Happy Easter! What's In Your Basket?
My nine-year-old, the skeptic, and I had a long discussion about Easter last night, pondering the historical fact, faith, and pagan ritual origins of Easter -- and how odd it was that so much of America, excepting those of Jewish faith among us, celebrate it with a kind of crazy mashup of rebirth/fertility/crucifixion. The very name 'Easter' comes from a Germanic pagan goddess, 'Ostara,' and hares are a pagan and medieval fertility symbol. At least according to Wikipedia. (We also learned that rabbits and hares can conceive while already pregnant with a litter. Insane!)
So, it was with this jaded, somewhat secular, perspective that I began idly browsing through casual friends' Instagram photos late last night. Oh my: what was here made even my Christmas stockings and Santa rituals look impoverished. A basket for every kid, for starters, most of them stocked with actual bags of candy, 12"-high chocolate rabbits, toys, and (evidently) plastic eggs filled with more toys and cash. Whoa. I'd spent $6 on Easter candy at Trader Joe's, and I had a little box of Jelly Belly beans my husband bought when he was home on leave.
I knitted an Easter basket several years ago, and it's pretty and I use it once a year, so there won't be another two joining it. This is Easter: one basket, six bucks. I was so humbled by other mama's Easter offerings, I didn't even fill the basket until after I made my coffee and washed the dishes this morning. My kids seemed perfectly happy. (I felt especially anti-social after my husband left this time, so we won't have an opportunity to compare Easter hauls until Monday!)
This morning, last night's Easter basket filling photos were joined with photos of happy, bleary kids and thank-you notes from the Easter Bunny (next to a plate of baby carrots) and living rooms littered with empty eggs and candy wrappers. Somehow, I'd just forgotten that this happened, and it took me by surprise in my current emotional state of skepticism, social avoidance and cash-poverty. We made French toast. We finished our carrot garlands. I put on my clothes for a run. I felt -- guilty and crochety.
I wonder: what's in your Easter basket? I know there are lots of secular mamas and Jewish families in our audience, in addition to lots of faithful church-goers, and I'd love to hear what you think of this holiday, and what you had waiting for your kids this morning.