When I think of Easter, I remember being a kid and getting a small egg from the Easter Bunny. I wasn’t allowed to eat the egg that morning, because we had to quickly eat breakfast before heading down to my Nana and Pop’s house.
Of course, I don’t remember how huge the traffic was, nor how annoyed my parents were at having to sit in all the traffic all the way – or hear them complain about how they only had a bit of time off work and they had to spend it driving. Maybe they didn’t – because that was how much we loved our family gatherings.
We would pull up outside Nana’a house, and there she would be with a massive smile and an egg basket, because the Easter Bunny had left the eggs for the hunt at her house. My brother, cousins and I would madly hunt for the eggs and try to sneak a few in before we had to sit down and share them out equally. Then we would go inside, talk, play and eat chocolate before having lunch in the cramped back room – but we didn’t even care about that.
After lunch we had a traditional Uno competition. When Uno Attack came out, all bets were off! I remember the laughing, the full stomach, and the familiarity of it all.
About ten years ago, possibly more, my Mum and brother had a massive fight – of which I feel partially responsible for sometimes – and that was really the beginning of the end of our family gatherings. Slowly, as tensions seeped into each birthday or Christmas where my brother wasn’t there and my Mum was silently blamed for not doing anything to fix it, we stopped wanting to spend as much time with each other.
It became a thing to turn up an hour before lunch and leave straight after. Uno was never brought out anymore.
I held on tight as much as I could, and when the day came that I realised that all our family gatherings were over, I was devastated.
Pop had died, and Nana moved so far away that no one could justify a drive for just a lunch. My Mum and her sister don’t have the type of relationship where they could still organise something between themselves, and I didn’t have a house big enough to accommodate everyone. And I didn’t think anyone would come anyway.
Today, I’m sitting here thinking about the memories my children will have of Easter. My partner is overseas and will only get home the night before the Easter Bunny makes an appearance. We have no plans to see either of our parents on Easter Sunday, we aren’t religious, my brother may stop by, a friend who doesn’t have her children on Easter may pop in too.
They will have a very different memory to mine, and I feel like it’s less because of the lack of family involvement. I can’t change it because I’ve tried and failed at that before. All I can do is make the day special in our own way. We add chocolate to our breakfast, we get ready for a small gathering of whoever happens to arrive, and we have fun with the people that are here. We will all be happy to see my partner after a long week with him away, that will get wrapped up in the day too.
Family is a strange beast, and as I’ve gotten older I understand why there are so many family drama shows, movies and books made. There is no road map to how to deal with family, or how to behave when all of a sudden it doesn’t work. Those shows, movies and books provide at least some type of comfort that all families seem to have drama associated to them.
I really cherish my memories of Easter, and I’m so sad that I won’t be packing my children into a car Sunday morning to battle traffic. Because I would love to be taking them out to a big family gathering like the ones I remember.
Happy Easter, I guess.