Hasenpfeffer. The German name for “Rabbit Stew”. I became familiar with the term as a youngster watching Bugs Bunny cartoons where Yosemite Sam was ordered to make the dish for the petulant king whom he served as chef. I have since used it to describe what I would like to do with any unwelcome hare in either my garden or on my forthcoming holiday calendar.
Let’s face it, while Easter is surely the pinnacle of all Christendom, too often it feels like we are still stuck in the torture of Good Friday when Sunday morning dawns.
Any sort of holiday holds extra stress when we are raising a child with a diagnosis. What others enjoy as a change of pace, our families experience as an implosion due to disruption of typical, necessary structure. While other families may be enjoying dressing up their little chicks like models for a children’s designer clothing catalog, we are resigning ourselves to the fact that this type of attire represents literal torture to our kid with serious sensory issues.
The agony doesn’t stop there. Since medical issues know no holidays, you may as well just figure in a hospitalization or crisis of some sort if your child is battling a chronic illness. Case in point, I can recall my own family of origin marching through the front door one holiday, wanting me to turn on a ball game just as we were trying to rescue a blown I.V. we were administering to our son. My husband and I have also done the old “divide and conquer” where one of us travels with a child to the ER while the other waits at the house to welcome the guests. Joy.
Ah, yes, and the expectations of guests who have no grasp of your daily life with a child who has special needs can also make you want to turn the Easter Bunny into hasenpfeffer.
Overstimulation of a crowded home and different foods are just 2 of the many things that can serve as triggers for our kids with any sort of executive functioning issues such as ADHD or Autism Spectrum Disorders. Of course, that means we should just expect the snide remarks about having allowed our child to have too much Easter candy or about our deficits as disciplinarians, because that is not uncommon to parents like us when we gather with extended family on Resurrection Sunday.
I share these somewhat unsavory thoughts to assure you that you are not alone in these challenges. I also want you to know that the One who was big enough to conquer death by bursting out of a stone-sealed grave is big enough to get you through this holiday with your remarkable child. Whisper a prayer to Him. He goes with you on this special day. Don’t let the stress of details that won’t matter years from now rob you of the joy He offers from here through eternity.
Turn your focus to the joy that Jesus courageously set before you! His death and resurrection offer a hope that goes far beyond any of our holiday expectations. Perhaps our family occasions like Easter and Christmas overwhelm us because we seem to lose sight of heavenly perspective on those days. We forget that it is just one day, and the things we obsess about lose their importance in light of eternity. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect by the world’s standards. He makes it perfect. And the gift of one another is a treasure too large to be contained by a grass-filled Easter basket.
If you find yourself stuck in a stressful place this weekend, remember to fix your gaze heavenward. When that seems easier said than done, break your negative thinking pattern by imagining the presentation of ol’ Bugs on a platter as your Easter treat. That ought to get your mind laughing long enough to loosen yourself from the bondage Jesus obliterated when he stepped out of that tomb.