Sunday, April 4, 2010

clean closets, new shoes.

That is what we got for Easter.

We don't really celebrate the holiday. English friends still ask "What are you doing for Easter?", and I always remind them that it isn't actually a holiday over here. No time off work, no ski break, no James Bond on TV, no great big chocolate eggs.

It is recognized of course, it comes after St Patricks day and before Memorial day in Target. The green banners get taken down and the yellow ones go up. The shelves fill with plastic eggs to be filled with candy (or cheerios at our preschool) and that icon of fake food, the 'marshmallow peep', so yellow that its hard to imagine its ingredients are still legal. Bizzare looking Easter Bunnies pop up in shopping malls. But it isn't a national holiday of the significance that it holds in Europe.

In the years between leaving my Catholic home and having kids of my own, Easter has passed by completely unnoticed. Now the requests for hard boiled eggs to dye and the paper bunny ear constructions that come home from preschool tune me in to its arrival. I'm not all that keen on secular Easter as a celebration though, and I was trying to figure out why. After all our athiesm doesn't stop us from enjoying that other Christian holiday, Christmas. But Christmas was always more about the food, traditions and presents than the religious part, even at home.

Easter is a different kettle of fish. In a Catholic household, Easter is about Jesus. There is a lot of church; Palm Sunday, complete with palms to swordfight with, Holy Thursday with its strange foot washing ritual. The drama of Good Friday, when the congragation are allowed to join in with the Gospel and shout out "Crucify him" to the reader playing Pontius Pilate (both audience and reader rather uncomfortable with their roles, it always seemed to me). Then the mysticsm of the Easter Vigil with its candles and beautiful Latin intonations, followed by the Allellulia's of Easter Sunday itself. The chocolate eggs, though much anticipated, and  fondly remembered; those big hollow eggs with their treasure trove of chocolates inside, the perfect thickness to melt slowly in your mouth as you watched "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" or "The Sound of Music" for the tenth time, were only a small part of the whole Easter experience.

Easter to me is a reminder that people who want to change the world, who have ideas that scare the establishment, get cut down, tortured and killed. I guess the Good Friday part of the Easter story is what has stuck with me. It is the most believable part, after all.

But a spirit of Spring did permeate the Geekyfamily this weekend. We took our biannual trip to Nordstroms for summer sandals. Geekygirl chose exactly the same sandals as she had last year, just in a different design. Is this brand loyalty already, at such an early age? This is the shoe that comes with a lip gloss and eye shadow kit, for four year olds! The sales assistant asked us, out of earshot of Geekygirl, if we wanted this little bagatelle.

It was nice of her to ask, since I expect some parents balk at giving make up to their preschoolers. I'm not one of them though. Make up is something that mummy has, like a purse, a car and a job, so playing with it is just that, pretend play. If I'm going to start moaning about gender stereotyping it would be to complain that they don't sell boys shoes with glittery adornments. Geekyboy was quite disappointed with his shoes, despite their nice green stripes. Of course if I was ready to put my money where my mouth is I would have bought him pink glittery ones too, but I wasn't quite ready to do that, somehow! What about you, if you have preschool aged daughters do you let them play with make up?

Undoubtedly since we had just bought brand new sandals, on Sunday the heavens opened and we were stuck indoors all day, managing  only a brief hunt around the garden for some candy filled eggs and the jewels in the crown, two cadbury creme eggs. These treasures from home are imported to the US every year, and I could not resist!

Doing the usual weekend laundry marathon, the frustration of not being able to close several of my dresser drawers, and the necessity of being house bound by the torrential rain, sent us on a cleaning frenzy. Ancient clothes were thown out ( after being dressed up in by the kids of course), and the medicine/juck cabinet was razed.

I found a chronological history of the past five years in there. An old oil lamp, silver cleaning cloths (from the days when I had time to clean silver teaspoons!), a collection of toiletries from fancy hotels, condoms, a diaphram, scented candles, ovulation predictor kits, pregnancy tests, prenatal vitamins, indigestion remedies, post partum painkillers, lanolin nipple ointment, breast pads, bits of breast pump, diaper rash cream, disposable potty liners, and oddly a whole set of hair rollers I don't recall ever having purchased. The items flashed past me into the recycling bins like a movie montage as I delved deeper into the shelves.

So we ended up having quite a traditional Easter after all. We threw away the old and made way for the new. I even resurrected a couple of nice shirts that I had completely forgotten I owned.