Tomorrow is Easter, and I’m all hopped up and Easter’d out already. There is an air of pre-egg hunt panic in the house and it’s palpable. I’ve got about a hundred eggs to stuff in secret before tomorrow, and I’m worried that one of the girls will wake up looking for a glass of water and find me sitting on the floor of my closet stuffing the eggs (and eating many of them). I’ve stashed all the Easter loot in my closet, and I’m just waiting to be sure they are fast asleep before going in and putting all of the jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and chocolate eggs into the Easter eggs. Then I’m going to tiptoe out to the car and get their Easter baskets and stuff them with Easter grass.
I also set the breakfast table to look festive (a little too much pink for my husband, probably):
We’ll go to church in the morning, then my husband will take them to the playground while I zip back home and set up the egg hunt, so they think the Easter bunny hopped by while we were at church.
Easter is a big deal for me. I’m pretty sure it’s because it was a big deal for my mother – so it’s one of the few traditions I have from her that I can pass down to my children. She went totally gaga at Easter. Her Easter egg hunts were OTT. I don’t know if it’s because she grew up in Germany where Easter and chocolate are huge, or what – but she was crazy about Easter.
We would wake up on Easter morning to find baskets at the foot of our beds, and there’d be a trail of jelly beans starting from our bedroom doors and leading all over the house and outside. You didn’t even have to look for any of the eggs because they were everywhere – you just had to scoop and grab. I remember having this feeling of excitement, yet at the same time a feeling of, Wow – this is…too much – even though I was just a child. I knew I was over-indulged, by her. I loved it, and yet I was wary of it, of her complete inability to say “No” to us. Easter became a metaphor for my mother’s over-indulgence of us – an all out chocolate bunny extravaganza. I remember envying my friend Julie, because she had to “work” to find her eggs – her mom really hid them. And of course, Julie envied me because all I had to do was “scoop and grab.” My husband says, “That just goes to prove that no matter what you do as a parent, your kid will be able to find fault in it.”
My mom would stay up late getting it altogether, sitting on the rug in her bedroom closet. And now here I am – it’s 10 pm and I haven’t even started stuffing eggs. I’ve spread all the loot out on the floor of my closet just as she would have done and as I’m looking at the ridiculous amount of Easter crap I got for their egg hunt I’m thinking – she is right here with me today and I can literally feel her presence – smiling her indulgent approval (it’s all about the candy, with her), saying: They’re only children once, Shnooky – hurry up and spoil them.
Easter is a time that makes me sad if I’m not surrounded by lots of extra family and friends. I’m used to being surrounded by tons of people at Easter. This year it’s just the four of us. It can be easy to overlook all the many gifts in my life and feel sorry that we aren’t with more family members – so usually instead of going there, I get into the jelly beans and get all sugared-up. I panic about what we’re all going to wear to church in the morning and whether or not I can find lacy ankle socks for Ella. And I fixate on the hunt.
There is this familiar kind of feeling - Wow – this is…too much. But you know what? So what? Fiona is 10, and I’m pretty sure this will be the last time she’ll let me take her down to the mall like I did today and get her picture taken with the Easter bunny. It’s probably her last Easter egg hunt because she’s got one foot in childhood, and one foot in tweendom. She’s perched on the fence in between Easter bunnies and make-believe, and disbelief and eye-rolling, I just know it. So this is my last year, with her, probably. And so what, I went all out. Again. (Cluckers the Pooping Chicken? I mean – really?? Yes, really.)
If my mom was here, she would have done the same only times infinity. And even though I have way too many candy eggs, I am going to hide them so my kids have to work to find them.
I’m doing this for you mom, giving my daughters a taste of what it was like to have you in my world at Easter.