Don’t get me wrong. I love sugar. I love chocolate. I love anything sweet and ooey-gooey, but I can get that all the time. Okay, well, I can’t get Cadbury Crème Eggs or marshmallow Peeps all the time, but I can buy them and hide them for later. (Ignore that last statement, children. There is no candy hidden in our house. No need for you to go searching for it…)
I really have always loved Easter candy. When I was pregnant with the Beetle, I craved Peeps. Back then, they only sold Peeps at Easter time. There were no Valentine’s Peeps and Christmas Peeps like they have now. I wanted a marshmallow bunny so badly I could taste it, but they weren’t available in the stores yet. Then, I found out I had gestational diabetes, so I could not eat sugar. After my appointment, I went to Wal-Mart, only to find Peeps for sale. (I’m pretty sure Wal-Mart did it on purpose. Another reason I don’t heart Wal-Mart.) I pined for Peeps throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. I talked about them non-stop. After Easter, when the Beetle was born, my mother, my sister and Willow all came to my hospital room and threw boxes of Peeps onto my bed. (I’m pretty sure the phrase they said was, “Now, eat them and shut up.”) Ironically, once the Beetle was born, I no longer wanted Peeps, and they didn’t even taste good to me.
Although I love Easter candy for the flavors, I love it more for the colors. I love to walk down the Easter aisles at the store (not Wal-Mart – I don’t love anything about Wal-Mart). I love the bright colors. I love the ducks and bunnies. I love the happy little chicks staring at me. It’s a candy wonderland.
I also love Easter in general. I love dying Easter eggs. I love new dresses (although I hate shopping for them). I love to see little girls and old ladies in hats. (Maybe I should get a hat to wear…) There is a freshness in the air, and the world is happy. It’s spring. It’s new. It’s Easter.
I think dying Easter eggs is fun to me because it reminds me of one of my favorite childhood pass-times. I’m not sure how this started, but when I was probably about 8 or 9, I started mixing colors. My mother gave me food coloring and all kinds of bottles, glasses and containers to use. I would go in the bathroom, fill the containers with water and start adding dye. I would see what new colors I could discover. This provided hours of entertainment. Now, I’m not sure if my mother was a genius or if she just got lucky and found something that kept me from saying, “I’m bored.” Either way, she gave me the key to colors, and I loved it. Little did I know, this was actually hands-on training for my future occupation as a paint-your-own-pottery store owner. The knowledge I had picked up by playing with water and dye in the bathroom came in quite handy when customers wanted to know how to mix the perfect shade of green. Brown? Red, yellow and a dot of black.
Hiding Easter eggs is fun too. Though I would not have agreed with this statement when my kids were little and wanted me to hide the eggs for the 100th time on a Tuesday afternoon, I now can say it is fun. My babies don’t want me to hide eggs for them anymore, and that makes me a little sad. However, when I’m taking a nap on Easter afternoon, I won’t feel too bad about it.
Easters when we were little were spent in the swimming pool. I didn’t grow in up in Florida where it’s summer by Easter. No way. I grew up in South Carolina where, though we didn’t have to break the ice, the swimming pool certainly wasn’t warm enough for us to go swimming. My sister and I did not care, though. If Daddy opened the pool, we were in it. Once, I literally saw my sister’s legs turn blue from the water. It didn’t matter. We swam anyway.
One Easter when we were still in South Carolina, I had a pink dress. I remember it. It was much frillier than anything I’ve ever managed to dress the Goose in. I was probably 7 or 8 at the time. I had a white frilly hat and white gloves. (It was the 80’s. Don’t judge me.) We went to the First Baptist Church in our town. It was technically our home congregation, but I certainly never felt at home there. No one was nice to me. One girl, whose name I can still remember (though I can’t remember a person I met yesterday), used to glare at me during the prayers. I never knew what I did to her, but she did not like me. Since I worried about what everyone thought of me, I let this ruin any chance I had of enjoying church or wanting to be there.
This particular Sunday, though, I had another incident that is forever burned in my brain. A boy in my Sunday school class was making fun of my gloves. (Apparently, he didn’t know it was the 80’s.) He kept trying to write on my white gloves with a pencil every time the teacher looked away. Evil little creep. Finally, he reached over and stabbed me with the pencil. The lead of the pencil went through my glove and pierced my skin. It left a black mark in my skin that I could still see until just about a year ago. I can’t say I held a grudge, but it’s kind of hard to forget being stabbed by a pencil when you’re still carrying around the mark! It’s funny, though, that I was more outraged about him messing up my white gloves than I was about being stabbed with a pencil.
I never wore gloves again after that day. That little jerk made me self-conscience of my style.
It’s funny how, even now, as I think back to Easters past, these are the things I remember. I’m sure we had traditions, and I’m sure my mother worked to make Easter special for us. I know we dyed Easter eggs. I wouldn’t have missed a chance to make a mess. However, it’s not any of those traditions I think of. It’s being stabbed with a pencil and turning blue while swimming that come to mind. Since my kids have been born, I have tried to make Easter memorable for them. I wonder, though, what they will actually remember about Easters past.
I know one thing the Beetle will always remember (and the Goose loves to tell). It happened the year the Goose was born. With both kids, part of my “nesting” rituals was to get prepared way ahead of time. When the Beetle was born in April, I had already bought gifts for birthdays through August. I guess I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to leave the house. I’m not sure.
Anywho, when the Goose was born, I went weeks ahead of time to find an Easter outfit for the Beetle. She was actually due after Easter, but she came early, so it was fortunate I had planned ahead. The Goose came home from the hospital the Saturday before Easter, so there would have been no time to shop.
The Beetle loved purple. He lived for the color purple. I suspect, though he won’t admit it in his manliness now, he still secretly loves the color purple. He was turning four soon after the Goose was born, so he was not yet ashamed of his color. I went shopping for an Easter outfit for him, and I decided to stop at a local consignment shop. There, in the boys’ department, was the most awesome pair of plaid overalls in purple! They were his size. It was meant to be. I bought the overalls and found a shirt to go with them. The Beetle looked so cute.
So, Easter morning came, and I dressed the Beetle in his new outfit. I took pictures. “Stand by the tree and smile!” “Look this way and smile!” “Quit scaring your newborn sister and smile!”
I sent Mr. E and the Beetle off to church, and I stayed home with my 3 day old baby Goose. When Mr. E and the Beetle got home, Mr. Everything was laughing. I asked him what was funny, and he said, “Since when do we dress our boy in girl’s clothing?” He said the Beetle was wearing a girl’s outfit and people at church had noticed. I insisted it was NOT a girl’s outfit. The overalls were in the boys’ section, and people needed to get enlightened to the fact that purple could be a boy’s color too. Mr. E called the Beetle over and had me look closely. The buttons had hearts on them. Oops. Well, at least my boy was manly enough he could pull it off. He still looked cute, and to this day, that is one of my favorite Easter outfits for him.
Now, the Beetle loves (as you can imagine) to hear the story of the year he went in drag for Easter. I’m sure this will be one of the great Easter memories I’ve created for my kids. At least they didn’t get stabbed with a pencil. -Al