Egg on My Face

April 20, 2014

Way out of sorts this morning.  Feeling uneasy and unsettled, my knickers in a gnarly sorta twist, apparently. Going to try to sort it out here, so bear with me.

The ambivalence of Easter is upon me. It wasn’t until yesterday that I realized…ah yes, Easter Sunday coming up. Tomorrow. My adult self doesn’t really have a pony in this pasture, but my mom self is all confused. At least, I think it’s my mom self.

I’ve never really landed on an Easter tradition that makes sense to me. As a grownup in the world, reasonably secure in my own beliefs and priorities, I’m quite okay with it. It’s just Easter; I don’t celebrate this. Hell, I don’t even know what it’s all about. In my marriage to Jim, who’s completely on a remote end of the spectrum when it comes to holiday traditions (as but one example), I’m even more okay with it. Together, we are good. We pursue our normal Sunday morning activities, even though it’s Easter. All is good.

But, man, as a mom, I feel like I’m dropping some kind of ball.

I don’t feel like we should go to a sunrise service, become Christians for the day, or pretend in any other way that the day holds any sort of spiritual meaning to us. Of course it doesn’t. But I still feel like we’re a family in search of an Easter ritual…an acknowledgment that it’s Easter Sunday and, while we don’t have a religious practice, we do do this, or that, whatever, whenever the day comes around.

Like, in years past.  We have an egg hunt in the backyard (long since discontinued) or join friends for a multiple-families hunt (again, that was long ago discontinued), or we pull out our special recipe for hot cross buns (um, maybe two–unsuccessful–attempts at that, just.. because), or we join family for a brunch (happened a few times) or a lamb dinner (again, maybe a few times), or hide a basket (happened for a few years, post hunt days). Sort of all over the map, here.   And all that was at least fun, right?  I’m pretty sure it was. Easy, fun, uncomplicated.

But family’s not gathering this year. Kid’s too old for Easter egg hunts. Now what?

I don’t even remember last year.

Ah, just looked it up.. we left the house at 5:30am on Easter Sunday for a flight to Boston… we went to New England & New York for spring break last year. Problem solved.   (Nice!)

Not having a ready response to the holiday, a place to go, a tradition to routinely fall back on, I feel like I’m cheating my kid out of something. He’s still just 15… these are the remember years! He’s got to have something.  Mom guilt.

I fight this. I mean, what the f is that? A ritual in search of meaning?! Part of me feels a need to create ritual that leads to childhood memories.. this mom self aches for her son to carry with him cherished memories of holidays, summers, every developmental phase of his life with its attendant milestones. While the other side, the comfortable, wise self, desires simply authenticity. We don’t celebrate Easter; we are not Christians. You’ve outgrown egg hunts, sweetheart. It’s okay. Please, let’s dispense with the hypocrisy. So unattractive.

See? Totally unsettled.

So, a couple hours ago, I assuaged my Easter dis-ease with a hastily assembled basket of stuff for Peter to enjoy when he got back from a sleepover. Yes, between Jim’s and my return from our usual Sunday breakfast at Bernardo’s (now there’s a tradition I gratefully, totally relax into), and Peter’s coming home, I got a panicked notion to fill a basket.  It was short on chocolate bunnies, but otherwise respectably filled with items from the Easter box. I do have one of those, a vestige from the olden days, a collection of random Easter-related, pastel-colored paraphernalia. Many years in the making, many attempts at tradition-building… I do have a very serviceable collection of shredded, pastel filling, dozens of plastic eggs, bunny ears, mini-baskets, paper plates, etc, etc.  So, into his giant, colorful, wicker, egg-shaped basket went a chocolate bar (I found stashed in the freezer from a trip to IKEA a few months ago), a couple plastic eggs that I stuffed with bendy bunnies, another with chocolate chips (which we always have around), and one more with a $20 (desperation money). The box also produced some bunny toys (the kind you press down on and the bunny flies toward some determined target), a wire whisk (with egg-shaped grip) and a ceramic egg cup (the kind you use for soft-boiled eggs). Totally random stuff. I guess you could say I had an egg theme going. And I know… what’s he gonna do with those things?  It’s just…  having a basket.  For some reason, I needed to do this so the day would be marked, if even in an unremarkable way. I couldn’t really bear not doing it.  Because, you know, Easter ambivalence and mom guilt. That’s an eye-rolling cocktail.



But now, we’re kinda good with the universe. Glad Peter got a little something, a token nod to Easter. The holiday did not go un-recognized. And… part of me is unhappy that I succumbed.

Yeah.. my insecure little universe.

