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Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Easter Basket


Several years ago my daughter's friend, who we shall call Lucy, came to live with us when her mom suddenly and unexpectedly died. 

I hadn’t known Lucy’s mom, or anything about Lucy's holiday traditions. Of all the worries and possible obstacles that could attend taking in a kid, I realize now that it’s a bit odd that it was the fear of messing up her Easter that really got me by the throat. 

I’d been on Easter-egg-hunts, eaten more than my share of Jordon Almonds and Cadbury eggs and I’d certainly seen and coveted any number of Easter baskets over the decades. But I’d never had an Easter basket of my own or created one for anyone else. Let alone someone with a recently deceased mother. 

I snuck away to Michael's while the kids were at school, and promptly discovered that there was no one right way to do this Easter Basketing thing.  Who knew there were so many kinds of basket grass, not to mention baskets. Big? Little? Wicker? Cloth? Plastic in classic Easter pastels? 

Whole aisles were dedicated to cuteness, including myriad pre-filled, ready-made Easter baskets tented in colorful plastic-wrap and tied with pretty bows. 

Had Lucy’s mom nestled toy lambys in her Easter grass? Did she arrange a tableau of wind-up chicks, chocolate Easter Rabbits and marshmallow Peeps?  

Had her mom left the basket by Lucy's bed so she’d wake up and see it first thing? Did it include a note from the Easter Bunny?  Perhaps there had been a trail of clues... little bunny droppings or jelly beans leading to the basket?

Oy. I asked the Michael's sales staff probing questions about their personal basket experiences. Then made frantic phone calls to gentile friends. 

Ultimately however, as with every crisis, I had to accept that I was alone. For better or worse the decisions were mine to make.

That realization didn’t make me particularly calm or confident, but I did manage to make some purchases. I lugged my stuff home to stress over and arrange while the kids slept. Then I lay in bed fearing that my Easter basket failure would topple poor Lucy into bottomless grief.  

Was the wrongness of my basket going to shock Lucy into realizing that this wasn’t just a long pajama party, that her mother was really gone, and that nothing would ever be the same?   

I nervously shoved my baskets at the kids the second they awoke Easter morning. 

“Oh cool!” Lucy said. “An Easter basket! I’ve never had one before.”

xo Amy
  

6 comments:

The Pen and Ink Blog said...

Thank you! I loved that story. It sent me into remember mode over the many traditons I obsessed over, including Easter Baskets. And of course the worst one of all. Having told my children there was an Easter Bunny, a Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus and gone into excruciating detail to make them real, what was I going to do when they confronted me with the Ultimate Question?

Melodye said...

Ha! I'm imagining the Easter bunny got a good laugh out of that one!

The Pen and Ink Blog said...

Sounds like Lucy had a happy Easter.
Sincerely,
Bunny Brain

Betty Birney said...

So sweet! Can I come live at your house? And next time you need an Easter basket consultation, let me know. I'm an expert. I remember a rainy Easter day when an Easter egg hunt in the backyard was out o the question. When I went to put my slippers on, there was an Easter egg inside. I'll never forget that moment! Lucy was very lucky to be staying with you! Thank you for caring about her Easter basket!

goldiebug said...

Oh how sweet! That was such a caring thing for you to do for her; I'm glad the agonizing turned out well. :-) I have fond memories of my childhood Easters, though they were such low-key affairs compared to what I see some of today's kids experiencing--getting DVDs and videogames and all sorts of things in a basket that we thought was only for edible sugary things. Also, I can give you the point of view of the Magic Rabbit Himself: for a few years in college I had a part time job dressing up in costume to entertain at birthday parties & other special occasions. I had the most fun when I got to be, er, one of the Bunny's many helpers. Seeing excited preschoolers come barreling at me to give my furry legs a giant squeeze, or shyly peer at me from around a corner with wide eyes, I've rarely ever felt such joy and love in such pintsized packages. It's one of my fondest memories. (Not so much the hot sweaty and heavyheaded costumes themselves, however. :-)

Christopher Grant said...

Great story. I never understood the whole Easter basket "thing" either until I met my wife. We still get packages from her mom every year. Thanks for sharing.