Published on April 8th, 2015 | by Richard Black0
Easter and a Story of Easter’s Past
Having rendered our home uninhabitable (we had a slight lead issue, that’s lead as in the element not the verb, thank you for your concern, everything is fine, please carry on) for the foreseeable future my wife Laura, my daughter Darcy and I had the opportunity to celebrate the Easter weekend with friends.
Darcy and the two other girls, Coco and Channel, woke up early and saw that the Easter Bunny had visited. They ransacked their baskets for Peeps and chocolate bunnies and called the jelly beans bunny poop a statement that stuck with my four year old daughter who promptly refused to eat them and declared that they tasted like “crap”. It was an auspicious beginning to the day and one that I knew wouldn’t last. I’m not a pessimist or even a realist. I’ve just gotten to know myself pretty well over the past forty years and, after celebrating holidays for two decades, I generally know that something or someone (usually me) will fuck it up. Despite the fact that I have history on my side as a predictor for how these events turn out I tried to remain as upbeat as possible.
I’m not particularly religious, nor am I a devout atheist, but I enjoy Easter as much as I enjoy any holiday. Wherever one lies on the religious spectrum I like to think that Easter provides us with an opportunity to celebrate the idea of rebirth be it in Christ or simply that of Spring.
It’s a nice idea but one I rarely remember particularly during the heat of the moment of a celebration. One of the problems with holidays is that they change in tone the older one gets. Most holidays are essentially geared towards children and require quite a bit of planning, expense and time on behalf of the adults. It’s a fundamental flaw with the system and one I intend to correct once I declare myself King of Missouri and take over in a largely bloodless coup. I’m not usually a proponent of violence but I live in a two party state and, quite frankly, there really aren’t many other options for change.
Where was I? Ohh yes.
Most holidays are geared towards children and that’s all well and good if you’re a kid. As an adult most major holidays consist of preparing for the event until the wee hours of the morning and then ferrying a bunch of sugar addled children for an hour to hang out with a bunch of people that remind you, inside of five minutes, why the family only gets together a few times a year. To ensure an unpleasant time is had by all, alcohol is consumed in prodigious quantities by people who don’t generally imbibe and a gigantic meal is served despite the fact that everyone has been eating pretty much constantly throughout the entire day. This perfect storm of booze, other simple carbohydrates and wildly differing political opinions practically guarantees idiocy on an epic proportion. One year, as twenty or so of us sat down to our meal, an uncle of mine asked us all if “we thought that white people were smarter than black people.” Instead of responding I feigned diarrhea and scoured their medicine cabinet for industrial strength Xanax.
This year implicitly racist comments were kept to a minimum but that was only because contact with my family was also kept to a minimum and, for that, I was thankful. I was so thankful in fact that I didn’t want to wait for Thanksgiving to give thanks. eight months away and the likelihood that I’ll be able to remember, much less feel like being thankful for, Easter when I’m surrounded by my extended family is approximately that of me drinking five gallons of coffee and stapling my dick to my forehead so that I can piss myself upside down to see the sites in Toledo Ohio.
So Easter. That’s where I was right? I watched my daughter and her friends’ rocket around the yard as they searched for eggs in a sugar fueled frenzy and I had two thoughts. The first was that after consuming her entire weight in chocolate and Peeps for breakfast Darcy was going to throw a tantrum of epic proportions in a few hours when we had to leave for my mother’s house. My second thought , as I remembered Easters of years past, was that this was as it should be and according to tradition. It really isn’t a holiday in the Black household until someone cries.
My first Easter memory, and I assume it was mine I spent I lot of time out of my head in those days*, occurred when I was about eight or nine. My sister Frit and I woke up early in the morning around six or so and proceeded to hunt down every toy and piece of candy my mother and father had meticulously hidden the night before. Our parents woke up a few hours later and, upon discovering my sister and I had ferreted out all of the goodies, my mother promptly broke into tears.
Over the years I’ve tried not to judge her reaction too harshly. She and my father were on the downside of their marriage and they’d both, most likely, spent the bulk of the entire night hiding chocolate eggs and hand made toys in an uncomfortable silence before retiring to bed and sleeping as far from each other as possible.
That said, and also with the benefit of hindsight, I’ve come to understand that it’s not normal for a grown woman to sob hysterically upon discovering that her children had thoughtlessly engaged in a treasure hunt before she had a chance to watch them do so. I also realize that it was not normal that my mother spent the next two hours crying in her bedroom as my sister and I retraced our steps and replaced every single chocolate egg and toy to their former location. Finally it was certainly unusual and in no way indicative of a healthy family dynamic that my sister and I felt compelled to reconstruct the entire hunt with a running commentary as to how well the items were hidden in an attempt to recreate a moment that never happened in the midst of my mother’s occasional sobs.
This is the baseline by which I judge the relative success or failure of any holiday. It’s really more of a calculation now that I think about it; a complex equation that involves the number of hours I’ve invested, minus the sleep I’ve lost times the amount of alcohol I’ve consumed divided by the amount of tears that have been shed by the end of the day. I’m not sure what the equation equals once everything has been tallied, I’m not a mathematician, but it usually amounts to a big piece of “suck”.
This year we upheld the Black family tradition in fine form. Upon leaving for my mother’s house Darcy promptly lost her shit and cried the entire way to my mother’s home. No one else shed a tear which places the occasion light years ahead of the infamous Easter of 2008. It was not a banner year for the Black household. I don’t want to go into all the details but I decided to go off my medication and, somewhere around the beginning of March, ripped my mother a new asshole for being a shitty parent and a horrible person responsible for my inability to hold a job, a relationship, global warming, the Cuban missile crises and pretty much everything else that I believed was wrong with the world. Upon being invited my mother felt compelled to join the the Easter celebration but was not, unfortunately, emotionally capable of dealing with the event and spent a good two hours sobbing in our guest bedroom.
Fate is a fickle bitch, funny and cruel, at times ironic but really she’s just a bitch.
By the end of the day and after consuming her entire body weight in chocolate my daughter was a about as stable as Sylvia Plath after a night of binge drinking and unconventional sex. We managed to strong arm her into a set of PJs, my daughter that is not Sylvia Plath (that’s weird why in the fuck would you think that I’m putting the corpse of Sylvia Plath to bed) but Darcy wouldn’t settle down. She bounced on the bed, declined a story and generally rocketed around the room like a monkey on acid until she finally calmed down after we threatened her with random beatings. Darcy finally acquiesced and went to her bed but she had one one condition before she would fall asleep.
“I don’t want daddy here,” my daughter said.
“Why not?” Laura asked.
“He smells funny. I want him to go away.”
I tried to give Darcy a kiss but she was bobbing and weaving and there’s really nothing more creepy or pathetic than a father trying to force his daughter to show him affection. As a stay at home father I’m used to being a given in my daughter’s life but I’d be lying if her words didn’t sting a bit or that I didn’t tear up as I left my daughter and walked down the stairs. It’s somewhat fitting really. My tears that is and that, in shedding them, I’m keeping in touch with a hallowed family tradition. It’s not a good tradition but it’s what we have and, at the very least, I can take solace in the fact that the worst thing my daughter may remember from Easter this year is the fact that I forgot to put on deodorant.
*Douglas Adams. I’m not sure what book but I’m going with Zaphod Beeblebrox in “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”.