I was boiling eggs for our kids to color for Easter when I realized it was official... I'm a grown-up.
I am 45, and you would think this revelation would have hit me sooner. But my sisters and I all waited until our thirties and forties to have children and had an extended childhood of sorts.
I've been on my own since I was 23, but it wasn't until I had my own children that my parents stopped coloring eggs with us, or at least, for us, if we couldn't come early for the egg coloring. There was also a lovely Easter basket waiting for me on Easter morning.
As I was getting everything ready for our brood this year, it occurred to me that the torch has been passed. Memories of my own childhood are still on my mind, but they have been surpassed by memories I have of the family I created with my husband.
We've developed our own traditions, different from the ones I grew up with. A case in point would be my version of egg coloring, which is certainly not as professional as my father's. He would faint if he saw the mess I made as I added color to the bowls because the kit I bought was not doing such a good job.
There were no kits in my house when I was growing up. We used food coloring. If my father had his way, we would have made dye from the vegetables and flowers my sisters and I would have had to forage for in the suburban wilds of Long Island.
Thank you Mom for keeping Grizzly Adams on a leash.
My father's egg coloring operation was enough for an army of bunnies. The egg holders were fashioned out of wire: Store bought holders were not for us. The bowls of dye were lined in a row, and were laid out so the festivities could begin.
My father has been coloring eggs my whole life, even when there wasn't a baby or child in sight.
My parents love to celebrate holidays. My mother made the most beautiful Easter baskets for us filled with handmade chocolate bunnies, intricately decorated sugar eggs, and other truly beautiful confections from speciality candy stores.
Mass-market bunnies were not for her girls. The baskets frequently had a theme, such as a garden or spring toys. I remember when I was eight she did a sewing theme and I got pink thread, a pin cushion, and sewing needles.
There was a magical excitement to walk downstairs and find the baskets we set out the night before lined in a row and filled with treats. Each basket was topped with a beautiful bow or ribbon that mom would put in our hair for church.
My sisters and I would giggle, eat jelly beans, and compare what the bunny brought us: "I got pink bubbles..." "I got blue..." "My bunny has a purple bow..." "Mine has yellow."
The Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus were all important traditions throughout my childhood. They were so important that long after we were children, my parents incorporated them into our holidays. Egg hunts and all. This of course was a source of amusement for our husbands.
The other day my 12-year old, Tom, and I were discussing our plans for Easter. It has been extra fun this year because our six-year old Peter has been so excited over the prospect of a visit from the Easter Bunny.
"Mom, it is so cute that he believes in the Easter Bunny," said Tom, who was four when he figured there was no such thing.
"It just doesn't make sense," he said at the time.
I shared with him that, until he was born, my parents still hid eggs for me and his aunts. He thought this was hysterical. The image of his grown mother and her sisters looking for colored eggs was just too much. Then he said, "That's so cute mom."
My parents are in their glory now with seven grandchildren ranging from 12 years down to five months. My mother's beautiful baskets are now reserved for her grandchildren, who open them up with the same amazement my sisters and I had.
The egg hunts are much more exciting now with children rushing all over the yard.
I relish the idea that years from now there will be a whole new generation talking about their own memories of my parents and the holidays they made special.
In my house, I am the one and only official Easter Bunny. Different perhaps then the bunny of my childhood, but just as special for our three children.
The chain continues.