I am not good at crafts.

I am not the mom who will beautifully dye and decorate eggs or create an Easter tree. I admire Spring wreaths from afar and instead let my boys wallow in the Spring mud up close.

I feel hopelessly inadequate in the face of all the remarkable ideas out there for how we can make this season meaningful for our kids.

But I do love a good story. I feel comfortable with words. And creating stories, living adventures, making word pictures with my boys is where I am most at home.

Usually.

Christmas we talked through each detail, loved each sheep and imagined each shepherd boy. But I am finding that Easter leaves me tongue-tied. How do you talk to a four-year-old about betrayal, loss of best friends, death and separation? What words make that accessible to the very person I want to shield from those realities? I’ve been so tongue-tied that I didn’t even try. Until last week when Jackson lost something that has been at the center of his four-year-old existence since he was only a few months old.

He calls it his “baby.”

They are inseparable.

Until Thursday last week when I put his school bag with the baby in it on the roof of my car while I was buckling him in and then drove off. Completely forgetting about it until bed time. Tears were shed. But a remarkable thing happened and suddenly the Easter story spelled itself out in words that even my four-year-old could relate to.

Jackson: What happened to my baby, mama?

Me: I left him on the roof of the car, Jack, and then I drove home. I think he must have fallen off on the big road right where the traffic light is.

Jackson: But what happened to him? Why doesn’t he sound the same?

Me: Honey, I think when he fell a car must have ridden over him. I think it cracked his bell. That’s why it doesn’t sound the same. Your baby got lost and broken.

His eyes are wide and worried even as he cradles his beloved pal in his arms.

Jackson in a whisper: what happened then mama?

Me: Ms. Muluh was driving home at the same time and she saw your red school bag in the middle of the road. So she stopped her car. She stopped to go and see if it was one of her kids who had lost their bag.

And when she looked inside, do you know who she saw, honey?

Jackson, with a lump in both our throats: my baby.

Separated from a friend for a night and a day. Holding in his hands a broken version of what he had always loved, I watched my son and offered him the Easter story through his new eyes.

A Savior lost to his friends, broken and alone for a dark night, given back to us in the morning.

As Jackson buried his face in his now old-new baby and sighed deeply with the joy of homecoming I found that Easter isn’t hard to talk about. Rather, we are hard. And it took a four-year-old to crack me open again and let me see and feel the story in a new way.

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Linking this inspired moment to the Inspired Room.

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