I woke up this Easter Sunday thinking of my mother and how much she loved to celebrate every holiday. When Easter came around, some how, some way, she found a way to get a new Easter outfit for me to wear to Sunday School, and I would wake up to a wonderful Easter Basket filled with candy and a stuffed bunny. I still don’t know how she did it all year after year, when money was always so tight.
Before Easter Sunday, though, came the tradition of coloring the eggs. She would boil them and then set the steaming eggs on a towel to dry, and then set out five coffee cups. Into each cup she poured water, followed by some vinegar and a few drops of food coloring- red, blue, yellow, green, and orange. She let me take the silver tongs and carefully dip each egg into my choice of color. I loved the blue eggs the best, though it was fun to double dye some of the eggs to create other colors. It was magical to me, but the best was yet to come.
After Sunday School came the Easter Egg hunt in our backyard. Mom went out and hid the eggs, and then I got to go search for them. Inevitably, one egg would not be found, forgotten by Mom…until we noticed a horrible smell emanating from the clothes pin bag or some other innocuous hiding spot. There is nothing like the smell of a rotten egg. Nothing. After we recovered from the olfactory assault, we would laugh ourselves silly. It was all part of the ritual. I am still amazed at the trouble she went to every single holiday when it was just the two of us. She didn’t have to do it, but she did. What a gift.
As I walked into Wayne and John’s beautiful home for Easter dinner this afternoon, I felt the tug on my heart remembering Mom’s last Easter there. They were Mom’s dear friends and are like brothers to us. They teased Mom ruthlessly…and she loved every minute of it, always so excited to look at all of the wonderful decorations and collectibles around their home. That Easter was different, though, and Mom knew it would be her last- she told me. She was in so much pain, but still made every effort to dress up and put a smile on her face. How can I every repay this woman for the great lengths she went to to give me a childhood filled with wonderful memories, with laughter and love, for always believing in me? All I know to do is to keep her stories alive, and to do my best to follow her example…a tough act to follow, for sure.