One of my favorite holidays is just around the corner—Easter. Maybe it’s the egg decorating that gets me, with the pungent scent of vinegar wafting through the air, Styrofoam cups steaming and sloshing with the most glorious shades of dye and layer upon layer of newsprint draped over our kitchen table. The smell alone takes me back—decades.
Or perhaps this holiday tops my list because I love drinking in the moment, as my children become completely absorbed in their exhaustive search for eggs—lifting every leaf, turning every stone and standing on tippy toes to reach the unreachable. Never mind the fact that the “prize” happens to be a cheap, plastic egg held together with tape (to keep jellybeans and M&M’s from falling out in the mud). In their eyes, the treasure is as precious as gold—they gather and guard their bounty as if their very lives depended upon egg hunting success.
Maybe it’s the fact that I enjoy seeing everyone dressed in their Sunday best on Easter. I get an especially big kick out of watching parents’ futile attempts to keep their broods out of mud puddles, inviting birdbaths and grassy temptations—at least until church is over. While growing up, I spent so little time in “dress clothes” myself it’s no wonder my mom made a mad dash for the Polaroid whenever I gave in to her wishes. I even went so far as to clean the dirt from my fingernails and scrub the grass-stains from my knees. White gloves and a frilly Easter hat were thrown in for good measure. Ugh.
I might also especially prefer this season because receiving a palm serves to strengthen me throughout the year. Easter is a time for newness, awakening, celebration and most of all hope. (Lent is over, too! Pass the chocolate!) Or maybe I favor it because it brings to mind countless return trips from church, pestering my brother with the tip of my palm leaf. Back then my parents served as judge, jury and executioner—always siding with he who held the shortest palm leaf.
Most of all, I think Easter has become one of my top choices because, traditionally, it has been based upon the concept of “believing.” Of course, this is America, and we are free to believe in whatever or whomever we choose. I, for one, believe wholeheartedly in the Easter Bunny—right along with the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus and the Great Pumpkin. Who am I to knock tradition? This floppy-eared, buck-toothed bearer of solid chocolate bunnies and yellow peeps has been hoppin’ down the bunny trail for centuries now.
All this talk of “believing” has caused me to ponder the great depths of my personal belief system—especially as it relates to parenthood. In fact, I have created a list (soon to be carved in Play-Doh) of the monumental beliefs I hold. Hopefully, they will echo the sentiments of parents everywhere.
I BELIEVE IN…
…long, uninterrupted naps from which I awaken to find neither my glasses in a tangled mess, my house a wreck or a face full of stickers.
…real sit-down dinners with my family during which no bickering matches between siblings erupt, no arguments with teenagers ensue, no food becomes airborne and especially—no one phones to ask that I donate money to build a Wal-Mart on the planet Mars. I’m not ready to fork over cash to my college alma maters either. I have yet to see evidence of my success.
…romantic weekend getaways and candlelit dinners for two which are totally devoid of children—namely, mine.
…truly enjoyable family vacations that don’t break the bank, destroy our faith in weather forecasting or leave us wondering what on earth made us think we could endure seven solid days of togetherness.
…forgiveness and flexibility—because without those things, none of the aforementioned would be remotely possible, even with the Easter Bunny’s help.
Planet Mom: It’s where I live.
Copyright 2005 Melinda L. Wentzel