Easter this year was shaping up to be bright and warm and cheerful but true to Easter weekends of memory Sunday it rained. Still Easter Sunday has been warm and cheerful despite the rain. Very different from most Easter weekends I remember. I've never found Easter memorable here it’s always been a bit heavy and dull. While I was charging around the house on Saturday morning, trying to do housework around the family I was reflecting on why Easter holds little meaning to me now. Just to clarify I am not talking from a religious perspective but merely from my own human perspective.
I think now that I can look back with no emotion I realise that our first Easter here was rather horrid. Though physically we had moved countries and into our new home and for the Mauritian a new job, emotionally we were still way behind. We were lonely that Easter, it was cold, raining and damp. We were very unprepared for how cold it would be, we were expecting to be cold we just had no idea how cold. We didn’t have a lot of money spare that year so we weren’t even sure we could afford to buy Easter eggs for the Butterfly. I remember telling the Mauritian that it didn’t matter; she was still so young she wouldn’t really understand anyway. I also remember feeling so guilty for saying that too. We did eventually manage to buy a few small chocolates and hide them on the veranda. There we were, wrapped in layers against the early morning cold braving the pouring freezing rain while our precious Butterfly charged up and down finding little treasures and wanting to open and eat them all at once. She was in her element, I felt terrible!
I remember so many Easter weekends surrounded by cousins and Aunts and Uncles. Everyone talking and laughing at once lots of business all round. I remember been dragged off to so many church services and having to be quiet and well behaved for so much longer than usual. I remember charging around the garden with my cousins as we all competed to see who could collect the most chocolates. I remember after all that hard work having to beg a chocolate from my mum for the rest of the holiday. Such blessed happy memories even with the grey clouds rain and cool mornings. Now as I watched my child get stuck into her first Easter “egg” hunt I felt terrible that she was all on her own. I was beginning to think perhaps we had be too hasty in our decision to move, my doubts were as black as the skies that Sunday. We curled up on the couch under a duvet drinking cup after cup of tea and just watched the Butterfly flutter about playing without a care in the world oblivious to the turmoil going on within us.
The following year we were in the final steps towards permanent residency and because of the cost still a little strapped for cash that Easter. In a stroke of genius, or so I thought, I decided to make the Easter chocolates that year. That morning was again grey and cold but at least this time it wasn't raining and the hunt took place in the front yard. But the magic had gone out of Easter for me there was still so much guilt about the Butterfly doing a solo egg hunt.
The past two years it’s been up to the Mauritian. I felt no interest or anticipation for Easter, for me it was just another cold, dark, wet day with memories I didn’t want to keep. The Mauritian complained bitterly about the rain while he tip toed around the house hiding chocolates. The Butterfly squealed with delight at the thought of a rabbit hopping about the house hiding Easter eggs while she was sleeping. I was grateful for the distraction of the Lollipop last year I was too busy with her to stop and worry about what my Butterfly was missing.
What a difference a year makes! Suddenly Easter’s magic has returned. Thanks to the security that comes with the realisation that our choice to move was the right one. Thanks to the companionship of new and close friends. Thanks to warm blue skies and bird song. Winter is taking her time leaving the north so summer is holding on here a while longer so this year Easter has been warm and bright despite the compulsory Easter Sunday rain. In the early morning dark, the Mauritian and I ran about the back yard hiding chocolates anticipating the look of our children’s faces. When the time came the Butterfly took the Lollipop by the hand and off they went on an egg hunt. How lovely it was to watch them tearing about the garden finding treasures everywhere. For the Lollipop it was pure magic, she still pops out into the garden to check if something else has magically appeared. This afternoon we joined friends for a lunch time barbeque. This couple have no children of their own but the house was filled to bursting with their nieces and nephews and children of the other guests. The Butterfly was delighted, especially as there was a classmate of hers there too. Even the Lollipop was easily detached from my leg and swept along by the rampage that only children can make. Come to think about it, for the first time since our arrival in our corner of World’s end we were at a barbeque where we knew everyone. No introductions required! But I digress, after lunch today the kids were told that there was another egg hunt to be had. Off they went tripping and falling over each other to find the huge quantity of chocolates that had been hidden around the house. The Lollipop was not left out and even though she found some herself the other children happily past on one or two of their finds to her, she had quite a stash at the end. The noise level was great with every child speaking or shouting at once, the adults just sat in the dining room leaving the children to their own devices! No worries cos that’s just how we roll!
Today I said goodbye to my Easter guilt as it dissipated with the squeals and yells of children having fun together. While the adults cooked and cleaned laughed and talked, storing new memories safely away. My how the times have changed!
The stubborn summer sun is slowly setting on this peaceful Easter Sunday evening. Neil Diamond is softly serenading “Holly Holy” the Mauritian is dozing on the couch. Our sweaty chocolate covered daughters are splashing quietly in the bath before bed. And here I am once again reflecting on what was another perfect day and feeling just a little sentimental.