Growing up, every major holiday involved food – and LOTS of it – for my family. That hasn’t changed over the years. As I write this Mom is cooking ham and Dad is trying to convince her to make a ridiculous amount of pies.
Ridiculous only because he wants her to make the pies he likes (and shouldn’t be eating due to his diabetes) and then gets upset when they don’t get eaten. There was a time I could eat lemon pie. Now to eat a small sliver means trouble breathing at best.
Dietary accommodations aren’t the only changes we’ve seen. Most notably is Easter and the traditional egg hunt. When we were kids we hunted for candy coated marshmallow eggs and colored boiled eggs which later became rainbow colored deviled eggs. The advent of the plastic hollow eggs after my children were born dramatically transformed the hunt. Now it can be any kind of candy, or even stickers and toys, to find in those eggs.
And with each grandchild added to her list, my mother’s mountain of plastic eggs grew. One year we had somewhere around 200-300 eggs to find – enough so each grandchild had 60 some odd eggs to find.
My mother LOVED IT. I didn’t.
The holiday wasn’t what I remembered as a kid. My boys hate coloring eggs. Making them color these eggs is a war I no longer desire to wage. I don’t know if it’s the smell of the vinegar or the fact the food coloring always gets through the shell to stain the egg inside or what. They don’t like doing it.
They also don’t seem like the egg hunt to draw out for any length of time. This morning I woke up my boys and they were happy with the baskets they were given. They each got a bucket with a LEGO set, a stuffed bunny, and a pair of those mini Hatchimals.
Little Bear was already frustrated and irritable by the time he found 9 of the 16 prefilled eggs I had bought. Scholar Owl did well mood wise and Tuxedo Cat held out until he had 3 left to find before he got crabby.
Dad pointed out to me that it was good that we decided not to have a huge family egg hunt this year. I had said this year I wanted to do our own thing for Easter. If it hadn’t been for Little Bear being only 8 years old, I wouldn’t have bothered with an egg hunt.
As it was, based on his reaction I think it would have been better that the Easter Bunny had just given them their eggs in the basket. He likes opening the eggs to see what’s inside, but really hates trying to find them.
I even had 3 bags of assorted candy to sort out and divide that didn’t go into eggs and found myself wondering why I do this. Each of these boys has a list of candy they will not eat. Why am I buying big mixed bags when I could just buy them each a small bag of what they will eat? How is it cheaper to buy in bulk when you have a household of self limiters and food allergies (I’m not the only one) to contend with?
What drives me to believe this is necessary?
The other two are old enough now that the Easter Bunny has lost all its charm (sob). Not to mention that Scholar Owl is now of the opinion that holidays are just marketing schemes to sell a bunch of stuff. I can’t say he’s wrong.
Where did the time go?
Why do I feel like the world itself has lost its innocence?
Is this the price of being a parent?
My boys have never been “normal” at any age. Not one of us are neurotypical in any sense of the word. But there was a time when my oldest son believed in faeries and would leave candies out in a bowl for them every night. What he didn’t know at the time was that his brother, Tuxedo Cat, in the wee hours of the morning would eat that candy.
It’s the simple, quiet things that bring magic into our lives.
Whether you believe in Christ or not, Easter is a celebration of rebirth and renewal that comes with spring. The earth reawakens and the grass begins to find its color again. Tree sap flows back up from the roots to nourish budding leaves. Birds come back to nest and all manner of critters are waking up from hibernation.
It’s a time for hope and gratitude.
And when you live in a house like mine, where chronic illness is a daily reality, hope and gratitude is a life line. I think we need to refocus ourselves and spend less time fussing over eggs and more time on what matters. To celebrate the survivors we call family and lay the ground work for a better year ahead.
We survived another winter and whatever comes our way, we’ll have each other to see it through.
Whether you are celebrating Easter today, or have already celebrated Ostara back on March 21st, I wish for you all that this spring brings you much love, light, and laughter. Most of all, I wish for you to have hope.