When I was growing up, my sister and I were the daughters of the Rev. Randy Robinson, the Pastor at the United Methodist Church in Camp Point, IL. Camp Point was a town of 1200 back then. We had no Mc Donald's, no stop light, and we shared a school with 6 other towns. There were 4 churches within the city limits of Camp Point, and almost everyone in town attended one of them. We're talking Heart of America, Old-fashioned values community. Oh, and everyone was related too. (Still are.) It was a quaint and idyllic childhood...except on Easter Sunday.
Every year, it was tradition that dad would take his girls shopping for an Easter Outfit, for as long as I can remember. After all, we were the preacher's kids, we had to look good on high holidays. He would take us out to Bergner's or JCPenny's to buy us each a dress, hat, shoes, tights, gloves and even purses. (Once we had our ears pierced there was jewelry involved as well.) But as the pastor, he supported his family on a pastor's salary, which meant that our clothes were our Easter presents. We would still get some eggs filled with candy to hunt for, and a hollow chocolate bunny, but that was the extent of it.
Like the bunny, I felt hollow every year as a child, walking into the Sunday morning song time before Sunday School on Easter Sunday. (Song Time is where the kids chatted and caught up on their week before singing songs like "Father Abraham" and "Jesus Loves Me"). It was during this time that I endured listening to all the other kids talk about their giant Easter baskets, filled with goodies. It was like Christmas painted pastel.
Poor Easter Bunny! With no sleigh to hold all those presents, I don't know how he could compete with Santa! But in my small town, there must have been some kind of wierd spacetime vortex that allowed the Easter Bunny to haul all the stuff that all the other kids woke up to on Easter Sunday. And as a child, I swore that I would not make my children go through the embarassment and torture of not having extravagant Easter Presents.
But the difference between being nine and thirty-two is remarkable. The wisdom and insight we gain as we become adults shapes who we are, leaving our past behind us. Some whispers of childhood guide our decisions, and others are lost in the time that passes.
This year, I have the two children (that I always planned on having, just two). My youngest is old enough to participate (on the most basic level) in an Easter Egg hunt, as well as open "presents" in her very own Easter Basket. As I walked into Dollar Tree this week, all those long-lost memories of my childhood came rushing back. And instead of feeling bitter towards my parents for not spending a small fortune on Easter, I was filled with joy at the opportunity to spend my Fun Dollars on my own kids.
I didn't go all-out, but I did drop $12.00 of Fun from my own pocket. Carrick already has an Easter Basket from last year (which we snagged for less than a dollar at a garage sale with his own Fun Dollars.) I bought Lily an Easter basket, a hat to go with her Easter Dress, grass for the bottoms of their baskets, couple packages of eggs and some candy to fill them with, a jump rope for Carrick's basket, and two glitter-light-up balls (my kids love those.) Also, for nostalgia's sake, I bought them each their own hollow chocolate Bunny. Some things never change.
Easter Presents/baskets,etc at Dollar Tree- $12.00
Balance this pay cycle- $54.00