Easter Baskets. I Can Talk About It Now.


I made a fatal error this week. Its name is Easter Baskets.  For a while I couldn’t talk about it, but as all mistakes, I can now see what I wish I had seen.  I can now share with you what I shall always remember.  The Easter Baskets are a thing.

I had this fleeting thought in the days before Easter.  I noticed pastel colored candies and décor in the corner of my eye at the grocery store, the vague notion of things fluffy and marshmallow.  And I thought to myself, “Are we still doing Easter Baskets?  Is that a thing we are doing? I mean, they’re nearly-fourteen and well-into-fifteen.  They have access to all these same grocery aisles.  They would probably enjoy picking out their own candy, right?  Easter Baskets are probably not a thing we are doing.”

Here is what I learned:

If you have such a fleeting thought,

But you do not confirm your suspicions with a clarifying conversation,

And if Easter morning comes and the Easter bunny did not,

You will learn firsthand what it is to lean on the grace of the risen Lord to get you through the day.

I was being quippy when I wrote that on Facebook, and I don’t know what I was expecting.  Well, I do know.  I was hoping some tired mother out there would raise her coffee cup to mine and say, “Cheers, Momma.  Been there.”

But nary a mother raised her cup.  All the moms had gotten it right.  Are still getting it right.   I believe the southern contingency of readers likely used the word “precious” to describe my ignorance.

My boys were disappointed.  And that’s an understatement.

They had the physical, visceral disappointment of man-children who don’t want to be disappointed but who clearly are.  It showed on their faces and in their shoulders.

I had failed them.

I suspect you know what I did next, what any fairly codependent mother would do on the morning of a holiday that has just come apart at the seams: I hauled my pajama-clad self to the grocery store, to that very aisle of pastels and fluff.  And I bought it all.

All. Of. It. (Well, all that was left after all you good moms picked the aisle clean.)

Except the only kind of Peeps they had left were the fiery-red cinnamon variety, and let’s be honest.  There’s a reason why they were the only ones left.  Still, I put them in the cart.

I came home with the loot, and I lay my bounty before the feet of my man-children.

And they said, “yay.  Thanks.”

I don’t know what I was expecting.

Yes, I do. I was expecting a parade.  I was expecting Easter morning to be redeemed with great joy and gratitude.

You guys, there were conversations.  Conversations that included words like, “it’s not even fun anymore,” and “if baskets make it fun then you’re missing the point,” and the dark word that lands like a gauntlet: “entitled.”

I left the house.  I went for a walk.  I called my parents.

(The irony is not lost on me that when Easter morning didn’t go the way I had hoped, I called my parents to fix it.  Please leave me be about this.  I know, you guys.  I know.)

My parents happened to be on their way home from church, moments past their own renditions of Christ the Lord is Risen Today, and they swept through my neighborhood to find me sitting on the curb, three blocks from my house.

If you think there’s a parent somewhere that won’t rush out and buy her kids all the Easter peeps, then you know there is no parent who will not pick up their bereft daughter off the sidewalk on Easter morning.

They took me to McDonalds.  They bought me a diet Coke.  (I surrendered Diet Coke a couple of years ago, but these were desperate times. Give momma the sauce.)

They invited me to go to their house, to disappear, to take a nap, to let people wonder where their mother had gone.

But someone still had to make the deviled eggs before the throngs arrived for lunch, and that someone is named Me.  I could not fail on two levels – first the baskets, then the eggs?  That would leave us with the bare bones of the Resurrection.  (Which really should be enough. Which was my contention all along, since the very earliest flutters of the fleeting thoughts.)

They dropped me off at home, and I went inside.  And here’s the great travesty of it all: Nobody had even noticed I was gone.

Except to say, “You have a McDonald’s cup?  Who went to McDonald’s?  Can I have some McDonald’s?”

Insert a thousand emojis right here.

Peter sat with me on the front porch.  “Babe, what is going on this morning?”

“I’m tired.  It’s all too much.  I don’t have the capacity to make all the magic happen for all the people all the time.”

“Nobody asked you to do that, Trish.”

“Um, yes, they did.  There are a thousand spinning plates above my head.  I dropped the wrong one.”

My eyes were tired.  My hair was large.  My cup was empty.  Figuratively and literally.

He said, “Easter is my jam, babe.  I was hosting Easter for fifteen years before you came into my life.  And I have capacity.  Let me do some of the things.” And then he added, “But you have to let me do it my way. There might not be frilly nametags at everyone’s seat, and I might say no to some things you might have said yes to. But I can do this with you.  Let me.”

“Okay,” I relinquished. “But next year, I’m doing Easter baskets.”

Like, forevermore, until the feasts of heaven, I will remember the Easter baskets.

(What happened on Easter this year, Tricia? I got tired.  That’s what happened.)

(Go easy on the moms, please.)

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. I actually can’t remember why I ran away one evening, I just know I got in the car and onto a Houston freeway and drove. I drove until the freeway signs began to say Austin. Now if you know Houston, you know that isn’t very far.

    I finally realized that it was far too much effort to run away and exited to make the Uturn. As I entered the house, I was greeted with people that had no clue I had been gone, or that I fake drove to Austin, or was even mad at them. Instead they wanted me to help them find something they lost. Without skipping a beat, I stepped right back in and carried on.
    I’m sure the Lord has wanted to give up on me before and I am thankful he hasn’t.

    But after losing my husband, the traditions and rituals we lived by have become sacred. It is like we can’t lose that, too. Those rituals help us feel whole even while missing our husband/dad. And I have found this out the hard way.

  2. Oh Tricia, can I just say how much I love this piece? I want to read it aloud to every mom I know, and not just the ones with Easter basket fail. I found it hilarious. The best kind of humor comes from real life, and your life is realer than most. Bless you for making my day.

  3. Hmmm, there’s a sermon example in here somewhere…all about expectations and how Jesus turned those upside down, and who owns our personal expectations, and how we work through disappointment. There will be conversations down the line, I’m sure. And they may involve more than Easter baskets—perhaps Christmas traditions and vacation traditions and other things…and how life changes unexpectedly and how we deal with those changes.

    But first come the feelings. And space. And time. To really feel and then to think about why those feelings happened. And then a conversation of expectations and when and how those are put in place…and why they weren’t fulfilled.

    So Jesus’s encounters with the disciples after the resurrection might lend some guidance to those conversations.

    I have walked this street way to many times. My heart is with you.????

  4. “They dropped me off at home, and I went inside. And here’s the great travesty of it all: Nobody had even noticed I was gone.

    Except to say, “You have a McDonald’s cup? Who went to McDonald’s? Can I have some McDonald’s?””

    I have had that exact same thing happen to me. And yes, as a mom to older children, sometimes we just don’t know what is still needed/wanted in our traditions. I grew up Catholic, but my husband is Jewish, so we do not do Easter, but I can totally relate to the mom who does everything–and then ONE time, does the wrong thing that is noticed!


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