Sunday, April 24, 2011

Childhood Moments: Easter

When my sons were little, we sometimes went to an upscale Easter brunch. At one such brunch, an adult wearing a large bunny outfit was greeting small children. This was during the years when Sam was terrified of anyone, especially an adult, wearing a costume. The Easter Bunny was over to one side, with a ring of children around him, so Sam was comfortable with proceeding to our table. Midway through the meal, the Easter Bunny started circulating the room. At some point, he came up directly behind Sam, who was intent on eating, and placed a large paw on Sam’s head. Sam froze, the color draining from his face. Ben, in an act of big brother protectiveness, hissed “Sam! Don't. Look. Behind. You.” The adults waved the Bunny off, the moment passed without further incident, and that morning remains a favorite memory of mine.

Other memories are not so pleasant. One such moment occurred with Ben and Easter when he was in first grade. Religion, like so many other topics, was one more landmine in the household. As a result, the boys grew up with no religion or discussions of faith and spirituality. Easter, even in its most commercial and non-religious form, somehow also ended up on the non-observed list.

Just days ago I posted a sonnet about how life is only a one-take proposition. All the same, what parent out there hasn’t replayed events from their children’s childhood and winced? The moment captured below, in contrast to the day of the giant Bunny, is one that eighteen years later I still wish I could take back and make right.  (And for those who wonder when they get to the end, yes, Sam got one too.)


**********

Easter

Your 1st grade classmates were talking
About chocolate bunnies
And Peeps
And hunting for colored eggs.

Peter Cottontail was hopping into every one of their homes.

You came home, all of seven, and asked
Tentatively
If we celebrated Easter.

“No,” said your dad, “we don’t believe in Easter.”

You hung your head to hide
The disappointment
But I heard you whisper,
“I believe in Easter.”

You never mentioned Easter again.
You never asked to dye an egg.
You never asked for a chocolate bunny.
When Peeps came home from the grocery,
You ate them without comment.

Easter was never on your calendar.

Over the years, I would hear your small
“I believe in Easter”
And yearn to give it back to you.

This year, I packed a box 
With chocolate eggs and a surprise or two
And shipped them out to you,
A long overdue visit from the Easter Bunny.

6 comments:

Deidra said...

Yes. Sadly, we all have those moments. Happy Easter to you, to Sam, and to Ben!

Sharon said...

I agree with Deidra, I believe we all have something we wish we did or didn't do.

Easter, however, was never one of them. In fact, I'm now trying to figure out how do a bit less as the kids get older. I'm afraid it's a tradition that none of my children want to get rid of...including my 25 year old married daughter who continues to cherish the tradition of an Easter basket....(she was lucky this year, the easter bunny was feeling generous). You just never know what affects kids...even grown up ones!

Alise Marie said...

Thank you so much for the Easter basket, April! Ben and I were so happy to see it. You're never too old for a visit from the Easter bunny. We love you!

Terri said...

I found myself tearing up as I read this...not so much for the gift you sent, but out of recognition of such moments in my own children's lives.

see you there! said...

Glad to hear your offspring had a visit from the Easter Bunny this year. I celebrate everything that comes along whether it is in my cultural/religious tradition or not. Guess I just like a party.

Darla

Katrina Vidal said...

The real gift of Easter is the promise of eternal life and that we have an advocate in heaven to redeam us. That is a lot for a child to take in so Peeps and chocolate bunnies are a standin until such time that they can understand the true miracle of Easter. I hope you sent a prayer with those candies.

Katrina