Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. And I'm down to the wire. This morning, my two-year-old daughter and I sat in the window seat of our kitchen watching delivery men zoom by on the street below, listening to the rain pound the air conditioner. As I chugged my second cup of coffee and she munched Special K Protein straight from the box, it occurred to me that I haven't yet given her the straight story about this holiday.
Sure, I have brought home little bags of brightly colored beans (nota beane: these are fabulous for those making a foray into the wild world of potty-training). Thanks to my loyal friends Dora and Diego and Spongebob and Wubzy (you get the picture), I think she has vague visions of pastel eggs and bunnies and baskets. I have given her tiny toy chicks that were almost immediately victimized by our otherwise very gentle cats (we found one poor chick drenched and drowning in the cats' water fountain; yes our cats have a self-refreshing automized water fountain - judge away). But I have no bonnets. No Easter dresses. No trips to church planned. Too bad if only for the missed photo op; I recall vividly snapshots of me and my four sisters in full Easter regalia -- poufy dresses and big hats, eyes squinting in the sun. We looked quite Amish. (If you are Amish and offended by this, I'm not too worried. You are on the Internet after all.)
But what is the straight story it is my duty as parent to tell? Because this, my friends, is how it went down: "Do you want me to tell you about Easter?" "No." "Well, today we are going to color some eggs and draw on them with crayons. And then in the middle of the night a bunny, a big bunny, the Easter Bunny will come (raised eyebrows) and he is going to hide all those eggs and candies. And then in the morning you will find all of these eggs and treats and put them in a basket. Do you want to do that?" To which my toddler replied, "Yeah." (Don't worry, I'm working on changing that to the more proper "yes.")
And for a fleeting moment, part of me thought: here begins one of those big lovely lies that my husband and I will perpetuate over the years. And this made me happy. I've missed Santa and the Bunny and even that enigmatic Tooth Fairy. But part of me had a more serious thought: Easter is not about chicks and chocolate eggs. And though I am not super religious, there is an important religious and historical story to this week, to this day. At some point my daughter (and her little sister, but she is only six months and we will worry about the crawling part before the religious education part) needs to know that story, but when? When are we moms (and dads) supposed to start telling these stories?
At what point should my girls know that Easter is more about Jesus than jellybeans?