My cousins would always bicker over who had to sit next to me at the “tiny tot” table at Easter. Not that I had some sort of kid fungus that hadn’t been identified in any medical dictionary. It was because I was left handed and there were eight of us that circled around the old card table with hunks of dried paint stuck to its legs and labyrinths of cobwebs that clung underneath. I’d jab my elbow’s into the person next to me with every bite. They practically had to wear a shower curtain to protect themselves from food if they were the lucky one to sit next to me.
I rarely ate though. By the time dinner was laid out on the antique dinning table that spanned from one end of the room to the next, I was already full of Easter candy. One year in particular, I had hid candy in my white Easter socks; the ones with a lace trim that matched the lace on my pink polka dot dress. I tucked my leg under my bottom so that I could nonchalantly reach the jelly beans that had stuck to my ankles. Sure they would have been furry, but they sure would have beat the bland “yucky” carrots.
Before the ham was cut, I was called to the “grown up” table. My dad pointed me to the empty seat that had belonged to a missing family member that was ousted at Christmastime. My name was daintily etched in my grandma’s perfect handwriting and was tucked into the antique rose place card holder.
Prayers were said and the conversations ensued about things I didn’t understand but I still felt very grown up. I looked over my shoulder at my “tiny tots” and stuck my tongue out.
“Look at all the space that I have now assholes”
I did not say.
Over the years, the Easter gathering, along with most of the holidays, dwindled to a few family members. You see, our family put the F and the U in dysFUction. It wasn’t unusual for someone to bail due to “headaches” and “stomach bugs”. One year my aunt claimed that the seatbelt on the driver’s side of the car wasn’t working and she didn’t dare endanger the life of the driver. I couldn’t make this bullshit up if I tried.
You always knew who would be absent at Easter by the way Christmas went.
After my grandpa passed, my grandma stopped making Easter dinners and my mom started to. I looked forward to it.
because it was just us. As my siblings and I grew older, we barely got to see each other so getting us together under one roof again was something special. We laughed at dysfunction and wondered how we ever came out the most normal of our family.
This year, Easter was cancelled entirely. The “why” I cannot share here but what I can share is how utterly saddened I was at discovering this.
Easter was spent with just Shawn and Chunky. There was no rushing to hunt eggs just so that we could get to mass on time. We didn’t go. There was no getting dressed into something fancy for pictures, although we did take shots just to prove that we had Easter this year. There was no ham which I didn’t mind. It gives me diarrhea and flashbacks of our trip in Mexico. We had barbequed sausages and hotdogs. Candy was eaten. Laughs were had. Shawn painted our living room. I caught up on laundry.
The best part was when Shawn invited us to go for a beautiful drive. He took us to my favourite ice cream place that was surprisingly open. It was a great surprise and it made my heart and tummy full.
And it was perfect.
Life constantly changes as do people and relationships. The important thing that I have learned in all of this is that sometimes you have to be selfish and protect yourself and your family from the drama. A holiday is a holiday no matter how you spend it, as long as you’re happy.
And we were.