This has been a hard winter. The coldest February on record for Chicago, late snow, and the usual stresses of growing up and growing older. My twins will be off to college next fall. They have wonderful choices but not maybe the choices that they anticipated. It will all be good. And today I planted peas.
This week the girls will begin more closely checking out schools that they have been accepted at, and we will celebrate the convergence of the spring food holidays: Passover and Easter. As a lapsed Catholic married to a non-religious Jew, food holidays are things we can all agree on. And though I refuse to serve gefilte fish on Friday, we do love haroset and matzoh and five cups of wine. Over the past twenty plus years we have created our own haggadah, and we gather as many non-Jews to the table as Jews. This year we will light sabbath lights as well as memorial candles for loved ones gone before us. And we will have salmon for the Catholics because it is also Good Friday – a reminder that Jesus hurried home on Thursday to celebrate Passover with his disciples.
Sunday will bring the egg hunt and ham feed. Our ham is from an Iowa farm, and I will fill baskets with eggs and Peeps and hide chocolate in the living room in all the usual places.
But this year is most likely the last that I will have all the girls here for Easter. And I don’t really have a story that we tell, like the haggadah, on Easter. My husband and I went to hear St. John’s Passion by Bach at the Chicago Bach Project, and with super titles he was able to read the story as it went along – those Romans, really? They stabbed him after he was dead? They gave him vinegar to drink? seriously….
I was reminded of the one Easter book that I loved as a girl and loved to read to my girls: The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes by DuBose Heyward – the story of a little brown girl bunny who wants to be the Easter Bunny but is told by all the white bunnies in the big houses and the boy bunnies with long legs to go home and have the family. Which she does – but she also gets to be the Easter Bunny. And so I hope that my girls take away the heart of that story – that girl bunnies can do what they want to do, and that they shouldn’t take no for an answer. For a book written in the 30’s its message is pretty modern.
So to all my girls as they go forth into the world: be the bravest most resourceful bunnies you know how to be. It’s all you can ask of yourself.
“I therefore…beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” (King James, Ephesians 4:1)