I grew up in a fairly religious house and so did my wife, but things have changed for us.
Now, I can’t speak for her, but for myself: I have moved far off in the opposite direction from any and all organized religion or belief system. I’m not knocking any of them, I hope you know. In fact, I respect them all and I wish them all well, too. But for me personally, it just didn’t happen when it comes to believing or faith.
That said, in our house, we still choose to celebrate Christmas and Easter in pretty big ways. For one thing, I want my three young children (aged five, three, and one-month-old) to be exposed to these holidays and to understand that there is real meaning behind each one of them.
Then, when the time is right for them, they can make their own minds up about whether they want to pursue religion in any way, shape, or form. I would totally support them and help them however I possibly could.
But beyond all that, let’s be honest: Christmas and Easter are pretty awesome times of the year, for kids and for grown-ups, too. There are so many activities and customs associated with them that, in my mind at least, it would be a case of really robbing yourself blind if you chose not to acknowledge or indulge in them at all.
With that in mind, I thought it might be cool to wax poetically a little bit on the things that my family really loves about that big, beautiful springtime holiday we know as Easter.
So, let’s do this.
1. The Easter Bunny:
There must be a captivating tale out there somewhere about how the hell an enormous, semi-psychedelic bunny came to be the mascot for the most celebrated Resurrection in human history, but I have no idea what it is. Still, there is no denying the fact that if you are a young kid out there in the world at Easter time, you are going to come across the Easter Bunny at least a thousand times each spring.
So why ignore him? Well, unless, of course, you’re like my wise and suspicious five-year-old daughter, Violet, who simply cannot stand to be within a football field’s length of those creepy department store versions spinning around the aisles trying to see through their tiny peephole eyes. Mostly, we dig the Easter Bunny around my house and he comes in and is welcome in the form of candy and school projects and TV shows and, most importantly, as the guy who comes along in the middle of the night on Easter Eve and sets out a bunch of colored eggs and treats all over our backyard for the kids to scavenge around for first thing Easter morning.
Yes, my feet are always damp with backyard dew when I finally get around to my first cup of Easter morning coffee, but no … I swear … I AM NOT THE EASTER BUNNY!
2. Dying Easter Eggs:
We are serious egg-dyers, ya’ll. In the days leading up to Easter Sunday, my kids and their mom and me always have at least one epic coloring session in which we utilize a ton of crap we got at the supermarket or Walmart to lower hard boiled eggs into like a hundred different cups of brightly colored chemical water.
It is, I daresay, a family tradition for us now, the same as it was when my wife and I were growing up and did the exact same thing with our brothers and our moms. My three-year-old son, Henry (aka Hank the Tank) is the guy you have to watch out for when it comes to fancy egg dying overload though. Henry likes to double and triple dip his lucky eggs as many times as he can before someone stops him. And therefore, after a few eggs are done, we usually end up with an army of cups, each formerly containing a beautiful springish color, and now each containing a liquid the color of dirty dish water.
Still, art is art and the joy is all in the dunking.
And dying Easter eggs with young kids is an art form. Trust me.
3. Easter Outfits:
There aren’t many self-inflated joys of parenting much better than the whole Eater outfit thing, if you ask me. It’s just the way it is; you see your kids every single day in their snot-sleeved sweatshirts and their holey-knee pajamas and you are fine with that, but Easter brings a whole new kind of magic.
I am ADDICTED to dressing my kids up for this holiday, more than any other day of the year, really. There’s just something about it, really. It’s almost like getting them all fancied up for the Kentucky Derby except without the mint juleps or the horses. Or the Derby. But oh my stars! When you finally see your toddler terror all decked out in a really cool sweater-vest and teeny slacks from Target or wherever, and when you see you’re little princess appear downstairs in her breathtaking fancy belle dress from Kid to Kid, your fat heart is gonna skip three beats, my friend, I swear.
Kids and Easter outfits go together like pizza and cold beer. Or like pizza and red wine. They just work together!
I love my kids. But when they’re all gussied up for Easter Sunday, even if we aren’t going anywhere at all, I still get tears in my eyes at the very sight of them.
4. Easter Egg Hunt
Listen up, if you tell your kids there is an Easter Bunny and that he brings eggs in the night and leaves them all over the yard for them to find on Easter morning, they’re going to believe you.
So, why in the world wouldn’t you tell them that? And then make it happen?!
Kids need be told insane things so that their childhoods and lives are made so much richer by the power of imagination and the treasures that come along with believing in awesome stuff. The Easter Bunny leaves all the eggs we dyed as a family scattered all over our yard, in trees/in rain gutter spouts/to the left of the dog poop, and my kids are THRILLED when they get to bust out the back door and hunt them down. It never gets old, but when they do, I will probably continue the tradition for myself by hiring a local guy to scatter the eggs for me to find all by myself on the big day.
5. Big Crazy Breakfast:
After the egg hunt, it’s time for a big, fatty breakfast of eggs and buttered toast and bacon and maybe some cinnamon rolls and maybe some spoonfuls of straight-up country lard, ya’ll.
It’s a wonderful morning, rain or shine.
Happy Easter, one and all.
Image: S. Bielanko
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