Once upon a time, I foolishly believed that with time came answers. That the years would pile up, one by one, and that I'd know more, understand more, have a clearer picture of self and world.
Today is Good Friday. It is also a plain old good Friday. Because I am with my girls. Nanny has the day off. And the girls and I have had quite the morning. We ventured out bright and early to grab breakfast. I noshed on hard boiled eggs while the girls enjoyed chocolate covered bunny cookies. (Exhibit A of my Parental Perfection.) At the restaurant, we sat there, the three of us, laughing and being very silly, getting covered in melting chocolate.
And then we headed to the Apple Store to rescue this very Laptop. Sadly, I learned that in the course of my ferocious blogging, I have permanently damaged my trackpad. So sad. While I was learning the fate of my beleaguered computer, the girls ran wild around the store, yanking on display iPhones and hammering away on display keyboards. I was the recipient of abundant dirty looks. (Exhibit B of my Parental Perfection.)
Then we went to the playground where the girls threw sand at each other and at me before I decided it was time to head home. Both of them cried for the entire walk back. I promised them candy if they would stop. (Exhibit C of the same.) They didn't stop.
And now we are home. (Thankfully.) Baby is napping. (Thankfully.) Toddler is quiet for the moment (thankfully) as she zones out watching Imagination Movers while I type these words. (Yup, Exhibit D.) And even though I am exhausted and frustrated and a smidge overwhelmed, I am grateful for this day. For this ordinary and extraordinary day. For this Good Friday. For this good Friday.
Yes, there is a but. Because that is life. And that is me. I sit here, next to my beautiful big girl, realizing that my mind is muddied with many of the same questions I had last year at this time. Questions about religion. About what I should - or should not - be telling my little creatures about Easter (or any religious holiday). Last year around this time, I wrote:
Tomorrow is Easter Sunday. And Im 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 havent 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, Im 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. (Dont worry, Im 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. Ive 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?
I read these words of latter day and smile. Because one year later, I am the same Me. My kids are older and wiser and up to new and delightful Mommy-maddening tricks. But here I am. Fumbling with familiar grays. Stumbling through the same wilderness of questions. Tapping on the same keyboard, now ailing from loyal use, asking away.
Here I am. Wrapped in another fleeting moment. Smiling at the passage of another good year. And at the advent of another Good Friday.
- In your estimation, when is the appropriate time to tell our kids the more in-depth religious aspects of holidays?
- When did your parents tell you the straight story about your religion and its holidays?
- Are you more or less religious than you were as a child?
- How important is religion in your adult life?
- In your view, what is the difference (if any) between religion and faith?
- Do you feel like you know more or less than you did this time last year?
- Do your kids totally run the show too or am I just an exceptional pushover?