Easter was yesterday. Growing up with an Italian Catholic mom and a Jewish Dad who both gave up their religions when they married, in a town where everybody was Catholic and if you wanted to play on Sunday’s you went to church, Easter in our house was defined by my dad selling Easter Flowers at his antique store and gargantuan Easter baskets stuffed full of candy with dollar bills hidden in the fake grass and a dinner that always featured ham, but no religion. We didn’t attend church, much to my disappointment, because who didn’t want a fancy new Easter outfit, shiny mary janes and the best part of all, an Easter bonnet. “Can’t we just be Catholic today?” I’d think. (Yup, I’ve always been about the clothes and my mom did indulge me when I was young, in fact, I remember a certain wide-brimmed Easter bonnet, all white with a classic blue ribbon hanging down my back like I wore it this morning).
What I took with me to my adulthood, was an Easter that coincided with Spring, that season of hope and rebirth, and so for my kids, who also grew up without formal religion, Easter was about the same big baskets, but along with the candy, there’d small presents, like a Christmas stocking and gift certificates. And the celebration part was more in line with the newness of the season, the beauty and optimism so synonymous with Spring, and oh yeah, ham.
As time has passed, it still is Spring I celebrate on Easter, but it now weighs on me more heavily, that chance to begin again. I mean that rebirth theme is a powerful one. Because who doesn’t want to do better, or know they can change course–that it is never too late?
Gratitude lies in the Easter/Spring message that you can move forward on a better path on any day, get a do-over, start fresh. Yes, Spring is like a shiny new bike, ready to take you where you want to go, as long as you’re ready to paddle your ass off.