An Easter Story

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When we were growing up, my brother and I never got Easter baskets. Easter meant going to church and getting new Easter clothes. Our parents (actually, we just blame Mom–sorry, Mom) wanted to instill in us that Easter was not about rabbits or chocolate eggs, but rather about the resurrection of Jesus. We understood that–years of Sunday School had indoctrinated us–but we just wanted a dang Easter basket. Or maybe one chocolate bunny. Or (shudder) a little row of marshmallow Peeps. But year after year went by, and there were no plastic or Cadbury’s eggs and no chocolate rabbits. The worst question we could be asked at Sunday school was, “What did the Easter Bunny bring?”

Fast forward to the day that my dad was driving me to college to move into my dorm. Dad and I were close, and on the eight hour trip, we had a lot of time to talk. One of the subjects that came up was the Easter basket dilemma. I let Dad know that it was a great disappointment of my childhood that I never got an Easter basket–I’m embarrassed by that conversation now. Dad must have rolled his eyes and lamented that he and Mom had raised such an ungrateful child. 

Fast forward a few more months. When Easter weekend rolled around that spring, I went to my grandmother’s house. It wasn’t spring break, home was too far away for a quick visit, and Grandmother lived close by. And as an added benefit, she spoiled me rotten. When I woke up at her house on Easter morning, at the foot of my bed was the biggest, gaudiest Easter basket I had ever seen, complete with a chocolate bunny, multiple Easter eggs, and yes, the much-maligned yellow Peeps. I assumed that the basket was a gift from my grandmother or my aunt, but when I opened the card, it was signed, “Hopefully, this will make up for the Easter baskets you missed. Happy Easter! Love, Mom and Dad.” I cried. And they weren’t tears of joy. They were tears of shame and remorse for the petty gripe I had made to my dad. One thing I knew for sure was that my parents loved me unconditionally, and their Easter basket was a sincere gesture and not an attempt to make me feel guilty (even if it did).

Before you ask, yes, I did give my son an Easter basket every year when he was growing up. This year, he’ll receive his 28th Easter basket, complete with marshmallow Peeps.

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