Easter was always one of my favourite times as a child and I cherish those sentimental memories now, because as an adult, the Easter Bunny and his traditions are less adorable.
In fact, my earliest memory of that big white rabbit was him wandering around the park on two legs, freakishly tall in stature with his long ears sticking straight up, lined with bright pink felt.
He was wearing a Seersucker blazer with no pants, which I remember noting curiously, but somehow knowing it was inappropriate to question the obvious.
My Nana would not appreciate me pointing out his wobbly dangling tail either, so my five-year-old self squirmed with anticipation for the burning questions that were forming in my ever-observant mind.
The Easter Bunny was sauntering about holding a giant wicker basket full of colourful plastic eggs. Eggs? Look, I may have had some learning challenges in kindergarten, but I had an aunt who lived on a farm, so I knew rabbits didn’t lay eggs, especially not tiny eggs wrapped in colourful tinfoil.
Who was this joker trying to fool?
I was suspicious, but I was taking it all in from behind the lenses of my cruelly thick, tortoise shell-rimmed glasses.
Of course, all this was forgotten when that giant white freak of nature with man hands placed the tin foiled treasures in my colourful weaved basket, while Nana thanked him for us both, because I was stunned silent in my reaction. I wasn’t to take candy from strangers, but if Nana was cool with this situation, well, all bets were off.
I got my stash and I hopped back to Nana’s home, skipping along the sidewalks of the treelined streets of Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood. That’s back when the homes were small, but the trees on the lawn were gigantic, with thick trunks and sturdy limbs. It doesn’t look like that anymore.
The house would smell like freshly toasted hot cross buns, which I shared with Grampa. That smell will always bring me to back to that little kitchen in that home where the AM radio was always on.
My Easter memories include warmer days with colourful dresses and pastel jackets, skipping ropes keeping rhythm on the sidewalk while my cousins and I counted each other in. Mapping out hopscotch patterns with chalk on the sidewalks and throwing pebbles to mark our spots. Fancy family dinners. Easter egg hunts that usually ended in a toss-up between the cousins who were more aggressive in their desire to win.
To review, the Easter Bunny wore no pants and my cousins were raised by wolves, yet nobody seemed upset by this. It was a lot to take in for a sensitive, hyper-observant child.
As an adult (cough), the Easter long weekend means yard work. If the Easter Bunny shows up at my house, I have just three words for him: get a rake.
The only thing I’ll be hunting is the winter’s worth of doggy doodie in the yard. Gross.
Yet, I treasure Easter for the personal memories I hold dear and the faith it restores in me to remember miracles happen every day.
They do. Pay attention.