It was our second Easter with the Littles. Yesterday, as I sat and enjoyed Easter dinner at my mother-in-law’s, I was struck by how far we have all come in a year. Last year, the introduction of new people at our Easter celebration sent the Littles into a tizzy. Two were withdrawn, sad-faced, clingy. The other acted out by throwing tantrums, getting into mischief, and taunting her siblings. It was a tough day on all of us.

Everything and everyone was new to them then. The only one of our traditions that seemed familiar to them was our post-dinner cascarones fight. It may not have been so much that they’d done it before but that the pseudo-aggressive act of breaking the confetti eggs over another person’s head released the tension a bit.

Back then, we were still having weekly visits with bio Mom. The fun of Easter baskets was dimmed a bit by the giant candy filled baskets she brought them the Monday before Easter. I was having a hard time sharing, too. I noticed the resistance I felt to putting them into the clothes she bought them for Easter. I wanted them to be “all mine,” but we were still a long way from that!

Fast forward to this year. They’ve been “all ours” for five months, but it seems a lifetime. The addition of a new guest to Grandma’s house went virtually unnoticed by them, but sent our little foster daughter scrambling up me like a monkey. They sat at their little table and ate their food; they hugged everyone when they came in and when they left. They relaxed. They took in the day. On the ride home, they all napped peacefully.

The Captain, our 4-year old, was not talking last year. This morning he was full of Easter news when he awoke. He is barely the same child who came to us. Back then, he was a somber boy who had sleeping problems and communicated through fit-throwing. He jumped on the bus after a long weekend, yelled “Happy Easter,” and spontaneously hugged the driver. My “Easter joy” is complete.