When I was growing up, every Easter morning, my sister and I would wake up early and find clues to help us hunt for our Easter baskets. One time the baskets were hiding in the cabinet under the barrel cactus. Another time, on the stairs to the attic. The baskets would be filled to overflowing with candy and, normally, something my mother had knit or crocheted – a stuffed animal of some sort or something else small to try to keep the basket from being more than a wicker holder for chocolate and jelly beans.
This year, Simon was 11 when Easter rolled around. His Easter basket from last year was still sitting on the bookcase behind the sofa, and there were multiple unopened toys in it, things like bubbles and little plastic toy cameras that let you look at images of the Easter Bunny.
But he seemed excited for Easter. Sort of.
He wanted to dye eggs.
He wanted to have an Easter egg hunt.
And this year, instead of buying another Easter basket and filling it with little toys, we just got him a “Little People” Easter train (suitable, according to the marketing, for a 1 1/2 to 5 year old) and a set of two Play-Doh filled bunnies that could make little imprints of bunnies and carrots. He played with both things, and he said he liked them.
I don’t know that he “gets” Easter. He knows about it, enough to know what is related to it. He knows it’s time to dye eggs and hunt for eggs and that there is an Easter Bunny (whether or not he believes it’s an actual Easter Bunny, I have no idea). He quotes the Charlie Brown episode about making “egg soup” when we hard boil the eggs. [Sorry for the bad video – this one is hard to find!]
I also don’t know that he will ever experience Easter the way I did. He doesn’t eat candy, except for Tootsie Roll Pops, which have to be red, and which he also carefully eats down to the Tootsie Roll part and then throws away as opposed to actually eating the chocolate-like substance that hides in the middle. (I can’t, in good conscience, call Tootsie Rolls chocolate.)
He also doesn’t really figure out clues, unless it’s with Blue and Steve, and even then, I’m not sure he figures out the answers on his own. But he can sure memorize them and then tell you what they are and what they mean. And he can draw them all so they look exactly like what Steve has drawn. (Another admission – I also can’t, in good conscience, say that I have watched all the Joe episodes because Joe is about as good as the “chocolate” that is in Tootsie Rolls…but Simon likes them, so I’m not about to stop him any more than I would stop him from throwing away the center of the Tootsie Pops.)
It can be hard on the holidays to avoid dwelling on things that could be or “should” be instead of just accepting things that are. Because of how I grew up celebrating Easter, that’s how I want to teach Simon to celebrate it, but that’s not happening yet, and it may never happen. And that’s okay. He’s enjoying Easter in his own way, and while it may mean that the only Easter candy I get to raid is stuff that we buy for ourselves, that doesn’t mean that he’s missing out on anything. He’s not deprived of Easter goodies – he just wants something different than what I wanted, and even different than what a lot of other kids want. That doesn’t make it bad, and it doesn’t mean that it could or should be any other way. It’s the way that works for him, and for us, and while some day I may be able to write out clever clues and lead the way to a basket filled with fun toys and chocolate treats, maybe not.