Life seems to be a very long period of transition. Whenever I get too comfortable in a certain stage, the fates blow through and create chaos all over again. I think that is why I long for ritual and tradition; for things to stay unchanged. I think other people crave these things too; if our crammed church services are any indication. We all long to be part of something bigger whether it be faith- based, a community, a family.
This Easter most of our time was spent with my side of the family and we are in our third year of our newest tradition at Easter; Easter bonnets. I had forgotten since my family of five alternate between Dave and I’s families for holidays. It is exhausting and, inadvertently, some family member is always dissatisfied/hurt that we did not stop by. My three sons are the only kids under the age of 21 on both sides.
What does a bunny and eggs have to do with Easter? And at what age do you stop coloring eggs, egg hunts and Easter baskets?
Honestly, I have never understood this tradition. I was raised by a strict, Catholic mother who made me walk the stations of the cross, fast on Fridays and laid the guilt of sin heavily upon my young shoulders (part of the reason I left the church for awhile). I never grew up with baskets until my late cousin introduced the custom to me, as a child. This same cousin decided to mentor me; encouraging me to leave my small migrant town and fought my mother to let me continue with higher education.
All these thoughts raced through my head, this past Sunday, as we celebrated at my late cousin’s home. Did you know that the Easter bunny, supposedly, could reproduce without losing its virginity (or so they believed in medieval times) and became affiliated with the Virgin Mary? As for the eggs; Catholics used to color them blood red during Lent for the death of Christ. Others chose to color eggs the various colors of the flowers that bloomed in Spring (flowers were even used to color the eggs). Both the bunny and eggs signified fertility and the new growth of spring. And the age people seemed to think kids should transition out of hunts and baskets is age 8. Interesting.
My boys enjoy doing all of the above but I’m starting to wonder when to draw the line. Candy and eggs litter my downstairs. My cousin’s wife colored two dozen eggs while watching, The Voice, and admits she enjoyed doing it. My father-in-law loves to color eggs; he’s quite artistic. So when my own boys split their eighteen eggs three ways and discovered they were three short; the surprising egg culprit was Dave! He had eaten one egg and colored two of them without letting them know. BIG LOL.
We enjoyed our Easter feast, outdoors, with a pelting of rain on the outside patio; staring at the very green yard, the misty foothills and aged barn. I felt like I was in the English countryside enjoying tea and crumpets; all fancy-like in our bonnets. It was fun to play dress-up with my other family members (who are mostly 60 and above) since I happen to be the only girl in my immediate household. Who knew? We made the four males take a hat shot (they were so overjoyed). And the memories I’ve enjoyed in this home came back: summer BBQ’s/pool parties, Thanksgivings and Christmases past, my 21st birthday, my wedding party between the church service and reception, deaths/funerals, graduations (mine included) and the various milestones our entire family has shared, and continues to share, in this very house and yard. Dave asked my mom for my hand here. As my boys raced/egg hunted around the yard or played tag by the barn the rest of us, adults, got nostalgic. The older adults had watched my generation, as kids, blaze through this place and now I guess it’s my boys’ turn to enjoy the amenities. Another generation is starting to come through this house. My cousin would be proud.