Why? Because even though I’d been patting myself on the back Saturday evening – I’d picked up a few dollar items from Target days earlier in order to make modest Easter baskets for both Lily and Neve – the girls awoke on Sunday morning, and after seeing the baskets, Lily excitedly said, “We have to find the eggs the Easter Bunny hid!”
A stomach-plummeting, “oh, sh*t” parenting moment, to say the least.
“Uh, I don’t know,” I said, looking across the kitchen at Joe, who grimaced. “I don’t think I’ve seen any eggs this morning. Maybe the Easter Bunny hasn’t had the chance to hide eggs here yet. He’s got lots and lots of baskets to deliver.”
Lily looked puzzled, and I understood why. Not the best quick-on-your-feet explanation, Mom.
But because we’re an interfaith family, we’d just celebrated Passover with Joe’s family; plus, we’d learned Saturday morning that Joe’s 96 year old grandmother had died in the night; and while in previous years, we’ve gone to Joe’s sister’s place (home to another interfaith family) for an outdoor egg hunt at midday, Lily’s only four years old, so I thought she wouldn’t necessarily remember this.
And I don’t think she did. Instead, what I think what happened was that Lily’s preschool likely class read stories about the Easter Bunny – they may have even had an egg hunt in her class, for all I know – and this built up an expectation in her mind that I wasn’t exposed to. (A recent viral blog post about how out-of-control some of the more minor holiday celebrations have gotten is definitely worth a read.)
So on Sunday, when Joe went grocery shopping with Neve, he picked up a pack of plastic eggs and some Easter candy. But after we got the kids to bed, and did all the things that needed to get done, we dragged ourselves into bed, at which point I said, “Crap. We didn’t do the eggs.”
“Just do them tomorrow, before picking up the kids,” said Joe, yawning.
I felt guilty, thinking Lily might wake up disappointed again, but I couldn’t muster the energy to get up, go out to Joe’s car to get the eggs and candy out, assemble them, and hide them with a flashlight. I just didn’t have it in me.
And sure enough, Lily woke Monday morning and asked, “Can we look for eggs?”
While silently lashing myself as the world’s worst, childhood-joy-killing mother, I again mumbled through excuses, assuming the role of apologist for the world’s most deadbeat Easter Bunny.
“No, I don’t think he’s come yet. But I’m pretty sure he’ll come today. He’s just got a lot of places to go, so he must be running late.”
That’s ME AND DADDY, I thought as I said this. We’re the ones with too much to do and not enough time. And my gentle excuses to Lily started to assume a defensive tone.
“The Easter Bunny tries his very best, but we have to be patient.”
I pictured Lily going to preschool and talking with her classmates, who would all tell her that THEY’D had eggs to find.
In parenting, it’s inevitable that things sometimes fall through the cracks. Hell, two of my nieces had celebrated their birthday weeks earlier, and I’d JUST gotten their cards and gifts into the mail. Lately, I’ve begun to feel this perpetual sense of breathlessness – like both Joe and I are hanging on by our fingernails, both professionally and personally, every hour of every day. I’m not one who, by nature, rushes to cut corners, and yet I find myself doing nothing but lately, just to stay afloat and make sure everyone’s taken care of. So I have to keep forgiving myself and cut myself some slack, since the best I can do is, in fact, the best I can do.
Which is why, after work on Monday, when Easter was already becoming a thing of the past, I rushed around placing bright green, pink, purple, blue and yellow eggs around the yard.
Once Lily spotted one on the walk home, she excitedly gathered them, and then said, “The Easter Bunny didn’t hide them very much.”
I rolled my eyes. Really? Now we’re disappointed that the hunt wasn’t more difficult? Come on. Let’s give the overworked Easter Bunny a little bit of a break.
“Did you have fun finding them?” I asked. “Even if it was easy?
“Well, I think that’s what the Easter Bunny is going for.”
Indeed. I have it on good authority. The Easter Bunny and I are tight like that.