And I’m left with the same questions.  Because, you know, this shit inevitably comes up at Christmas, on our wedding anniversary, on Valentines Day..  some of it works, but a lot of it is desperation tradition.  And I have to wonder, what is that?  At my age, I don’t get to blame the usual suspects.  I don’t get to blame the media which of course bombards us with Martha-esque holiday perfection at every turn. That’s old news and too easy. Yawn. Fall for that, it’s your own damn fault.  Or, god, social media, Facebook, on whose pages runs a steady stream of cheery holiday pics. I never feel lost and hopeless in that. (Progress, I think. Yay adult me.)  I also don’t want to blame my childhood, my parents and that whole thing.. like I was somehow deprived of this or that and don’t want my son to experience the same  (uh, really?!, please, that’s just tiresome, largely manufactured, false compensation, at least complicated, and simply doesn’t get to enter into this anymore).

I have to understand: it’s me, my little unrest, my little first world demon, and I just need to deal with it. Hopefully posthaste.

Because, Jesus. It’s only Easter.



6 Responses to “Egg on My Face”

  1. Teresa Cheyney Says:

    Hi Kari: Did your family celebrate Easter when you were growing up? If so, how did you celebrate? If your family didn’t celebrate Easter then it seems to me that this is the perfect time to create your own family tradition of an Easter celebration. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with religion. Talk to Jim and Peter and ask them what they would like to do. If they don’t want to do anything special, then I’d stop feeling guilty and just do what millions of others do – treat it as just another Sunday. Love, Teresa

    Date: Sun, 20 Apr 2014 20:23:50 +0000 To: tcheyney@msn.com

  2. Carrie Says:

    Hi, I was sort of having those feelings today, sans kid of course. People are doing all of these Christian and non-Christian activities and I am pulling up vinyl flooring, thinking “maybe being an atheist isn’t all it’s cracked (😀) up to be”. Then, nah! I would think church a total waste of time. I mostly miss coloring and hunting eggs. I almost made some last year and had Ken hide them for me, then blew that off. It’s such a big family day for so many people, I sort of feel left out. I love Peter’s basket. You really are great in the 11th hour aren’t you? I hope he enjoyed it, the thought, and the effort! I heard that Arden fair mall was closed today. Or maybe just Walkings shoe store. They are only closed for two holidays, Easter and Christmas. I think I can guess that they are owned by Christians. Such a weird day! Glad to know I’m not alone in my weird feelings!

  3. blk4609 Says:

    We always buy a leg of lamb from John Bledsoe at the Davis Farmers’ Market, one of us butterflies it, I smear it with Julia Childs mustard sauce, and Bob BBQs it.  We tend to have lots of asparagus with it and strawberry short cake or something lemony depending on how early or late Easter is.  This year, we had my cousin’s daughter and her fiance and Bob’s mom.  No kid this year since it’s 420.  I suppose when we no longer have any family around, we might do something else.  For us, holidays are all about food and sometimes gifts.  Since my sister and son’s and my birthdays are in the fall, Easter was a 6 month excuse for warmer weather gifts — along with the egg huts, that seems to have gone by the wayside. – laurie

  4. Kari Says:

    Thanks for the comments, gals. Postscript: Peter had a wonderful morning with a bunch of friends eating breakfast at the birthday party sleepover. Came home, enjoyed his basket (was quite appreciative), hung out a little with us, and was pleasant and affectionate. Played guitar for me while I made some carrot beet orange juice (I’m actually fasting today), then went off with some friends (still not home yet..it’s 9pm). Jim and I both worked out, did some individual projects, I had a long conversation with my mom, and just now, we got back from seeing the Grand Budapest Hotel, which was a fun enough movie. Not a stick of tradition in any of it, but a nice enough day, and Peter was no worse for it. He’s the reason I fret over these things, but, like you say Teri, and I re-learn this all the time: it’s best to meet them where they are. We have lots of other family rituals, and it’s true that none have anything to do with religious traditions. That’s certainly consistent with who Peter’s parents are; he can figure the other out on his own. In the meantime, saw a great preview for an upcoming movie: Particle Fever, about the Hadron Collider. That’ll float Peter’s boat like nothing else.

    I’ve got some personal soul searching to do (not religious stuff) to figure out the source of the discontent on days like this. But I think P is just fine. And Jim certainly is.

  5. Kari Says:

    And the leg of lamb sounds great!

  6. […] There has been a year or two when Peter was technically beyond the egg hunt and for some reason the Frames didn’t gather…. those were rudderless years (and full of Kari angst). Like last year.. which I wrote about here. […]

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