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A pick and choose Easter

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

A pick and choose Easter

One of the coolest and most exciting and yet most difficult things about growing up and getting married and having kids is that you are no longer bound by the traditons  and beliefs of your parents but instead have the opportunity and responsibility to form your own way of doing things with your new little family. That is a mammoth sentence that I should have separated into a few, but I think that's the best way I can word it.

It's at times of religious and other holidays that we mummies and daddies come to this realisation: we can set the rules now! We can let go of the hangups of generations before us or we can make them our own. We have the freedom to teach our kids what we want and to be as liberal or as strict as we feel is right. We also have the responsibility to shape the young minds entrusted to us. We have to decide what is appropriate to tell them and when, what activities it is appropriate for them to participate in and when.

Last Easter Alexis was so young that she didn't even really get a look in.  We did our normal family Easter of the years before. Well sort of. Good Friday was my sisters birthday so we celebrated her birthday as well. We didn't head to church, we just all had a lunch at my parents house. Dad was away, he was at some brass band competition.

Dad has been at one of those for Easter for as long as I can remember. If it was in Brisbane we would go and watch. On Good Friday they would only play hymns. I loved listening to the old hymns played by a brass band as intended and the music would bring to life the message of Gods majesty and power and love far better than any church service with all the modern gadgets. In my opinion. Probably because its what I grew up with. 

On the years that dad was away we had extra traditions: we would sneak Easter eggs into his suitcase before he left, and we would keep the phone near us waiting for news on if his band won or not. They usually did. The competition spread until Sunday, sometimes Monday, but there was a winner at the end of each day for that day's pieces. Easter with just mum and us girls was usually fairly quiet.

Sometimes mum would take us to church with our grandparents. Whether we enjoyed it or not depended on what particular church they went to at the time. They tended to move around a bit. Some years were inspiring. Some years were creepy. One particular Good Friday service we weren't allowed to speak from the moment we got there until we were in the car on the way home. We had to be solemn and reflective and stare at this huge gigantic cross erected in the church ground. We weren't even allowed to sing, which disappointed my sister and I because singing was pretty much the only part of church we liked. We cracked up laughing as soon as we got in the car. We couldn't help it!

My family had a few traditions with regards to food. We would only eat hot cross buns on and after Good Friday, not before. The shops stop selling them on the Thursday before Easter, so mum would freeze multiple bags. She would heat them on the grill and we would eat them with jam and cream. Yum! We would never think of getting anything other than the traditional fruit buns. I don't know if it was a religious thing or just that they were just really expensive and mum and dad were really busy up until Good Friday so they didn't have time to grill them. In my mind the traditional fruit hot cross buns grilled are the yummiest.

Easter Sunday usually involved bacon and eggs, church, and exchange of gifts. We would not be given our Easter eggs before Easter Sunday. We didn't, to the best of my knowledge, eat chocolate at all on Friday or Saturday. Mum and dad bought my sister and I a Humpty Dumpty and a Red Tulip Elegant Bunny every year including last year, but this year we all decided they let us grow up and spoil the kids instead. We would savour our Easter eggs, sharing one at a time with the whole family. We could make them last a few weeks, even though we had a relatively modest haul. All in all my family's Easters were conservative, structured, and about the man on the cross.   

My first Easter with my in-laws nearly killed me. :p

I knew they did things differently. They ate hot cross buns from whenever the shops started selling them. They didn't get fruit buns, they got CHOCOLATE hot cross buns. They heated them in the microwave. They ate their own goodies, there was no sharing. Corey had already told me this. Then they informed me I was going on a four day holiday with them for Easter. Do you have any idea how hard it was for me to get Easter Saturday off considering I was the recovery girl from the chocolate  section at Big W? They threatened to fire me over it! It was for a reason though, a family Christening, and they wanted to show me off to the family. It was a real honour, in a way. 

I didn't want to leave my family. I needed the money from working too. I surrendered. Corey gave me the talk about how his family rarely asked me to do anything and how it would mean so much to him to have me there supporting him and how I'd love meeting his baby cousin. It was fun, sort of. It had very fun moments, but it was the biggest culture shock of my life.

