It's hard to make egg salad when your eggs are staring at you with warm smiles and all have names. These are the post Easter eggs that fill my fridge. I always have plenty of them because half of the neighborhood kids arrive about the time I drop the first Paas dye tablet into its glass of white vinegar. I don't know if they hear the gently fizzing tabs calling their names or if the smell of vinegar and eggs wafts down the street calling them to my kitchen. That wouldn’t be an appetizing smell, but it does scream of fun at the Brodnax house. Before the smell can dissipate, we have dozens of wacky, colorful eggs in the fridge, pastel fingerprints permanently stained on the counter, and someone teary eyed because their last egg to dye had a big crack in it.
All of this is part of Easter tradition at our house and I am thankful that this Easter season was not torn apart by shattered beliefs and disappointment. Let me explain.... It was a year ago at Easter when my daughter announced that she felt so sorry for all those kids who didn't believe in the Easter Bunny. Seeing how she was ready to stand up for Peter Cottontail on the school playground and protect all that he is, I knew it was time to have a talk. I had safely avoided the Santa Claus talk and had even skirted past the "Wonderfully Made" sex talk that was given to all sixth grade students and still had my little girl with all of her wonderful innocence. I wasn't ready to turn tail on Peter or St. Nick, but I knew this was my cue. I sat her down and explained that she may not want to keep such a strong stance in her protection of the Easter bunny. She gave me a puzzled look. Sweat began to form at my temples and I groped for words. I cringed at what was about to happen and tried to ease the pain with chocolate and promises of shopping sprees and mani/pedis. After delivering the news that a bunny did not actually arrive in the cover of darkness and leave eggs and candies all about, I saw her processing this information and I was afraid of what was coming next. I had no idea how bad it would actually be. She looked me dead in the eye and asked, "Then what about Santa? Is he fake, too." I felt horrible and a rush of heat came over me as I fought back the urge to comfort her by avoiding the truth, but she stood there in front of me, demanding to know. I talked about the Spirit of Christmas and giving and all things good and hoped that she would continue to believe even though the truth had been laid on the table. She said nothing. She sat at the table and tear after tear quietly ran down her face. There was no loud sobbing, simply tears rising up from a broken heart. She did not want to be comforted. She did not want to be hugged or touched. While I wanted to to do all of those things, I knew that most of all, she did not want to be lied to and I allowed her the space she needed to process this information.
When enough time had passed, I offered to take her to the mall where we spent some quality Mom and Daughter time. After new hair highlights, a few new outfits, a 2 pound bag of candy and the depletion of my checking account, we were headed out of the mall, with spirits lifted a bit. As we neared the exit, we spied the Easter Bunny one floor below sitting amongst a spread of giant pastel Easter eggs and floral displays. We both stopped at the railing and looked down. Testing the waters, I smiled and asked my daughter if she would like to go see the Easter Bunny. She looked up at me with one of those looks that says, "I'm smiling on the outside, but don't be fooled by it" and replied, "...and perhaps I can ask him for ...The Truth." I commented on how nice her highlights looked and we walked past the bunny without ever looking back. This year, as Easter rolled around, all traditions were still in place. We dyed eggs and filled baskets with treats and celebrated in Christian fashion at our church, focusing on the real meaning of Easter without letting go of the fun a child finds in the season. It is a wonderful relief to know that my refigerator is once again filled with smiling eggs that nobody will be able to eat.