March 28, 2016
This Easter morning, I rise with the sun. Nursery pink mingles with grey-blue stratus clouds, fading to salmon and gold as day breaks. I wait for the breakfasts in bed we ordered last night, but they don’t arrive. I check the hall outside our hotel room. Nobody wheels carts our way. I wake my husband and ask him to call the kitchen while I take my S-bear’s service dog outside.
Plans change, even those prepared with care. The kids will have to eat breakfast in a hurry because of the mistake. We’ll dress in our Sunday best and follow the GPS to their grandparents’ church. The service is different than our home church’s. No kneelers or pews. No priest or communion. Instead, we sing with a praise band.
Different. It is a different kind of Easter for my family. Their Pop celebrates his birthday today, on this holiest of Christian holidays. We drove through four states to wish him well. We stopped over to likewise celebrate with the kids’ Nana the day before. It is a whirlwind of tires and egg hunts, baskets left in uncustomary places and oft repeated questions like “Are we there yet?”
As spring flowers burst into fragrant color, I imagine families spreading feasts across pastel table linens. I miss my mom’s sweet potato casserole and my dad’s pickled eggs. At dinner time, we stop at a hibachi restaurant called Genji for an amusing dinner. The chef regales us with jokes. Instead of ham and the traditional meal, we sample shrimp and fried rice. Another family shares our hibachi table, a mom and her boys. The teenager refuses to eat his expensive meal. The mother looks about to push the plate someplace unpleasant. I give her a smile of solidarity when we leave. Raising children is challenging.
White-blossomed pear trees stud the landscaping. Cows meander to their barns. I think of the symbolism of spring. I can’t speak with authority about other springtime holidays, but I know we Christians incorporate pagan traditions into the pascal mix. The name Easter originates with a Roman goddess. We decorate eggs as a symbol of renewal and rebirth. Bunnies are prolific breeders, perfect pagan representations of fertility. Spring, when the world bursts into life, is the perfect time to imagine Jesus bursting from the tomb. Historians suspect a different date for the actual event, but the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD established the date to celebrate the resurrection of the Christ. It is the first Sunday after the full moon following the March Equinox. Spring. A time of hope and reawakening. Funny how we humans incorporate the strange, thereby making the different familiar.
We miss dinner and games with my Pittsburgh family. Instead, we talk to them from the road. We arrive home late and tired. We unload the car, massage life back into tired limbs, and prepare for bed. My son cheers. “Look, the Easter Bunny stopped here, too!” He’s thrilled. Although different, the weekend has been a success.
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