Rabbits and Eggs

I didn’t want to bore anyone with another post about myself for at least one week, but in light of the holiday I figured I would share some of my Easter memories and musings. This year, like most years, I almost forgot that Easter was coming. Last week my brother asked me, “Are you working next Friday?” My brain rolled over a few times before it told me that the next Friday would be Good Friday. I managed to utter a puzzled “Yes, of course,” before I realized that meant Easter was in less than two weeks, and I’d have to go to the usual family dinner.

It’s not that I don’t like my family, and of course they shower me with love because they fear if they don’t, I’ll turn into a dragon like Maleficent did in Sleeping Beauty.
I’m just not a religious person, and I have a tough time believing in resurrection. I also don’t understand why the date we celebrate Jesus’s resurrection is different every year, but the date we celebrate his birth is always the same, but I digress. This Easter, I would have preferred to stay home and watch the 1980s revival of The Twilight Zone as a way of punishing myself for not doing housework. But because today was my three-month-old nephew’s first Easter, and I’m apparently the only member of my family who can make macaroni and cheese without opening a box of Kraft, I was up early this morning getting ready to spend the day at my sister’s.

As I was peeling, chopping, and boiling, I thought about why I get so grumpy about Easter. No, I’m not religious, but I’m quite the hypocrite because I love to celebrate Christmas. Christmas is cool for adult heathens because we can spike the eggnog, sing the Snow Miser/Heat Miser song from The Year Without a Santa Claus at top volume, and wear novelty hats and sweaters without judgment. Also everyone knows that Coca Cola bought the concept of Christmas decades ago. Easter is harder to get into as a non-Christian adult. No one lets me join in on the egg hunt, and I have to pretend I have kids when I spend $30 on Easter candy.

I loved Easter as a kid, although back then I couldn’t have told you much about the religious aspect of the holiday. My parents were either progressive or odd (depending on who you ask), and they didn’t take us to church or catechism like most Portuguese parents around here did with their kids. I knew we were celebrating because Jesus died and then came back from the dead. I just wondered why, since he’d come back, he wasn’t still here on Earth.

I did not get a satisfying answer to that question, so I was just a bit skeptical. However, I had no problem believing in the Easter Bunny. He reliably brought baskets of candy, toys, and books every Easter morning, and he did so almost undetected. I say almost because one Easter morning when my sister and I were up early watching Calliope (one of those shows I remember watching, but not in any sort of detail) she told me she saw the Easter Bunny one time. Later on, I swear I saw him outside, too. Since I’m legally blind, it was probably a smudge on the window, but I was convinced. I believed in the Easter Bunny for a few years after I stopped believing in Santa Claus. Now I realize that was silly, because if a rabbit ever got into our house, I’m fairly sure my mother would run out screaming.

My parents were pretty good sports about Easter considered they never had baskets or colored eggs as children. I don’t know how my mother got those Easter baskets outside our bedroom doors when we checked for them at regular intervals. My dad, always wary of making a mess, even let me color Easter eggs once. Well, in truth he let me watch while he very carefully boiled and colored the eggs, but he did let me add food coloring to at least one of the cups of vinegar. It was a real leap of faith for him.

Another thing I loved at Easter was the clothing. Even though we didn’t go to church for Easter I got a new dress every year, and for a kid who couldn’t see colors, I really loved getting new dresses. The best part was that for the first few years of my life, my sister and I got matching Easter dresses along with matching white tights and matching impractical white shoes. I remember how I felt the year I was told Janet I would not be getting matching ensembles. I must have been around five or six years old, and Janet around eleven or twelve. I refused to believe Janet wouldn’t fit in kids’ clothing anymore. I wondered if there wasn’t some way we could still match. I would have been absolutely crushed, but getting a new (if non-matching) dress quickly shut me up--as it still does today.

In theory, there shouldn’t be any reason why I can’t enjoy Easter as much today as I did as a kid. I can still get candy delivered to my door, I can color my own eggs any way I want, and my sister and I can shop in the same clothing departments now. However, UPS workers aren’t quite as appealing as magical rabbits, Easter eggs are essentially useless, and matching outfits tend to look creepy on women in their thirties. Reading this almost makes me wish I could go back to the naïve wonder of childhood, but then I remember that as an adult I can keep listening to NPR even when Terry Gross says the next segment may not be appropriate for younger listeners.

If anyone is wondering if I had fun today, or if my attitude made my family miserable, the answers are “yes” and “probably not”. The best parts of my day were getting rave reviews for my potato salad and tons of smiles from my nephew. Whether you celebrated Easter, something else, or nothing at all, what were the best parts of your day?