Mixed Feelings on a Beautiful Easter Day

Random thoughts on this Easter Sunday:

If I don’t pay attention to the news, I can be happy for a while. If I don’t think about the bombings in Sri Lanka today, or the continued shenanigans of our president, or climate change. While my heart breaks over all of that, and I know we need to be informed and take action, I also know we need joy. We need to remember what we want to work for, what makes it worthwhile to be here in this universe.

It’s no accident so many religions and cultures have celebrations in the spring centered around renewal, rebirth, resurrection, and promise for the future. This past winter seemed particularly long and particularly gray. But we came out the other side. I know I feel more alive. It helps that it’s a beautiful day here.

Locally, I am in love with my community. When I focus on my immediate circle, I have hope. I see the world as a good place. I went to a literary event yesterday and ran into a number of friends, all of whom are creators or promoters of the arts, all of whom use their energy to improve this experience we call life.

We’ve always been low-key in my family about Easter celebrations, compared to some people I know. We decorated eggs with the kids, hiding them on Easter morning for our children to find. And that’s about it. But it was a ton of fun for a lot of years. Even after the kids outgrew egg hunts, we still decorated, up until last year, when we did nothing.

This year, I decided it was time to try something new. I’m not a super crafty person, but I tried my hand at making some natural dyes last night, with decidedly mixed results. As I said going in, though, the worst that can happen is we get ugly eggs that are still edible.

Easter eggs

 

The blue eggs attest to the magic of cabbage leaves. The orange dye was a mix of onion skins and turmeric. In case anyone wants to duplicate my result of eggs that simply look dirty, I’ll tell you the secret. I achieved that with a combination of spinach and ground mace.

My sneaky husband got up this morning and hid these things, prompting my 20-year-old son and I to do our first Easter egg hunt in at least seven years. That’s a way to get me out of my pajamas and about the day, a forced scavenger hunt before I can have breakfast!

After my egg sandwich and coffee, I got out the chief emblem of my efforts to create my new me – my bicycle, which I’ve named Frieda. A value-added component of my life is the easy access I have to a fantastic walking and biking trail network. The nearest trail head is a five-minute ride from my house (three minutes for my husband. Maybe only two.) Frieda and I managed to get in a nine-mile round trip ride before noon. Along the way, I ran into even more wonderful friends, out walking with their one-year-old son. It was the perfect excuse to stop and rest my legs for a couple of minutes as we chatted and I got a baby fix.

 

Later, I’ll pay attention to the news again, to the problems that need to be solved, the pondering of what I can do about those problems. I’m in the restoration part of the cycle right now.

Geekster Eggs

Embracing a case of deliberate amnesia about last year’s Easter egg dying fiasco, I boiled eggs and set up dye cups last night, inviting my teenaged kids to join me. And…it went okay. I would say we had fun, even. They’re both so creative. I love seeing how our traditions take on a new flavor as they become young adults. Once the decorating was done, I looked at the results and dubbed them Geekster Eggs.

Iron Man
Iron Man                                     
Thor's hammer
Thor’s hammer
An Avengers representative set: Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk
An Avengers representative set: Captain America, Hawkeye, Thor, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hulk                               
I have a kid who loves music and physics.
I have a kid who loves music and physics.
The other side of the prism egg.
The other side of the prism egg.

Holidays With Young Adults – What Now?

Seed Cake - Yum!
Seed Cake – Yum!

It’s noon on Easter and my 17-year-old is still asleep. But she made a seed cake for us some time during the night. It was on the kitchen counter when I got up this morning. We’re not a formally religious family, so we don’t do the whole big church thing for Easter. Our tradition has been to decorate eggs the night before. Then I get up way too early for a non-work day and hide them in the yard for the kids to find. (Handy hint – make a written list of hiding places as you go.)

When my daughter was around seven, she said to me “You know, some people get candy on Easter.” After that, we added a few  candy-filled plastic eggs to the mix. Even though our holiday celebrations have never been elaborate, they’ve been fun and have brought me great joy as a mother. One of the best perks of being a parent is having a reason to do again all of the fun things you did as a kid – play at the park, blow bubbles, decorate Easter eggs, re-read all of the “Little House” books.

But now my kids are big. They’re 17 and 14 years old respectively, coming right up on 18 and 15 in a few weeks. So much of how I mother is no longer relevant. I’m grasping around for new ways to connect, and the holidays seem to bring this dilemma to the fore. As recently as last year, we did an egg hunt. A few days ago, we discussed whether they wanted to do one this year. Everyone was ambivalent. It’s been fun, but they are kind of old for it. And this is our ninth Easter in the same house. All of the hiding places are well-known. A day of rain yesterday, resulting in mud and more mud made the decision for us. We’d still decorate eggs – of course you have to do that! – but no morning hunt.

The kids’ egg creations have grown funnier and more imaginative with each year, so I thought we’d have a great time just dying and decorating, but reality didn’t match my vision. I was tired after a long day at work.  My daughter’s feelings got hurt when I thought she was about to knock over the dye cups through her exuberant hand gestures while telling a story. My son, who is recovering from a cold, wanted nothing more than to be left in peace to play a computer game. And I was annoyed that people couldn’t just enjoy this cheerful family tradition dammit! By the end of the evening, I’m pretty sure my husband was the only one who had not shed tears. While the kids retreated to their rooms, he and I dyed all of the eggs ourselves, because I had gone to the trouble of cooking them and setting everything up after working all day. I wasn’t about to put 18 plain white eggs back in the fridge.

But later in the evening my daughter invited me to watch Doctor Who with her. And sometime during the night she made us a cake. I’ll take some to my mom later today. My son seemed happy enough to have candy with breakfast.  So maybe all is not lost. As my kids become young adults, we need to develop new family traditions to replace the old. We just need to get past the hurdle of figuring out what those are going to be.