We moved into a new house about six months ago, which means we’ve been unpacking boxes for oh … about six months. The unmarked boxes are my favorite because it’s like Christmas wondering what will be inside when we open them. Now that we’re finally feeling more settled on the inside of the house, my husband and I decided it was time to address the outside this past weekend. As he headed off with his chainsaw to tackle the dense wooded areas, I went to the garage to look for something to put weeds in as I pulled them. I glanced around the garage and my eyes quickly landed on the perfect bucket, three of them, in fact. They were my kids’ Easter baskets stacked in the corner: a blue one, a white one, and a pink one. (Not sure why they ended up there when we moved, but there they were.)

Now, just in case you’re envisioning beautifully woven wicker Easter baskets—don’t. These are just plastic pails with a handle and some sort of Easter décor stamped on the outside. I bought them super cheap at the grocery store when my kids were very young and wrote their names on them with a Sharpie. (That’s as close as I’ll ever get to monogramming anything.) I grabbed the white bucket without thinking much about it and off I went to pull weeds.

It was about my third bucket of weeds that I sat back and looked at my son’s name written across his Easter pail. I let my mind go back to family egg hunts and Sunday dinners, the huge egg dashes at the church, early mornings digging through goodies, new, brightly colored outfits, lining the kids up to take their picture… so many sweet, sweet memories.

Then I thought about what Easter Sunday will look like this year, now that my son will be 20 next month, followed by sisters of 18 and 15. I’ll still fill their pails with goodies (after I wash away the weeds, of course), but my son will be at his church, in his college town of Athens, Georgia, where he leads a high school small group. My girls’ Easter outfits will have been replaced with t-shirts representing the environments where they serve at our church. A lazy afternoon, picnicking on the bank of the lake is more our speed now rather than an egg hunt and a big dinner.

Many traditions have come and gone, but one thing—the most important thing—remains …

The true story of Easter.

While there will be no egg hunt or frilly dresses in our home this year, it will still be Easter because there will be the story.

The story of how the Son of God became a man,
a friend,
a teacher,
a healer,
a sacrifice,
all so we can know God and be with Him forever.

As I sat and looked at that bucket filled with weeds, I said a thank you to God for all the memories and for helping us focus on what mattered most: the one thing that we wanted our kids to carry in their hearts forever.

Jesus is God’s Son.
He loved.
He died.
He lives.

If you’re a parent of a young child, it may be hard to imagine an Easter without egg hunts and a house filled with family. I get it. I never imagined I’d be using my son’s Easter basket to hold weeds one day. But the day will come when your traditions will have slowly transitioned into new ways to celebrate, and you’ll be left with what you valued most over the years you had with your kids.

So what do you want your kids to remember most about Easter? If you choose for it to be God’s story of salvation, I promise you won’t feel the tiniest bit bad about there being weeds in their baskets because of the immense joy you’ll have knowing God’s story is in their heart.

Visit OrangeBooksforPreschoolers.com to purchase your own copy of “The Easter Story,” a board book durable enough for even the youngest of children designed to help them remember key truths about the Easter story!