Easter Sunday is next week, reminding me of the many Easters I’ve spent dyeing eggs with the kids. I’d spend hours getting ready for the event; boiling eggs, gathering cups and preparing the dye. But the most time-consuming of all was covering the kitchen table with newspaper in the event that a cup of dye spilled.
Oh, who am I kidding? There was never a question of whether or not a cup would spill. It was just a matter of time.
At first, I just covered the kitchen table, but after the second or third cup of dye hit the floor, it, too, got covered. Inevitably, as soon as the kids enter the kitchen, the newspaper that I just spent 20 minutes covering all surfaces within a 10-foot radius, gets strewn everywhere but where I had put it.
I started using tape to keep the newspaper down. I was especially diligent about taping it to the floor after I got doused with a cup of dye while crawling on the floor, replacing scattered newspaper. I now own an outfit solely for dyeing eggs.
Now that my kids are teens, I thought for sure they would tire of coloring eggs. They have not. And I’m sorry to report that even though they’re older, there is still going to be a dumped cup of dye somewhere. My days of papering the kitchen are not behind me as I had hoped.
However, they’ve begun to get more elaborate in their egg decorating. Through the last few years, I’ve been instructed to purchase kits that are supposed tie-dye them, make them look like marble or cover them with glitter. They also enjoy writing in wax pen on the eggs. Sometimes, they’d put appropriate things like crosses or their names. However, I’ve stumbled upon more than one egg that had written across it things like, “I would have liked to have seen Paris before I dyed. Signed, the Egg.”
They also expect treat-filled baskets, not for any sentimental purpose but because they’re kids. Getting free candy and gifts is not something they give up easily. You’d have better luck getting an elephant into a Smart car, handing it the keys and asking it to pick up the Easter Bunny.
As you’d imagine, however, the trinkets that find their way into the baskets have gotten smaller, while the price tag has gotten larger. Most of them require batteries as well and now cost almost as much as a Smart car.
When they were little, I bought huge baskets because they had to hold large stuffed animals or character dolls. I, whoops, the Easter Bunny, stuffed a singing Ariel (from Disney’s “Little Mermaid,”) large Little Foot dinosaurs, and Cookie Monsters inside the baskets. There was also Power Ranger action figures, a roaring “Simba” from “Lion King,” and a giant blue genie from “Aladdin” in the baskets at one time or another. I purchased them happily, until the day Elyse discovered a large purple dinosaur.
My three-year nightmare began and his name was Barney.
While the overacting was perfect for children, parents were banging our heads against the wall. And the songs. Oh the songs. Matt and I took to substituting our own words for the theme song, “I Love You, You Love Me.” They’re not suitable to write in this column.
That being said, I’ll admit that the show is full of qualities such as teaching children to share, how to settle an argument using words and other such teaching principles that parents everywhere want their children to learn. Sometimes parents have to bite the bullet and take one for the team.
So, I bought a singing purple dinosaur and let Easter Bunny put him in Elyse’s basket. They make a new stuffed Barney every year and the big Bunny kept jamming the oversized beast into her basket. Thankfully, she grew out of it but the timing couldn’t have been worse. It was the day after we bought her an expensive interactive Barney doll that she held once, then tossed into her toy box.
Of course, there was always an accompanying video to go with each character. And the kids wanted them every bit as much as they wanted the doll.
I don’t know who loved the videos more, though – the kids or me. I loved to watch as the kids would clutch their beloved character while they watched the movie for the hundredth time. I believe that seeing their little faces reflect the emotion on the screen, or listen as they sang along to every song is a gift that parents everywhere treasure. In fact, whenever a new Disney movie came out, we’d take the kids. But I never saw it. I was too busy watching my babies’ faces in the dark instead. And I don’t know whose heart broke more when the sad part came, them as they cried, or me as I held their hand. Those are memories that you cherish for the rest of your life - even the tears.
This year, as we decorate eggs, I’m going to remember when they were little, and keep those memories close to my heart forever. But I’m also going to tuck the new memories made with my teens into my mental scrapbook, and keep them as treasured as the memories we made years ago. This time, too, will pass quickly.
Besides, how many more times in my life will I run across Easter eggs that say, “Eat beef, not chicken!” or “$500 reward for E. Bunny – see Chicken Little.”
Happy Easter! And to my Jewish friends, may you have a Happy Passover and a blessed Seder.