I was talking with my mother the other day when she asked me casually, "What are you doing for Easter?" I pulled a complete blank. It was almost as if I didn’t know what she was talking about. To buy some time, I asked when it is this year. She told me, but I can’t remember what she said.
That is how not into Easter I am.
I had not even thought of Easter until that moment. It’s just not on my radar. For one thing, we don’t go to church. I was brought up Catholic and thus am familiar with the old saw that Easter is a far holier holiday than Christmas, but I am so disgusted with the Catholic church that it has tainted the few – make that the one – positive association I have with Catholicism. And any magic the Easter bunny once held for my children has long since dissipated like an early morning mist.
If I purchase gifts, my children will happily open them. If I go to the trouble of buying three dozen eggs and assorted dye kits, hard boiling the eggs, laying out the newspaper, mixing the vinegar with the dye in appropriately-sized cups, and laying the entire creative endeavor out on the kitchen counter, they will happily dye a few eggs. At least three minutes worth. If I decorate the house with the paper easter eggs I have bought at the flea market in years past, they might notice them. If I place assorted jelly beans in the paper eggs, they will definitely notice them. If I pull out the easter baskets and fill them with foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and life-sized chocolate replicas of the Easter bunny himself, they will happily consume them. And if I make an Easter ham, mashed potatoes, asparagus and lemon souffle, they will merrily scarf that down too.
There is no doubt in my mind that everyone would enjoy Easter if I decide to create it. But the question for me today is, should I? Or is it time to let the Easter bunny hop on down the bunny trail for good?
Sometimes I feel that as a mother, I am the keeper of traditions that then end up keeping me. This has, oh, everything, to do with the fact that I do all the work. And when I am all caught up in the buying and the wrapping and the decorating and the buying of the stuff that I didn’t buy the first time, I lose myself and my own work.
Apart from the fact that it consumes me for at least a week, there are other perfectly good reasons to not celebrate Easter. To wit, its now wildly commercial nature and the fact that we are completely non-religious.
I do want celebratory moments in our family life. But do they need to be linked to ancient traditions that I don’t espouse?
Part of me wishes I could take the Waldorf route and celebrate the equinox, or whatever planetary event it is that is supposed be the harbinger of spring, but I really don’t have it in me.
I decided to check in with Youngest and get his read on the situation. As he dropped his backpack and opened the refrigerator for an after-school snack, I asked cautiously, "Youngest, do you even care if we celebrate Easter this year?"
"What!" he asked with a slightly panicked look. "When is it?" He seemed worried that we had somehow already missed it.
"I don’t know exactly," I replied vaguely, "sometime over vacation."
He knew instantly where this conversation was going because he actually pointed his finger at me and declared in a loud voice, "We WILL be celebrating Easter! Easter is my favorite holiday ever!"
"You don’t even know when it is," I replied mildly. "How favorite could it be? I was just thinking…"
He interrupted me, "I am ONLY thirteen! You overestimate people’s ages."
He makes a point. There I go again, prematurely ending motherhood.
OK. Fine. For at least one more year, the Easter bunny can make a stop at our house. But I am NOT helping him hide his eggs.