It occurred to me the other day that celebrating Easter has become more of a memory for me rather than a yearly ritual. A few years back I attended a service at my church and then because the person I gave a ride to the service was going to a 'dinner' that an elderly couple puts on for people at my church that had nowhere to go. Now being defined as someone who has nowhere to go is awkward enough, let's just the 'dinner' was even more so, an ill-placed well meaning kindness by an elderly couple that only served to make it worse. I think this was the last time I did anything for Easter.
For awhile my mom abandoned going to church on Easter because she felt like it was a fashion show for all the people who don't come to church all year long. She didn't want to deal with the crowds and the posturing. I do respect that choice, sometimes we would highlight at another church where we could just enjoy the service without the pressure of looking good. But it did make one feel a little lost, because on a day full of meaning you do crave the familiar.
Why is this? This is the one day that really sets the Christian religion apart from others, the one holiday where our Lord rose from the dead. And all we can do is an awkward ramshackle dinner?
My best memories from Easter celebrations are as a child. I have memories of running through my Nana's backyard (a place full of treasures like bird feeders and antique glass) collecting plastic eggs filled with chocolate and placing them in a basket that I clutched with eagerness. Or coming down the stairs in the morning to find a basket at my place at the table filled with chocolate. (And my mom has good taste in chocolate, I still remember one year we had these little white chocolate cakes with flowers on them, looked like they fill right out of the rabbit hole from wonderland to my tummy.) That joy hasn't happened in years. Why do we abandon that tradition? We still keep up with pseudo-santa and open presents on Christmas day, why did we kill the Easter Bunny?
If you think about it it's truly silly, why abandon a tradition where you get a basket full of chocolate? A basket full of chocolate, people? This is a good thing!
Now that I have a daughter (she can't eat chocolate yet, but I can!) I can reclaim Easter and I am so excited! Bring on the Easter dresses and Mary Janes! Easter egg hunts, oh, hell yes! I know that my husband will be able to infuse our time with meaning and fullness. I picture our little family under the pines somewhere, in the blue-gray light of early morning. My husband's voice softly talking God's sacrifice as the sun slowly pours down through the trees. We're bundled up and shuck our blankets as the sweet sun warms our back. We return home to hot strong coffee and oven baked eggs and oodles of rich chocolate.
I have begun to realize that this is one of the joys of parenthood that we get to make our own traditions. We can pick holidays and make them wonderful. I can't wait until our baby is big enough to participate and to add her own sweet voice and joy to the proceedings.