Tag Archives: Easter

The Bunny’s Story

IMG_0240[1]

The Bunny’s Story

Four.

There are four of them . . . at once . . . in two different states.

Sure, I’m a supernatural figure with the ability to contort the space-time continuum in order to hit every single kid’s house in one night but you have to understand something. The wear and tear that has on a bunny is astronomical. Not to mention the singing the fur takes when you do it.

Luckily the oldest, off in another state in college, was okay with an early basket. Well…it was more of a box, but the candy and a present were in there. Some of it was Dad’s suggestion, sure, but there you have it.

I was most curious, though, to see what the three still living with the Dad were going to do. They, obviously, still have that inkling of belief in me. It’s a wonder to me how they still have it. Most of their friends and school mates likely don’t, which is a shame, really. Still…their Dad stopped believing far earlier but I still brought him baskets. He still has the Isaac Asimov book I gave him years ago sitting on the bookshelf in their living room. He’s even told the boys about it.

The ability to jump that continuum lets me peek in on select families here and there. I wanted to see how these guys were handling things. They’ve been without their mother for four years now, but this is the 5th Easter they’ve had without their mother. I know these things. Sure, I’m a bunny…but I’m a supernatural bunny. You have to get with the program and suspend some of that disbelief, you know.

That first of the five, that was a hard one. Dad’s parents were there and it made things so much easier on him. I don’t know if he’d have been able to handle things that year. Yet he did and with their help had an amazing Easter dinner and they visited the same relatives they are visiting this year.

But this year . . . I have to say, five Easters in as a new sort of family . . . what a difference the years make, no?

To begin with . . . I don’t know how the Dad does this. It was 4:30am . . . I hadn’t left that long before when the oldest of those twin boys got up.

IMG_4509[1]

I gave him that giant bunny. Couldn’t help myself, I have to admit. He saw it in a store and kept saying how soft it was. To give him credit, he waited until 5am to go into his Dad’s bedroom. It was a bit difficult to watch as just before I dropped off the candy and the little gifts (well, it’s a big bunny, but so am I!) the youngest twin had a nightmare. I sprinkled the idea in his head that Dad had just gone to bed (and he had) and he jumped in, shaking from his dream, and Dad rubbed his head. It was a nice touch.

Sad for Dad, then, that just a few hours later the brother woke him up. I had to cover my whiskers to not laugh.
“Can I get up, Dad?”
Dad was groggy as all get-out.
“What time is it?”
“5am.”
“NO! Good lord, give me at least another hour.”

That lasted 10 minutes. I used the time to hit some other houses in the Pacific before coming back to peek.

5:10am . . . “Dad . . . ”
The poor dad sighed his resignation.
“Fine…go on.”

That woke up the other son.

IMG_4510[1]

I gave him a bunny, too. Dad made cinnamon rolls, god bless him, even through the haze of exhaustion.  They’d already started climbing the walls from the cream eggs, jellybeans, peeps and chocolate bunnies I gave them. Had to keep with the theme, after all.

I thought Dad would be melancholy, tired as he was, and revisit Easters past. Instead, they trundled ahead, seizing the day as it were. They went outside while Dad had coffee, checking the grass they’d planted in the backyard.

By noon they’d grabbed flowers for their aunt’s mother-in-law (yeah…I’m a mythological bunny and even I had to think about that description a bit) and were over meeting their late mother’s sister by noon. They had an egg hunt and the twin boys, usually taking every egg they could find, followed behind a little girl and snuck their eggs into her basket. Not that they didn’t have ones of their own.

They ate well, hugged new friends and family . . . and played games.

IMG_4511[1]

I thought sure they were going to break an ankle on the 3-legged race. Instead, in the pouring rain, they laughed out loud when they fell, face-first into the grass. When it rained harder they danced in the rain instead of avoiding it.

I sprinkled another idea in the youngest twin’s head . . . “people should see your Dad. He’s exhausted and doesn’t care!”
“Dad . . . YOU need an Easter picture,” he said. Handing his brown bunny to his father the boy took his Dad’s phone and snapped a picture.

IMG_4516[1]

Bags under his eyes and all, by evening he was smiling, laughed all day, and even made them a full Easter dinner that they ate at the table. They listened to an old jazz record while they ate and it was there the topic of their mother came up.

But no tears were shed.

No . . . much to my own amazement – and in centuries of doing this very little amazes me now – they all laughed and smiled. They called the oldest who talked about her day and remembered Easter dinners in other states, too.

There was no sadness here. There was joy. There was hope.

For a bunny . . . particularly a supernatural mythological one . . . you hope that your gifts bring joy. I get the impression, though, that this day would have played out exactly the same way if I hadn’t visited their home.

That’s all a bunny can ask for, isn’t it?

Sincerely,

E. Aster Bunny.

Missing the Chaos

Our Easter Family Photo this year.

Easter in our house was never an easy holiday.  Never.  I’m not one to push my faith on anyone, and I’m not going to do it here, but being Catholic I do get frustrated when I go to church as often as I can only to break – or feel like breaking – several commandments in the parking lot of the church on two days out of the year: Christmas and Easter.  Those two days are when the holiday Catholics come out.  If you’re not that into the religion or the mass or the routine, why in God’s name do you come on those two days?  I mean, if you go and then it gives you something and brings you back more than twice a year, good on you.  Have at it.  If it doesn’t, I don’t get angry.  Faith, to me, is a very personal thing.  I struggle with it, almost daily now after losing my wife.  Particularly when my wife’s was so strong at the end of her life and then having her lost to us I have very personal and agonizing struggles with it I won’t go into here.

