“Where flowers bloom, so does hope.”
Lady Bird Johnson
I’m going to step on some toes, but I will admit, unequivocally, that spring is my favorite season. Actually, that is a safe statement. Okay. Here goes….. Easter is my favorite holiday. It’s out now. Y’all can all get mad and move on, okay? Just kidding. I do realize that Christmas is a favorite of many, and that includes men and women. As a Christian, I understand why that would be.. without Christmas there would be no Easter. Absolutely. However, I have my reasons and they might make sense to all of you, and they might not. We all have our own personal experiences, yet some of our experiences are similar.
Like most of you, my family has always had traditions for each holiday. Easter was no exception. I remember the smell of vinegar while dying eggs, and I remember that the purple dye never quite got dark enough. My younger brothers and I would sit at the kitchen table and as we finished dying our eggs, we would put them on the underside of the box the dye came in as there were small holes to prop up the eggs to dry. On Easter morning, we were allowed two or three pieces of candy and we always had a good breakfast (including boiled eggs). An early-morning egg hunt ensued, and because Mississippi weather is unpredictable, sometimes we had to search in the house. One year the hunt was outside, and we didn’t find an egg. Our yard smelled badly for a week!
Another memory is that of my maternal grandmother, Mamaw. She was a master seamstress, and made mine and my cousin’s Easter dresses for many years. They would sometimes be identical, but different colors. One year, I had a pink dress that she overlaid with a white pinafore. I always had shiny black or white patent shoes depending on the dress I was wearing. Easter in the South is beautiful, including the special clothes. Aaron has bunnies on his outfit…. I let my older two pass.😂
Spring has always been a hopeful time for me. I lost most of my grandparents in the colder months of the year… it just seems that spring is a reminder that we have to keep living and trying… and that we can have hope all the while missing someone. I remember as a little girl planting flowers with my Mamaw. She always pointed out the perennials to me. “Remember, we planted those when you were five,” she would later say when I was a preteen. My paternal grandparents lived just down the road and had a sidewalk installed around their house so I could ride my bike on it when it was pretty spring weather. I always think of my grandparents, but miss them dearly this time of year.
I fell in love in the spring. Earlier that winter, my Papaw died. I was heartbroken. A long-term relationship I was in didn’t work out, either. Our beloved Shiner, a loyal fox terrier and family member, was dying. It was all in a month’s time. But there was a special man waiting for me whom I didn’t even realize I had already met. He played baseball for Mississippi College. Those spring games are such a good memory. My Grandmama (my dad’s mother) would go to some of the games with me. She always smiled and never met a stranger. I still have clippings she would mail me about being positive and hopeful. Does anyone see a pattern here? Spring is a time of hope…. renewal.
My youngest child was born on the first day of spring. He wasn’t due until the second week of April. I tried. My doctor tried. My body wasn’t able to withstand the pregnancy any longer, and an appointment for an ultrasound turned into a scheduled c-section for later that day. It had been a difficult and high-risk pregnancy. I was terrified. Aaron was born “pre-term” and absolutely perfect. March 20. The first day of spring.
Since my children were born, we’ve made our own traditions. When my teenagers were younger, we dyed eggs. I really need to start this again. Whatever color Becca’s Easter dress was, I would always buy Clark a matching polo shirt. My teenagers still get a basket, and Aaron has his, too. We hide plastic eggs instead of real and Aaron enjoyed his first Easter egg hunt at church.
The other night, my eighteen year old was talking to me, and suddenly I was listening and looking at my sweet ten-year-old son, not a grown man. I have been struggling with letting him go away to school (although I KNOW he will come home often). I’ve often thought about Mary and how she had to watch her own son suffer and die. Was she thinking about the times when Jesus was a baby and she held him to her? When he learned to walk? Talk? We know intellectually that Jesus is God’s son and came to die for us…. but He had a mother, too, and she loved Him. Easter seems like such a sad holiday to love until we see the end result. He died. He rose. For this reason we have hope.
That, and flowers, of course.