As I’ve written before, I love Easter. It’s my favorite holiday.
This Easter felt like even a bigger deal than usual to me. For one thing, all holidays post-fire feel like milestones. I know what happened to us doesn’t compare to a death in the family, but things are different now. Not only are we in a new place, but we’ve lost all the trappings of celebrations past–the baskets, the bunnies, the decorations. Easter has never been about decorating for me, but I do particularly mourn the loss of my three Polish Easter eggs, brought to me from Poland by a Georgetown History Graduate student back in 1990 when I was the secretary of the History Department there.
So the first thing I had to do was use the last of my Target gift cards for an Easter Basket shopping trip.
Stress and finances have made inroads into the once annual excursion for new Easter clothes–getting a new Easter dress was practically a religious observance for me well into my college years, and I took great pride in the matching outfits I scored for the three “big kids” when they were small–but this year several of us decided to get some new things. Jake had a nice suit John bought him last fall, and he and I found an Easter tie (thank you to the giver of the TJMaxx gift card!). John took Teddy out suit shopping, but finding a suit that would accommodate his large chest and relatively small waist proved impossible, so he ended up with a blazer and pants. I took Emily dress shopping, and I actually used my own Christmas Kohl’s gift card to get some new things for myself (more on my lack of personal possessions in another post!). The little people were content with “new to them” items given us after the fire.
I waited a little late (Yikes! the day before!) to go bunny shopping. It turned into a three-hour odyssey, and in the end finding matching bunnies for four out of five kids (one considers himself past wanting bunnies on Easter) proved impossible. Lorelei has carried her sheep around every day since, and William was delighted with his possum (to replace one lost in the fire) so I needn’t have worried.
The Easter Bunny brought plenty of candy. There was much speculation by William and Lorelei on the nature of the Bunny, where he comes from, what he looks like, why he does what he does, and who his “minions” are. There were also sweet rolls for breakfast. There are always sweet rolls (hot cross buns, really, only I’m not crafty enough for that so they are just glazed) or cinnamon rolls made from the sweet roll recipe (and I was trying for less mess and stress) on Easter morning. This was my mother’s tradition, but the glitch this year is that no one has the recipe any more. I had copied it down years ago in my notebook of special recipes. My mother lost the original and had taken to calling me if she needed it. You know what happened to my notebook. I couldn’t find the exact recipe online. Between the two of us we figured it out–they tasted like they were supposed to!
Easter Mass is the greatest celebration of the Church year. We made sure to arrive early–in fact we were so early we had to wait outside for the previous Mass to finish up! But that was okay because we were treated to an Easter Parade as folks exited, and we got to talk to the people who go to ten o’clock Mass! The Church looked beautiful, and we sang the right songs.
We’ve had guests over many times since we moved–four birthday celebrations and a Christmas Open House–but we had not yet hosted a holiday dinner. We went out on Thanksgiving, and my sister did Christmas. We had not hosted a holiday dinner for quite some time, actually–the last time was two Easters ago, at our then-new house, the house which is now burned down. We were so happy and hopeful that day, with no way of knowing either the very bad or the very good things that were headed our way.
Anyway, I decided Easter would be a relatively stress-free way to begin our turn at holiday hosting. We made a rule that no one could bring more than two things. My mother brought fried chicken and angel biscuits. My sister Anne (Betsy and her husband were not with us this year) brought macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. I made baked beans, green beans, and sickeningly sweet tea–just the way we all like it. Emily made lemon bars and mint juleps. My father and stepmother brought a butter pecan cake. Anne’s mother-in-law brought a ham. And even Lorelei made some cookies (with Jake’s help). All together there were 18 of us for dinner! We did it buffet style and it went smoothly and was delicious.
Of course Easter would not be Easter for the little people without an Easter egg hunt.
It was a truly blessed Easter. How was yours?