Friday, May 14, 2010

Holy Saturday - the Secular Version

I'm finally getting around to catching up on some blogging while John entertains the munchkin. She and I are still a bit under the weather, but we've been checked out by the pros, who have decided that we have a nasty cold virus that we can expect to kick fully in 7-14 days. 7-14 days? Really? Who has time for this? We might just go back under house arrest because it's more fun than being sick. Okay, not really, but I do appreciate my efforts to keep us healthy these past two years even more now that we aren't very healthy. Next baby (still no news there), preemie or not, is staying somewhat isolated for at least a few months!

Let's reflect on more amusing Easter! I know it's been over a month, but I can't let an Easter dress the celebration of our Lord's resurrection sneak by without a blog post!

First, a liturgical lesson: Easter is a season. Easter Sunday is a day. The 40 days preceding Easter (not counting Sundays) is the season of Lent. The last week of Lent/the week immediately preceding Easter is Holy Week. It begins with Palm Sunday, and we Methodists typically celebrate Maundy Thursday, focusing on Jesus' last supper with his disciples and the institution of the Lord's Supper/Communion, and Good Friday, commemorating Christ's cruxifiction (yeah, not the most uplifting service, but a very important part of our faith nonetheless). Holy Saturday is the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. For the disciples, it was a day of grieving, of second-guessing, and of anxiety about how what it meant that their leader, their rabbi, their friend, who they thought would bring about the reign of God or at least the freedom of their people, had been brutally executed by the state.

For us, it's a day of Easter egg hunts.

Just for the record, I think that Easter egg hunts should be saved for sometime in the Easter season. An Easter egg hunt at the very tail end of Lent is jumping the gun, skating past the uncertainty of the day and into the fluffy goodness of marshmellow eggs. I wonder if that's a particularly American tradition; it would be typical of our collective tendancy towards instant (or at least hurried) gratification. Of course, I'm not really sure what hidden candy has to do with Easter anyway, but hey, I'm game. So jump the gun we did, and we had a great time doing it!

John's parents (aka Nana Dana and G-Diddy) wanted to get Becca an Easter present, so I suggested a membership to the Nashville Zoo, which we had to try out immediately, of course (see above: instant gratification). We joined the throngs (which turned out to be much bigger than my infection-conscious mind had anticipated!) for EggstravaganZOO 2010. After waiting out a rainy morning, we got there just in time for Becca's first Easter egg hunt. It was for kids 2 & under, but they kept announcing that the kids had to be old enough to retrieve the eggs on their own. I got really self-conscious about this, but refused to deny my daughter (and, okay, me) her shot at her first egg hunt, regardless of the looks I was sure I was getting from other parents questioning my decision to bring a baby onto the field. I wanted to wear a sign that said, "She's a toddler, she's just not toddling and she's tiny. And, by the way, she could kick your oaf of a kid's butt so stop judging me!" Apparently I still have issues. Who knew?

While they finished prepping the field (driving around on a golf cart, flinging plastic eggs everywhere), we got a visit from a very special friend...the Easter Bunny! Becca loved her (him? what gender is the Easter Bunny in your family?)! She wouldn't stop hugging her. I think the E.B. loved Becca, too, because she didn't seem to want to stop hugging her. It was adorable. See for yourself:

Finally it was time for the big event. Still wallowing in my issues, I was determined that Becca was going to walk onto the field:

Kids were scurrying out in front of and all around her, and I quickly realized that at this rate, she would never encounter an egg, let alone prove to the nosy masses who had nothing better to do that glare at the baby on the field and her pushy mother (because surely they weren't just enjoying the moment with their own kids) that she could, in fact, retrieve the eggs herself, as the voice from above (or the megaphone) had mandated. I got over myself, scooped her up, carried her further infield and plopped her down in a pile of eggs.

This approach worked much better, and she did, in fact, retrieve 5 and 1/2 eggs for herself, like a "real toddler." (Again, with the issues. I know.) Also like a "real toddler," she had more fun taking them out of the bucket and examining them than collecting more. (Wisely, the zoo left the eggs empty and handed out a standard goody bag when you returned your eggs. If she had been able to open it up and discover something actually inside the egg, it would have been all over after the first one. We're a fan of crinkly plastic things these days.)

Once she and I got over the gymnastics of it all (physical for her, emotional for me), we had a great time. It seems that every first with her is still quite an emotional moment for me. Her first Easter egg hunt! Sure, she didn't look or act like all the other kids, but she did it, and I got to share it with her! Now that I think about it, it would have been almost exactly two years before that egg hunt that I had been told that she would never make it, and there she was gathering 5 1/2 eggs in her Easter bucket! What a girl - and what a happy mama!

After we fought the crowds for an overpriced (but surprisingly tasty) zoo lunch, we made the rounds and checked out the animals. I might or might not have spent most of my time searching for the golden eggs they (supposedly) had hidden around the zoo (never did find one!), but Becca loved the meerkats (so cute with popping out of the holes and disappearing again!) and tried to jump into the koi pond. The big kids in our group loved the red pandas and the clouded leopards. For a zoo that is only 13 years old, the Nashville Zoo is pretty fabulous! It's just the right size for families with young kids, and they still have plenty of room to grow. In fact, they are soon opening two new exhibits: flamingos (fun!) and tapirs (seen recently with Jack Hanna on Letterman!). If you are local, I highly recommend a family membership! We've already gone back once (with a professional photo shoot, but that's another story!), so we've almost made up the purchase price (er...Nana Dana and G-Diddy's purchase price, that is). Grandparents, it's a great gift! (You can check out purchase options here.)

After the zoo, we re-introduced the family to another (relatively new) Nashville tradition: Las Paletas. Yum! Becca was even bold enough to try a few bites, which was great feeding therapy. Perhaps once we are closer to town we should engage in more frequent feeding therapy. Becca particularly loved hanging out in the backpack and dripping popsicle on daddy's neck. She loves being tall in the backpack! (By the way, I got the backpack at a consignment sale for $12. Suh-weet!)

I can't say that we spent Holy Saturday reflecting on Christ's sacrifice and renewing our commitment to his service, but we did have a darn good time and enjoyed being with each other, and I think he'd kind of like that.

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