Easter traditions for us are filled with plastic eggs and yummy bunnies in all different shapes and forms. Holidays in our family are always chock-full of happy memories. Our family Easters are no exception. Before moving home to Beaver Dam, our Easters were quiet and focused on our son, Matthew. I would put up a few decorations and get out a big bag of plastic eggs. Some eggs were filled with jelly beans, some with chocolate robin eggs, and a few would contain various denominations of cash. Those were Matthew’s favorites.
Michael and I would fill the eggs on Easter Eve and hide them all over the house. Some were hidden obviously and some not so much. Matt had an Easter decorated bucket and he would search feverishly to find all the eggs.
His most traumatic Easter was the year his sister was in Colorado for Easter and joined the egg search. Matt was taking his time finding eggs and his sister was filling up her bucket faster than he imagined possible. He put his hands on his hips and said “NOT FAIR!!” I think this was the Easter he decided he really enjoyed being an only child. Kiley teased him and let him catch up. We had hidden twice as many eggs as usual and yet it was obvious that Kiley was very experienced at this game!
When I was a little girl, our search was for our Easter Basket, not individual eggs. We would dye eggs together the night before Easter. The big, green, plastic table cloth would cover the dining room table and we would use our imagination to come up with one beautiful egg after another. Our baskets would hold a few decorated eggs, malted milk eggs and jelly beans. Usually there would be one big chocolate bunny. Mom would put the baskets in unusual places so we would often have a challenge on our hands to find them.
One year I remember spending Easter at our grandma’s house. The Easter Bunny must have been very smart because he found our family even though we were not at home! We got up early and went to church with grandma. I remember loving to go to the church with the whole family. My Grandma would sing out loudly and I admired her for making her voice heard. My Dad loved having Mom and his three daughters in church with him. We put on our Easter best and enjoyed the family being together.
When we returned from church, it was time for our basket search. This particular year, I looked everywhere and could not find my basket. I was about to give up when Grandma asked me to get her a broom out of the storage closet. There on the shelf was a “Zippy” doll. I had asked for one for Easter and yet it didn’t occur to me that this might be mine. I took the broom to grandma, and asked her when she had gotten a Zippy doll. She said she didn’t have one. It was my Zippy, hiding among all the items on the cellar closet shelf. I got out the step stool and underneath Zippy was my Easter Basket. What a surprise! I couldn’t wait to show my gift to my cousin John who would be coming with his family to join us for Easter dinner.
Several times, when I was growing up, Easter landed on my April Birthday. My mom would always make me an angel food cake with fluffy white frosting. When Easter was on or close to my big day, she would decorate my cake with a series of marshmallow bunnies ringed around the base of my cake. I loved those cakes.
When Michael and I returned to Beaver Dam, we enjoyed creating special Easter treats for our combined families. One year, Michael introduced us to the traditional Hot Cross Buns. They were delicious. He looked like a baker all covered in flour and frosting. His appearance did not take away from the flavor of the buns.
Another year I baked a bunny cake. I had seen the idea in a magazine and couldn’t wait to try it. I was putting it together when Uncle Lloyd arrived for the Easter celebration. He enjoyed helping put the finishing touches on the charming bunny.
Yet another year, I saw an idea to make the bunny out of fruit. Wonderful treats like blueberries, strawberries, pineapple and Kiwi. I learned not to bring out the fruit until dinner time because it disappears rather quickly. We are a family of fresh fruit lovers. One great nephew has been nicknamed “the human vacuum cleaner” as it pertains to anything made of fruit.
I love the wonderful treats of Easter. I enjoy sharing a home cooked feast made with loving hands. We rotate our holiday hosting and Easter belongs either to my niece Michelle or to Michael and I. We all enjoy bringing the family together to enjoy and share the holiday. Everyone brings a favorite dish to contribute to the holiday meal.
I specifically enjoy celebrating the symbolism and meaning of this holiday. It is about rebirth and rejuvenation. The time in church and the time together with our family combine to instill us all with hope and love. With any luck, spring will follow and we will watch the earth come alive in all its beauty once again.
May this Easter be filled with love and renewal. It’s been a tough couple of years and yet I believe there is hope for the future.