My son turns 4 later this week. I think it’s pretty normal to go through some soul searching when you become a parent, and that has definitely been the case for my husband and I. We want to do right by the next generation, and that means doing our own unlearning, learning, and healing some trauma.
Since he was born, we haven’t really celebrated Easter. I’ll get into faith on a different day, but religious holidays were just the beginning. Being an Air Force family, we don’t get to be with our loved ones for Thanksgiving. Which then sort of begged the question… are we really going to make ourselves a huge feast in honor of a holiday that is considered a day of mourning amongst Indigenous peoples? And 4th of July. During the era of the 45th president, it felt a little strange to feel patriotic, which then opened our eyes to the conflicting feelings of the 4th of July by people who have been oppressed in this country.
Of course, now that my son is in pre-school, he does sort of celebrate these holidays. At the very least, he partakes in activities themed around these holidays, and he is very aware that people are celebrating and things are happening. And I actually believe in the beauty of tradition and rituals (as long as they’re safe and not harming anyone). I’m still trying to figure out what to do about these holidays, but I’ll take them one at a time. So here we are, at Easter.
I think in a way, my husband and I were waiting to decide about Easter until we had arrived at a belief or a decision. But of course, what we’re trying to get away from is the rigid certainty. Instead of running from Easter, I decided we should embrace it, and find a way to celebrate that feels good to us. The Easter bunny will be paying a visit, indeed.
Resurrection and rebirth are the major themes of Easter. Leaning into these themes, here’s what we’re trying this year: the Easter bunny is going to bring my son some stuff for our garden. In addition to an egg hunt, we’ll spend the day gardening and picking up trash around the lake near our house. Yes, there’s also some candy in his basket, and a few little toys and things for the bath. There’s also a book, What’s God Like by the late Rachel Held Evans. This book is full of beautiful metaphors from multiple religious perspectives. We’re trying to focus on the beauty of growth and rebirth.
This stuff is tricky. But the point is, through trial and error, and being authentic to what we believe, we’re going to figure out what works for us.