One of the greatest gifts I’ve given myself over the past couple of years has been the permission to underachieve when it comes to special events and holidays. I feel absolutely zero pressure to set the perfect table, craft a perfect menu, prepare a perfect meal or even change out of my perfect stretchy pants before dinner begins.
I can certainly appreciate all of the finer points of a fancy feast, well-groomed children and exquisite table centerpieces but have realized that that ideal will never be my ideal. I can maybe hit one of those three things at a time but have resigned myself that my children will be grown and gone before I ever have an Easter table that looks like this:
Instead, today, when our family celebrated Easter, we enjoyed this:
I know those two pictures are so similar you might be struggling to figure out which one was my home so let me break it down for you.
That ham right there is from the grocery store. Not even a fancy grocery store. Just your totally average grocery store. I bought it yesterday, which is when I remembered I should come up with something to serve for Easter. The totally average ham coupled with the roasted asparagus is pretty much the cornerstone of any Easter dinner so I really think I hit a menu home run right there. We would have had roasted red potatoes as a side but I forgot to buy them so I pulled those cooked pasta shells from the bowels of the refrigerator thinking I could make a pasta salad as a side but then realized I didn’t have red wine vinegar for the dressing and promptly gave up. There’s celery there for my son since he won’t eat the asparagus and, at 41 years of age, I still like to cater to every individual diet preference of each of my precious children. There’s TWO packages of dinner rolls because my kids still like any food that is brown in color and as my friend, Jenn, once wisely explained, kids will eat anything in miniature form. Bob cut up some strawberries because, sure, why not. Makes enough sense to me. We round things out with a block of cheddar cheese because cheese is delicious.
The table is set in the kitchen and not the dining room because there is so much stuff piled on the dining room table that removing it all to eat there seemed like an insurmountable feat. So, Bob arranged the table in the kitchen but, please notice, he used the fancy water glasses. These glasses are impossible for my children to operate and water will be spilled by all three of them before this meal has even begun but whatever, they’re from Pottery Barn and are a skosh fancier than our other set of water glasses which advertise beer from Bob’s hometown. Our paper napkins really play second fiddle here to the stunning display of condiments serving as the table centerpiece. I didn’t even bother to put them in cute condiment dishes with little condiment spoons because that would increase my condiment dish-washing responsibility by 100 percent. It was too hot for candles so I tried to set the ambiance with some inspirational music but just ended up playing The Cure instead.
The food is getting cold here because Bob is chatting with a neighbor in the front yard while the kids play frisbee nearby. The kids are still in some variation of their church clothes which, for the boys, means the donning of a shirt with the dreaded COLLAR OF DOOM AND SUFFOCATION. So fancy! All three of them could probably benefit from a shower or bath or both and I’m not even positive Millie wore underwear today (I REALLY need to do laundry).
But, it’s all fine because the windows are open to the most wondrous weather and warm mountain breezes and we’re all together and Bob and I got to have an uninterrupted twenty minute conversation on the front deck before I took a rare afternoon nap after which I raided Millie’s Easter candy stash for all of the Kit Kats and I felt not a lick of guilt nor stress about putting together this mediocre meal with this totally average ham that I served to my could-be-cleaner children that we ate around a centerpiece of mustard and ketchup bottles.
I like myself so much better when I don’t care about perfection.