A long time ago…
See that child? Hard to believe that’s me at age one year. This picture sat on my father’s dresser for as long as I can remember. I am wearing my Mother’s Easter dress which seems a bit ironic because we are Jewish. Nevertheless, the non-secular celebration of Easter was a tradition in my family and, when I think about it now, leaves me with warm feelings.
My dad loved participating in Christian holiday traditions. It must have given him great pleasure to hide Easter eggs for my sister and me to find and store in our baskets. My step-mother always made a point of buying Easter candy and ensuring that we had a basket to enjoy on Easter Sunday. Somehow she knew what types of candy I really enjoy. (Hint: Jelly beans and Cadbury Easter Eggs. No PEEPS!) Year after year, my father and step-mother boiled eggs in preparation for my visits to their house. (I lived with my mother for most of the month.) They bought the fake green grass and the candy. Hid the eggs after I finished decorating them and ensured that I could not get my Easter basket until all of the eggs were located. To perhaps put a spin on our Passover Seders, we always included those eggs in our celebration of the Jewish holiday.
Four years after my father passed away, I participated in an Easter egg hunt with my husband and my daughter on my best friends’ condo roof. Feeling gleeful as my daughter found her “treasures” (and we continued to take eggs out of her basket and re-hide them so the fun would last a long time) I finally understood why my father participated in the Easter egg hunt tradition. There is something so “precious” about seeing the joy on one’s child’s face when she discovers her eggs, the candy and finally a chocolate bunny.
My father passed away twelve years ago on April 11, 2000. It’s a bit ironic that he died around Easter. While we weren’t necessarily close and he wasn’t the easiest person to get to know, when I think of Easter, it is with fondness for my father. Easter was one of the few times that I truly felt close to him. I like to think that he would be happy knowing that K and I set aside a few hours to boil, dye and decorate a dozen eggs in preparation for the Easter egg hunt in our backyard.
This year, like the ones in the past, as I watch K search for her hidden candy and eggs, I know that I will also imagine my father standing next to me and perhaps smiling at the knowledge that I keep the tradition going for another generation.