooked. The house is clean because now a days, I clean it in advance and it stays clean. Despite the peace and calm I feel, I am a little melancholy wishing for the old days. I just looked at a picture of our family taken fourteen years ago. I remember that spring. When I look at the picture, it all comes back to me. That was the spring that youngest son, then, thirteen, fought tooth and nail against anything I wanted him to do. That was when we had the argument in the dressing room at the department store because he refused to even try on anything that wasn’t black. When I threw up my hands and gave up. That was the Easter when he wore all black to the Easter service and the little old ladies looked at us cross-eyed. There we sat, all of us in spring colors celebrating Jesus’ resurrection, and he looked like he had come from a funeral. I was so embarrassed, but had the sense to at least be grateful he wasn’t at home in bed asleep or on the streets or worse. I don’t really want to go back to those days. We are lucky we all came out alive. Funny, when I finally gave up fighting him, he came to his senses on his own and started making better choices. I just needed to back off and let him be. What I do wish for is that I knew then what I know now. Why didn’t I take the true meaning of Easter and apply it to my actions and words? Why was there so much fussing and arguing? What was it about grace that I did not understand? If grace is truly a free gift of love given to me at the crucifixion why then was I so demanding expecting others to give in to my demands? Why was I so concerned about what people saw on the outside instead of the inside? If there is anything I could tell the younger me, and anyone else out there listening, it would be, “Lighten up! Don’t be so hard on yourself or expect so much from those you love. Listen to the voice of grace.” It is finished. He is risen. That’s all that really matters.