Easter is going to be very different this year.
On March 19th, I panic-purchased an adult Easter Bunny costume on Amazon. You see, Easter has long been my favorite holiday. It's my "Christmas." It's all pastel and floral and tiny chocolates and matching lace-lined dresses and cousins and bunnies and new life. It's almost always in the month of my namesake, April; also the month that my parents were married.
Waking up on Easter morning, I would race with my brother, snagging eggs as they lay around the house and and in couch cushions and in drawers, each pastel nugget full of the promise of jelly beans. My mom would hide them in the Kleenex boxes and in the drawer of her antique drawing table that we were otherwise not allowed to touch. I would beat my brother every time to the one in the microwave. We would lay out all of our treasures on the floor and I'd be sure to count every one, watching him closely to make sure he didn't cheat. I knew that the competition wasn't fair, as I was 2 1/2 years older than him, but I still reveled in having more eggs. He would cry about it and I would share my candy because there was always just so much of it anyway. He doesn't remember that I shared with him, but I know I did. My parents would have insisted.
Every year, my mom would get scheduled for work and every year I would be crushed... until: THE. ACTUAL. EASTER. BUNNY. would come hopping down the street on his yearly visit to my grandma's house on Atlanta Way. The bunny that never once looked suspiciously like my mom. The one that once cracked a real egg on my cousin Janelle's head for pulling his tail. The one that would only squeak at us and would leave us just before my mom returned from work.
"Did I miss the Bunny again, Ape? Every year. Every year, I miss the Bunny," she'd say.
In recent years, my Aunt Kathy has donned the suit as I can't even fit into it myself. She rolls around in the confetti egg mess and we know the big kids are on to her and at least one of the little kids is terrified, but it's also the kind of thing that makes time stop for me, seeing that old bunny suit.
Easter is less pressure than Christmas, more joyful than Halloween. It's about all of us cousins, maybe dozens of us, in white gloves and floppy bonnets and about brunch at Crystal Cove with my Aunt Sue and gathering us all under a bright springtime sky and chasing the bunnies that my Aunt Kathy had living under the porch in her backyard, and about the annual egg hunt we host every year since my daughter was born with 30 some odd kids running around in boas, and about crying over not finding the golden egg, the one that my mom and aunt hid in the lemon tree - INSIDE a lemon - that one year.
This year, I'm trying to recreate the cookie decorating and the egg dyeing and I'm working so hard to flood our house with pastels, careful no to dye too many eggs since they are hard to come by right now, grateful for the stockpile of Easter-Parties-Past in the garage, missing my mom and my cousins and my brother and the Bunny at South Coast Plaza that always pretends to eat the fake carrots that my kids feed him.
I look at this costume I bought on Day 7 of our "Stay At Home" as it sits in the bag. Truth told, it is actually a Bugs Bunny costume. It was one of the few ones that had a head on it that wasn't $100. I need to make him a vest, I think. And a bow-tie. I've already begged my Jewish husband to put it on. Tomorrow, we will all pretend together that daddy just had to run an errand and that we will get a "do-over" of Easter sometime this Summer. They are both lies, really.
Clementine has been asking me every morning "How many more sleeps until Easter?" with an anticipation I used to have. She can't wait. It breaks my heart and puts it back together at the same time to see her innocent excitement.
Without our family, it won't be the same. It won't. And I wonder what else won't be the same after this. My kids, they are 4 and 6 and don't have enough context for what Easter is supposed to look like for them or even what the world is supposed to look like, really. I am creating that right now. And, yes, it looks a little like a knock-off Bugs Bunny in a crudely fashioned vest and their cousins and grandparents likely yelling over one another on Zoom. But, it doesn't have to look like failure. It doesn't have to look like a million plastic eggs and new baskets every year. It's Springtime. And we are all being given a chance at renewal and growth.
Happy Easter, everyone.
07 APRIL 2020