This weekend, the boyfriend and I are headed to the Coast to celebrate Easter with his family. I'm kind of excited. While I've celebrated holidays belatedly with Kellen's family before, this is my first actual holiday with his folks. His brother and his brother's girlfriend will also be there. It should be pretty fun.
All the same, I can't help but feel a little sad that I'm missing out on the fun back home. I talked to my mom this afternoon, and they'd celebrated Easter today. My whole family came to my parents' place, ate burgers (a new tradition, I guess?), and my cousin's little girl went on several egg hunts. Mom said she teared up a little as they were preparing for the festivities. All the family would be there except her kids.* I think she'll be fine, though. She was talking about opening a bottle of wine and relaxing on the back porch when I called, so I'm assuming she's moving on to other things.
Growing up, I came from a big, close knit family. Every Saturday, we would have dinner (in Southern speak, this is lunch) at my great-grandmother's, and every Sunday, we would have dinner at my grandmother's. I had several cousins that I saw on a weekly (at least) basis. In a lot of ways, they seemed more like siblings because they were always there, and certainly when I was younger, more constant companions than any of my other friends.
The holidays were always a complete mess, with kids running everywhere, lots of noise, and lots and lots of love.
Easters were always very fun. They would start first thing Sunday morning with presents from the Easter bunny and an egg hunt around the house. Then, my mom would dress my brother and me to the nines. Some years, my aunt would pick us up for church. Other years, we skipped church and went straight to my grandmother's. What I remember most about Easters are the big dinners (with deviled eggs and mashed potatoes...mmm) and the egg hunts in my grandmother's back yard. My older cousins, the red heads Sarah and Toni, would hide eggs for us younger kids.
As I got older, the holiday changed. For one, all of the kids grew up. Even Kelli, who is four years younger than the youngest of us grew up and got too old for the tradition. Easters became more like every other Sunday: lots of food, lots of family, not so many egg hunts. And when I started college, I usually didn't even come home for Easter, because school rarely ever gave us an extra day off to make the 12-hour round trip worth it. Still...I get nostalgic looking back on the holiday as it was when I was little.
This isn't my first year to spend Easter with a boyfriend's family. My freshman year of college, I got my first "real" boyfriend, and his parents invited me to spend Easter with them. It was the first time I'd actually met them, and I was kind of nervous about it—not least of all because they were sort of the stereotypical East Texas conservative types, and I was sort of...not that at all. All the same, it ended up being a pretty good experience. Everyone seemed to like me, his mom made me an Easter basket which made me feel very sweet, and I didn't get outed as the evil liberal I am...that time.
This year is obviously a little different. For one, I know Kellen's family pretty well already, and they love me because I'm an evil liberal. For another, this is a family I know I'm going to be a part of long-term, which means that the Easter traditions they have are going to become in many ways my traditions, too.
I wonder what kinds of memories our kids will have of Easter. Kellen and I are both one of two children in our families, so obviously, the number of cousins our kids will have to run with will probably be a lot smaller. Also, because our families are all over the United States, it's less likely our kids will see their cousins as often as I saw mine growing up. It's weird to think that my kids could have such a different experience growing up than my own...but I guess that's a part of starting a new family. Making your own traditions.
Anyhow. I'm really missing my mom and all the rest of my family today, and maybe I'm missing childhood a little, too. But I'm also very excited about the future.
* My brother is in the Air Force and is in training in California.