Back before Corey and I were even engaged, his family (still in one piece at the time), his sister's boyfriend of the time and I  spent Easter in a two bedroom beach house in Northern New South Wales. Six very different people, two bedrooms, one bathroom. Help. There was nowhere for me to go and sit quietly. I tried to get a glass of water and sit quietly one night when we'd gone to bed for the night and got in trouble for walking around. Fortunately there were two cars so the trip down wasn't cramped.

We left on Thursday night after I had worked a horrendous Thursday night shift in the Easter egg section of Big W. I was screwed from the start. The 600 km car trip was interesting. I was meant to sleep but Corey's dad kept waking me to point out land marks on the way."If you look to your right you would normally see banana trees and hills etc", (under my breath) "but its pitch black because its 2am in the morning you crazy fool".

We got McDonald's drive through breakfast and they wouldn't stop to eat it because it would "take too long". I wasn't allowed a bacon n egg muffin or something easy to eat because "we don't eat meat on Good Friday." I remember thinking, "What the heck? These people aren't religious. They're people who think church is only good for weddings (apparently attendance at those is optional *cough cough*), funerals and christenings." "We are catholic". (Under my breath) "ok that explains a bit".  That was my first and last experience with eating hotcakes in the backseat of a car doing over 100km on the national highway.     

When we got there we had fish for lunch (apparently fish is not meat. Catholics.) then they cracked out the booze. "I don't drink on Good Friday," I said in response to them offering to walk me to the shop to buy my own. They looked at me like I was weird.  I couldn't help but laugh. I was going to need a drink to get through this, "ok, let's go."  

I loosened up and allowed myself to have fun. The rest of the weekend we were either at the beach (a beautiful quiet beach but it rained the whole time), watching dvds, eating (mostly chocolate), drinking, or playing games except for two occasions: Corey's cousin's christening (which was fun, it was in a catholic church which was kind of boring but at least there was singing) and an interesting conversation I had with Corey's little sister.    
She asked me what Easter was actually about so I had an incredible opportunity to explain what I believe: that Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, He was burried, and that three days later He came back to life.  I said that Christians believe we get to heaven through trusting in what Jesus did for us.  She was very polite and didn't even laugh at me. We have never spoken about it again though, which is sad.         

It was really fun having Easter at the beach. That part of the in-laws family Easter experience is something Corey and I would like to repeat with our kids. The slower pace was nice too. Sure they did a few things different to my family but it was ok. It felt weird to me, but it was nice.    

This year dad is not playing in band so no waiting by the phone.  We had hoped to see him tomorrow. Good Friday fell on my sister-in-law's 21st bday. We regret not being able to attend her party (seafood at the beach of course) due to our illnesses. We had a little picnic of our own in our backyard. Whoppers from hungry jacks. Aren't we terrible! It's what I was craving. I need lots of iron to feed the babies! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

The thing is though, that we can eat meat if we want to eat meat and we don't have to feel guilty because we are parents now we make our own rules for our little family. We also have been eating hot cross buns for quite a few weeks. We bought traditional, but we've been heating them in the microwave. There's a chocolate bunny from Corey's mum in the fridge whose head accidentally came off while we were transporting it home today. (It got crushed. Accidentally. More info on today to come another time). We haven't eaten any yet but I have a feeling we will get into it tonight. It will be the first bit of Easter chocolate for me. I am looking forward to it. It's been fun picking the best bits of both family traditions and forming our own.

We haven't been able to go to church due to Alexis being diseased (again more info on that later). Also I'm not sure how much about the crucifixion is appropriate to share with a child. It's a pretty morbid subject for a child. What do you share? We also cannot go see Corey's dad or my family for the same reasons. It's a bit sucky. I'm disappointed. But its not the end of the world. We have each other and we have story books and we have DVDs and TV. All going well we will have 2 beautiful healthy children to enjoy Easter with next year.

How's your Easter going so far?  

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At April 23, 2011 at 1:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Karlee♥

At April 23, 2011 at 2:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

some wise dude once said it's not wrong just different!

Eat a steak, wash it down with a beer, who cares it seriously makes no difference, the works will still spin in the same direction!

Go for it forge your own path, its bound to annoy somebody, but they are the usually the people who will never be satisfied


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