But back to Easter.  This year it went smoothly.  Way too smoothly.  Hannah, the middle girl, was forced to cut her hair, making it shorter and easier to deal with.  She fought every step of the way and now loves her haircut, loathe to admit that her Dad, the male testosterone generator might actually have been right about it.  Last night the girls went upstairs and Abbi, the oldest, started working on her hairdo and got most of it ready.  By morning, she simply had to finish curling it and let Hannah – the tomboy – *gasp* wear her dress!  It was cute, amazing and absolutely beautiful.

Where the hiccups started, I suppose, were that having four children of diverse ages make for masses and changes in scheduling you’re not aware of when you have two parents and shared burdens.  Four kids, two choirs, two masses: that was my schedule today on Easter Sunday.  The young kids in the Church at 9am, the oldest in the band in the 11:15am in the Social Center. Abbi tried telling me that I could stay home but there was no way, when she had a solo, I was going to stay home.  So four hours of church in one day with the same priest, same readings, same homily.  I’m quite holy, all you heathens, so I may as well find some water to walk on.  I left the 9am to come home and see Abbi still readying herself, much like her mother, who procrastinated every holiday, and saying she’s “almost ready.”

We made it, though late for her rehearsal, not late for the mass.  This was different for me and for the kids.  Being late isn’t something I liked, but we had a reputation for it.  Andrea was never on time.  When you’re young and dating it’s “fashionably late” but when you’re a parent and trying to get to Easter Sunday services it’s just plain late.  Andrea was always the perfectionist trying to make all four kids perfect.  When Abbi could do her hair she forced us to endure her and Abbi arguing over the hair.  Then Hannah, who hates anything to do with being a girl, had to scream, cry and force me to come up and supervise because she fought her mom tooth and nail.  By this point, Andrea would be a sweaty mess, unable to get ready and just getting in the shower.  As a result, I’d take the kids to the church for the hour rehearsal before mass and have to come back home, wait for my wife who refused to drive to the church, and then end up so late we were unable to get a seat – which my wife, who could have avoided it by being a bit more flexible – would complain about until the mass was over and her knees and my back were screaming in pain.

Today wasn’t close to that.  I had a seat with friends in the church for the 9am and heard the 3 kids sing and it made me smile.  My oldest sang two solos and it made my eyes misty.  At both masses I was asked by friends how many seats I was saving and it dawned on me, easy as it was to not have to save seats, that I was quite alone.  My kids were up there and I was the sole person out in the crowd.  It had gone smoothly.  No, none of us looked perfect, but even with their perfectionist mother, we never did.  I was just amazed we’d gotten dressed up and gotten there on time.,

But I missed her today, my wife.  I missed the chaos.  I missed being the white knight coming in to save her from the screaming child.  I missed secretly liking driving and getting a stolen 10 minutes in the car listening to my wife angrily tell me not to cuss at the insanely inept drivers who feel the need to back their SUV’s into the parking spaces rather than just pull in because it saves them 10 seconds on the way out of the church.  (and taking 2-3 spots at a pop!)  I realized that I felt that wound dripping and bleeding just a bit more.

A year ago I had two amazing parents with me to help me to get everyone ready and to be with me.  We were just a couple short weeks after losing Andrea and I cannot really say whether I remember much other than getting into the church for mass.  I remember the ache that I felt when I had to sit in the church again just a few weeks after being in there on one of the worst days I had ever experienced.  Today wasn’t the same.  I wasn’t aching as much, but I felt the emptiness.  I had been to the church, we went to one of Andrea’s aunt’s houses to have Easter festivities and lunch.  We played games, got wet with water balloons, and it was fun.  It just was fun in a different way.

As we were readying to get everyone ready for bed my oldest asked if I was OK.  I am sure she meant the pulled hamstring I got when playing football in the park with them, but I told her “I missed your Mom a lot today” and I realized after I’d said it that it wasn’t fair to her.  She certainly misses her Mom, maybe worse.  She’ll experience amazing things and need myriads of advice and no matter how or who tries to help her with those things it’s never coming.  I feel the hole and it’s not fair to let her know that, she needs me to be the man who feels it but endures.  She needs to know that no matter what happens I’ll be there, solid and sturdy.  It’s been more than a year and I still don’t have it right.  The house is a mess.  The laundry’s piled up.  The meals are random.  All the plans and ideas I’d instigated those first weeks have started to waver and I wish they hadn’t.

We’re feeling the chaos, but it’s not the chaos that ends in a sweeping pleasantry.  It’s plain chaotic.  With Andrea it was metered and measured.  We flew around in a flurry of activity and craziness but always ended up figuring it out in the end.  We always ended up together and able to face anything and I stood there holding her hand through the stressful points of the day.

Today I saw my kids and realized I could look to either side of me and the only person I could tell these things to was myself.  I knew it was the case, it’s not a surprise, but I found myself confused and surprised with the way I missed her today.  I just hand’t realized it was possible until this moment that I was missing the chaos.  Worse yet, I am sorry that I don’t know if I want to get it back.