Monday, April 22, 2019

Easter All Over Again

At this point in my life, our family traditions are pretty much set in stone.

Partly, that's because it's just our immediate family over here on this side of the Rockies, and other than missing a stray Streicher daughter or two, the guest list doesn't change much. 

Also, Easter is Easter. A simple and straightforward holiday. Our activities don't vary much from year to year and I daresay that we do what every family does on Easter Sunday, more or less. 

But the most important reason why our Easter Sundays play out more or less the same, year after year after year, is because we love traditions. I may be speaking out of turn but I believe everyone in my family loves familiar and comfortable traditions that play out over the decades,again and again and again. .

Here's a breakdown of our day today, a very typical Easter.  

1. We worship God.

We go to a little Lutheran church in our neighborhood, where our daughters grew up and many, many Easters have been celebrated. Though certainly the church has changed in many ways over the years, I feel grounded as I listen to the Easter story unfold in such a familiar place. 

These baskets have been in my daughters' lives since the very beginning. I bought all four when my eldest was a baby, hoping but not knowing that someday they would all be put to use. They make me well aware of my blessings whenever I see them. 

2. We find baskets delivered by the Easter Bunny.

I know, I know. My daughters are full grown adults and they have already enjoyed more than enough years of raking in candy from the EB. But their tried-and-true baskets are still adorable, and when one of the daughters is missing on Easter, as was my second-born today, I feel a bit less lonely to see her basket there with the others, just as it has always been. 

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Daughters Three, One holding Four, and Two (from left to right.). Their ages are 6, 4, 2, and 0.

3. We reminisce. 

Since growing up, my daughters have come to enjoy a quick trip down memory lane as they pull out their childhood photo albums and scan for holiday pics - in this case, Easter pics - from years gone by. This photo dates back to my youngest daughter's first Easter, and I remember that day in bittersweet and vivid detail. 

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Strawberries, pork tenderloin with rosemary, deviled eggs.

My plate features strawberries, salmon, asparagus, scalloped potatoes, deviled eggs. 

3. We eat a midday meal.

Every year we discuss what to make for Easter dinner, and every year we choose the exact same menu. Well. We used to have a running debate over the protein - we have strong camps for both pork and fish, and an unwillingness to compromise. 

But I fixed that problem a few years back by preparing two main dishes, and peace has descended upon us ever since. 

* * * * *

4. We rest.

Kitchen clean-up happens.
Naps happen.
Dog walks happen.

One by one, we crash and burn and slowly recover in order to eat again.

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My eldest baked this gorgeous coconut three-layer cake at her home and brought it to my house to be frosted. 

The recipe was new this year, but we have been wrapping up our Easter Sundays with a beautiful home-baked dessert ever since my girls were old enough to not eat their entire basket full of candy in a matter of hours. 

5. We eat dessert.

 Rather that enjoying our final course at the end of our meal, it's a time-honored Streicher tradition to hold off on dessert for a few hours after dinner. It's possible to interpret this practice as an exercise in self-restraint, but the truth is that we just want to better enjoy every delicious sugary bite of our Easter dessert.

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After dessert, our festivities wind down. We tidy the kitchen, watch a little TV, smother our pets with affection. My eldest daughter heads back to her apartment, and the rest of us spread out around the house after a day of togetherness. 

Oh, I'm always a bit blue when holidays wrap up. After days, even weeks, of preparation and concentrated planning, the holidays themselves fly by so quickly. All the eager anticipation gives way to a few short hours of pleasure, and as usual, this day flew by in the snap of a finger. 

There is sweet satisfaction, though, in getting another successful Easter Sunday into the record books. And soon enough, the year will fly by and I will be faced with the happy challenge of celebrating Easter all over again. 

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More Easter stories? Yes. 

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