**Whether you celebrate it as a Christian holiday, or are just in it for the eggs, bunnies, and chocolate, or both!, here’s wishing you a very Happy Easter!**
“Guys, come on!” I called out, picking up my keys from the sideboard, and grabbing the light jackets off the hooks by the door. “We’re going to be late!”
There was a patter of small feet, and then our five year old son Damian rocketed into my knees. It was his favorite game, so I obligingly pretended he was about to knock me over. I stumbled back dramatically, scrabbling against the wall to stay upright. Damian chortled, a sound much deeper than his small body should have been able to produce.
“Don’t fall, Daddy!” He screeched, his voice pitching up, responding to my dramatics. This too, was part of the game.
I clutched at my chest, playing along. And then I realized what he was wearing. His pants, vest, and bow tie were white. His dress shirt a pale robin’s egg blue. His blond hair was plastered to his head with his papa’s gel. And his shoes were also white and very shiny.
“What are you wearing?” I asked, just a little incredulously. Damian looked down at himself and then back up at me, his blue eyes wide and guileless, and then shrugged.
“Papa did it,” he accused. I fought to keep the grin off my face. He’d learned the blame game from us, a thing we’d done since we first started dating ten years ago.
“Mike, honey, what did you dress our son in?”
Mike’s eyes, so blue that everyone always mistook him for Damian’s biological father, gave me a wide grin. “Look at our son, Joe. Isn’t he just too adorable for words?”
He did look cute, this boy we’d adopted just six months ago. From the moment we brought him into our home, we knew he was ours. He’d been living in not the best of situations, and his mother had finally given up custody. But though Damian had been through hard times, he adapted quickly, and after a rocky first couple of months, he was now a smiling, happy, well adjusted little boy.
“Yes. He’s the best looking kid ever,” I agreed softly, and I cupped my hand around our son’s cheek. Then I gave Mike a pointed look. “But as cute as he is, it’s not exactly appropriate for what we’re doing, you know?”
Mike blinked. Then he shouldered the bag he was carrying, and shoved us both toward the door. “Come on. We’re going to be late.”
An hour later, I had to admit that watching the perfectly dressed adorable child run around with all the other well dressed children while looking for hidden Easter eggs had been just too perfect for words. Mike had his camera out, the expensive one with the lenses that he wouldn’t let me touch, and he’d photographed our son to within an inch of his life. But now the eggs were all unearthed and the organizers of the egg hunt and community picnic were gearing up for the rest of the fun and games. I wanted Damian to participate, but he’d ruin his clothes. And it couldn’t be comfortable either. I frowned again in Mike’s direction, unable to believe he had dressed our kid this way.
As if my thoughts conjured them, my husband and son came running toward me, laughing for all the world. Damian fell down in my lap, his cheeks pink and his eyes happy. Mike snapped a few more pictures, then carefully put his camera in the case. As soon as he was done, he told Damian in no uncertain terms that it was time for a potty break. Damian knew better than to argue, and though he dragged his feet a little, Mike took him to the bathroom on the far side of the park.
I leaned back against the tree where Mike and I had spread out our blanket, and just absorbed the laughing, shreking, happy sounds of children playing and having a good time. The youngest were infants, the oldest maybe ten or twelve. But every last one of them seemed happy, and I couldn’t keep the smile off my face.
It grew even wider when Mike and Damian emerged from the bathroom, this time with Damian dressed in a pair of khaki’s and a polo shirt. Still on the nice side, but a lot more practical for running around and playing games. He tugged on Mike’s hand and pointed frantically to the jungle gym just ten feet away. Mike ruffled his hair and motioned him on. Damian tugged his hand and spoke earnestly, and only when Mike nodded gravely did he finally run off to play.
A moment later, Mike was at my side and I lifted my arm so he could snuggle in.
“He wanted to make sure I’d be watching,” Mike murmured.
“Of course,” I said. “As if you’d take your eyes off him.”
“And he wanted to know I’d protect his eggs and not let ‘that mean Molly’ take them.”
I laughed and kissed his temple, before glancing at the basket were he’d carefully horded the ten or so brightly colored eggs he’d rooted out from their hiding place. They were plastic and no doubt filled with chocolate. We’d have to be careful to dole that out. Too much sugar, and Damian got sick. Mike did too, for that matter.
“As if you’d let anything happen to his treasure.”
Mike grinned and nodded. “He trusts us, Joe. He really does now. To be there. To take care of him.”
“Yes. He does.”
Mike’s eyes welled up, but he kissed me quickly, and then leaned back in my arms. He didn’t say anything as he turned his attention to our son. I watched him watch Damian. No words were needed. Our family was finally complete.