I am the younger of two children, both girls, in my family—which means—I have a big sister! Naturally, she proceeded me in just about everything. The fact that she became a Mom before me was in keeping with our pattern and in the correct sequence of our shared lives. When my first child was born, she arrived with a wonderful six-year-old cousin, a girl, in place—good job sis!
The second Spring after my daughter was born she had reached the age that she would be able to participate in her first Easter Egg Hunt. My sister and I live miles apart and have for many years—so our family interactions are often shared through stories and conversations on the telephone. As I was approaching my first Easter-Egg-Hunt-Worthy-Easter as a new Mom, my sister announced that she would be supplying the Easter Basket for my daughter. It was sort of like “calling shotgun” for the front seat of the car—it seems the older sibling always has a leg-up on the younger sibling. As I hadn’t given the basket any thought—I graciously acquiesced to her request (statement.)
My sister, the self-proclaimed non-creative one in the family, had beat me to the symbolic Easter Basket front seat. As she explained to me there was more to this important self-assigned task—there was a lesson involved. In a big-sister to little sister voice, I was informed that a permanent basket needed to be obtained, one made preferably out of fabric—one that would last—for years. A lasting basket.
In reflecting back, I now realize she was describing a Christmas Stocking version of an Easter Basket. This was a bit of a surprise to me—I didn’t even know that fabric baskets existed, additionally as this had not been one of our family traditions growing up—where did she come up with this idea? I left that detail as a mystery—as it certainly seemed like a worthy endeavor—especially for my little one!
The Pink Bunny basket arrived prior to Easter and I dutifully began the instructions of “how to” hunt for Easter Eggs. We had a wonderfully adorable time! The kind of joyful and precious time that seems to almost magically happen when the ingredients are Children, Baskets, Springtime and Bunnies!
That first Easter Egg hunt was twenty-five years ago—my son was born two years later and perfectly on cue my sister called dibs on providing his Easter Basket—a Yellow Ducky! She had now furthered her tradition by assigning this important responsibility exclusively to the Aunt of these children.
For the last twenty-five and twenty-three years the Pink Bunny and Yellow Ducky Easter Baskets have been filled with goodies then emptied and subsequently used for the hunt! Clearly, my sister had done an excellent job in selecting lasting baskets.
Time moves along—and before I knew it the magic of placing late-night hopping-bunny tracks made with flour on the kitchen floor and morning Easter Egg Hunts had lost their wonder. However, the Easter Baskets were filled and left waiting on the foot of a bed or on a kitchen table.
Through the years the contents of the baskets evolved—Jelly Beans gave way to Chocolate Bunnies for her and Chocolate Bunnies were replaced with Peeps for him—as they developed their own individual gourmet Easter tastes.
The Pink Bunny and Yellow Ducky baskets have been filled, boxed and shipped to college, hidden in suitcases as they journeyed to Spring Break (woo-hoo!) and they have been sent to Barcelona (Pink Bunny) and Florence (Yellow Ducky) for semesters abroad.
Hanky-Panky undies have been stuffed into plastic eggs for her and Under Armour running socks have been rolled up, wrapped with orange tissue paper and tied with green ric-rack ribbons to imitate carrots for him. We’ve had years in which candy was replaced with a much more coveted Starbucks card—appropriately wrapped in Jelly Bean printed cellophane paper.
During my daughter’s sophomore year in college I was (kindly) advised that sending the Pink Bunny was no longer necessary, in fact, it was preferred that it not be sent. I respectfully obliged, as I wanted to allow for independent choices and decisions. My quiet disappointment was quelled with several Chocolate Bunnies of my own!
The following year, in keeping with the theme of “I’m too old for that” I sent only the Yellow Ducky to college. I received a charmingly disappointed telephone call from my daughter questioning why she had not received her Pink Bunny Basket. I (kindly) reminded her of the previous year’s request, to which she responded,
“Oh that? I was much younger then! I didn’t get it—I was being ridiculous. You can always send me my basket.”
During her senior year and his sophomore year the Pink Bunny and the Yellow Ducky were shipped off to college—and with loving care they were returned to me at the end of the school year. All was well in bunny-dom.
Twenty-five Easters have come and gone and the wisdom of my sister still resonates in my heart.
The original Pink Bunny and Yellow Ducky are still here, ready and waiting to be filled. This year, I am sending this virtual version of the Pink Bunny with all of my heartfelt love to my daughter as she is off on an amazing adventure! The thought to hide it in her back-pack six months ago when she headed for the mountains of Peru was missed by me—the Yellow Ducky will be heading to the West Coast as my son begins his exciting and promising career!
As a post-mommy, I can only encourage you—if you are a current-mommy or daddy, to embrace these days with all of the love, earnestness and joy you can muster. (I understand you are tired.) The precious and adorable days of Easter Egg Hunts do come to an appropriate end and left in their place are the most treasured and delightful memories. And, if you wish to follow my big sister’s advice, you will have a lasting basket in which to store those memories!