Monday, April 18, 2011

Not Your Minister's Easter Post

Happy Holy Week. It's a time for renewal, reflection, re-dedication, and mass quantities of chocolate. (Ugh. When will I EVER get my eating habits back on track?)

One of my favorite Easter stories comes from my aunt, who had a woman in her congregation take a stand about the commercialization of the holiest of holidays. No Easter goodies for her kids that year, only celebration of the atonement and resurrection. Her young son's plea? (You have to hear this in your mind coming from a little Southern Cali boy with an inexplicable New Jersey accent.) "Mommy, can't we at least have a chocolate Jesus on a cross?"

Well, we do try in our home to focus on the Savior as much as possible at this time. But there is no denying that what my kids look most forward to are new Sunday outfits, filled baskets, chocolate, orange rolls, dying boiled eggs, chocolate, the cousin egg-hunt on Saturday, and of course, chocolate. They won't be disappointed. We'll have it all. And then some. (Do I make the lime cheesecake for Sunday dessert or the carrot cake? And if I do the cake, do I make it into cute bunny cakes or cupcakes?)

But one thing I've never done with my kids is perpetuate the Easter Bunny myth. I just can't. You may ask why not. That would be an especially understandable query if you know me well enough to know that I love the Santa stuff and Tooth Fairy fun. We are nearly over loosing teeth chez nous, but I still won't admit to my kids aloud that there is no Santa. And they can't admit it to me either, because, as they are warned, Santa doesn't bring presents to kids who don't believe in him.

The thing is, I find the Easter Bunny idea to be kinda, well, creepy. I have nothing against bunnies in general. Nothin's cuter than a little lop running around your house. Bunny Peeps? My favorite shape. Let 'em get a little stale and those crunchy ears are the best, Jerry, the BEST. Bunny cakes were already addressed above. Chocolate bunnies? Do I even need to respond to this one?

But an over-grown rabbit, who may or may not sport formal-wear, hiding baskets and boiled eggs that weren't even his own but that *I* remember dying (yeah, this issue goes waaay back)? Well, that's over the top. I think I may prefer an encounter with an R.O.U.S. because I know for certain that I should attack on sight.

As a kid there were several years that I tried to stay up to catch the Easter Bunny in the act. I was skeptical, frankly, as well as creeped out. I often wanted to see Santa as well, yet I don't remember ever feeling the need to prove something--I just wanted to hug him. (I guess for me a magical little old man with reindeer and a sleigh was a much easier story to swallow.) Those Easter-eves I always fell asleep before the Bunny's arrival, and I wasn't ever sure if I was disappointed or relieved to have missed him.

One spring, when I was about 16, I actually got a gig as the Easter Bunny for a week or so at our local mall. Strangers all over Western Mass have photos of me with their kids and babies in boxes up in their attics. Of course, no one can tell it's me. I wouldn't even be able to tell you if it was me, thanks to that top-heavy, hot, Lysol-coated, condensation-filled helmet of a torture chamber they called a "mask." That thing was brutal. And it was hard to see out of. You couldn't look down. Most of the kids sitting on your lap are below eye-level, and it was hard to see where they were or what they were doing. I about freaked when I had to hold a several week old infant for photos. I was just glad she was too young to roll over. Also, the Easter Bunny doesn't talk. So I just got to give hugs and pat heads and wave like a beauty queen on a float. That was harder than one might think. Not only could I not see these kids ... I couldn't answer them. And the ones who weren't screaming were asking lots of questions.

When I became a mom, and #1 was getting old enough to start the Bunny thing, I just couldn't do it. And really, I didn't even need to. We always had the big egg hunt on Saturday with our cousins, and everyone knew it was the uncles out there hiding the eggs. (Which, I suppose, could be it's own brand of creepy.) So on Sundays, I just hid the baskets. And that was that. No freakish rabbit. Same great treats. Win-win.

I'll be interested to see what my kids do when they become parents. Maybe they'll go over-board with the Bunny since they had deprived childhoods. Or maybe I'll have passed on that particular neurosis to them, and we'll have a second generation of Bunny-free* Easter celebrations.

*chocolate and marshmallows not excluded