A new year, a new totally ungodly Peaster

sage, princess of springThis year, friends emailed and called with anticipation about what our yearly Peaster plans might entail–Nate’s crazy egg dyeing? A stroll around 5th Avenue at the Easter Parade with photographic evidence?

I sheepishly admitted we didn’t have any plans.

As it turns out, more and more our Peaster tradition is no tradition at all, taking a little of this and a little of that, and making the rest up as we go along.

The Type B Mom’s Guide to Holiday Traditions.

Don’t steal it. I said it first.

We started the morning with Sage dressing like a godddess of spring, skipping out the door in a fake flower garland (best 2009 Renaissance Fair investment ever) with Thalia to the local park’s Easter egg hunt at Nate’s suggestion. As we got nearer, it because abundantly, silently, dreadfully clear that there was no Easter egg hunt.

Well surely there was an Easter egg hunt. But not here. Not today. Unless the point was to hunt for the Easter egg hunt? Because that actually could be pretty original, especially if shots are involved.

I am fortunate to have the kind of resilient children who spring back quickly from disappointment, and so we jumped in the car and headed to an early Easter brunch. Which, like many of our brunches, involves us ordering our children food then begging them to eat it for an hour. At least the biscuits were a hit.

Lunch was a bowl of matzoh ball soup from the local deli, with the promise later of a piece of chocolate covered matzoh–that we would hide at the kids’ request, thus covering the Non-practicing Atheist Jew Relatively Non-God-y Seder portion of our day.

For dinner,  we sat down to a dinner of pasta (so parve!) and goat cheese salad. Sage reminded me that “we never did the dinner with the part with the kids’ wine and you put it on your plate in little dots.”

In Sage language, this means Seder.

Oh right–the Seder.

So I grabbed the kids’ Haggadah-slash-creativity book that we adore, split the last remaining pouch of Honest Kids grape something or other into two glasses, lit two scented votives, and said the blessing over the lemon verbena candles, just as our ancestors in bondage may have, had they had access to excellent online deals on votives at Fab.com while waiting for that bread to rise. I told the quick story about Passover, skipping as fast as I could to the “part with the kids’ wine” because Sage was firsty. And then we got to the part in the Hagaddah where we talk about what we were lucky for.

One year ago: Thalia said for friends and family. Sage said for the cats. And farts. Then I asked them what they want to do better in the coming year. Thalia said coloring in the lines. Sage said fart.

This year, Thalia said she was lucky to have two great parents. She has not changed and never will.  Sage said she is lucky that she can read and that she’s the only kid in her class who can whistle.

I prefer that answer to “farts.”

Then we talked about hope and giving hope to other people, and whether we could make a promise about how we might help make the world a little better this  year.

Thalia wants to do chores to earn money for people in need, so we talked about all the kinds of charities out there. She chose one that sends girls to schools in other countries–perhaps UNICEF, or Vittana–and Sage got exceptionally excited by the The Nature Conservancy which helps save animals. Also, it’s her Papa’s very favorite charity. We made envelopes with their names and charities written on them, and pinned them to the wall to collect dollar bills and loose change over the next few months.

Finally, we hid the chocolate covered matzoh (behold, for even Nate, the fist-shaking Atheist, was all to happy to join us for this part, even re-hiding my own attempt which he deemed “too easy.”) After 160 hours or so, they found the chocolate covered matzoh (slightly melted), ate and somewhat rejected the chocolate covered matzoh, and crawled into bed with me, faces smudged with chocolate covered matzoh. They curled up on either side of me in bed, as we watched the first hour of the Ten Commandments, pausing every 6.5 seconds to explain what was going on again, who that one is again, and why they wanted to let the old lady under the stone die, and why that one lady would kiss Moses and then kiss Ramses too if she loves Moses and wow wasn’t her jewelry pretty, and isn’t it hard to believe that that one grew up to be Lily Munster?

As in my own childhood tradition, they were not allowed to stay up for the parting of the Red Sea.

{24 Comments}

24 thoughts on “A new year, a new totally ungodly Peaster”

  1. Love it. Can I at least steal the term “Peaster” for use in our mixed religious (and somewhat agnostic) household next year?

  2. Sounds like a fantastic Easter. I think “fist-shaking atheist” describes my husband to a T, and yet he, too, is all too happy to play the part of the Easter Bunny (though I sometimes have to restrain him with all my strength from telling the kids there’s no Santa). We moved Easter to Easter Monday for our own convenience, and I don’t think the kids noticed at all.
    Stephanie recently posted..slapstickMy Profile

    1. It’s nice that some of can pick and choose which traditions we get angry at, and which we don’t. He’s all for the Easter Bunny..but not so keen on Ten Commandments. Go figure.

  3. Well. This is one of those posts that demonstrate why you are beloved. How lovely! What you don’t know yet is that these memories will strengthen your girls for the rest of their lives, make them better people and better moms (should they choose to be moms) and add gently and with grace to the loving sense of family that, these days, is, sadly, a privilege. Here I am the mother of a father (!!) and from this perspective these moments, almost literally anchor us all. Nice going … I move that you skip a grade and we move you to, at least, Mom-303,

  4. i guess that’s what happens when a goy hides the matzah? he chooses the chocolate covered version to hide? because anyone with any experience would be able to predict the resulting mess 😉 but i guess that’s half the fun, and it really is better covered in chocolate.

    we actually separate the two holidays and this year we’re doing fake easter with my side of the family – made possible because it’s a totally secular easter that involves eggs and chocolate bunnies only. fake easter because it’s going to be 2 weeks late due to the overlap with passover. good thing my parents are atheists and don’t care what day jesus was resurrected, only that they can get half price candy if we do it late. i’m fairly certain that if i told them this year easter was in july, it would be just fine. frankly it’s a relief, it’s always tough eating a kosher for passover easter dinner, although i do enjoy the irony of that!

    1. Actually I have my children (and myself) to blame for hiding the chocolate matzoh. They asked, I said yes. One more reason this night is different from all other nights. On other nights, we do not place melted chocolate in white paper bags on the bookshelf…

      Your holiday sounds awesome. I love family traditions that are their own.

  5. Am currently feeling culturally bereft because I’ve not watched The Ten Commandments. Will add that to the list.

    But I can tell them all to you. And say all of the books of the Bible. Like, really fast. I’ve got some churchy skillz, thanks to my Baptist grandmother.

    Sounds like a great holiday, smudgy chocolate-covered matzoh and all.
    Kelley recently posted..Spring Break 2012: On Saying Yes.My Profile

  6. Considering I come from a family of long non-practising Catholics, they all seemed shocked when I told them I had “no plans” for Easter. Oh sure, we hid eggs, only we had to do it inside because the afternoon before we found a Copperhead hidden in the grass in the backyard and we couldn’t be sure he didn’t have a posse in waiting, so I had to make up a story about sending the Easter Bunny a warning to hide the eggs inside so he wouldn’t get bitten by any snakes either. Aside from that and the Easter baskets, we vegged at home in our pajamas all day, played Little Tykes baseball in the front yard (again…couldn’t do it in the backyard) and at dinnertime, went to IHOP and had pancakes. I kinda thought it was the best Easter ever
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  7. Being atheist eastern orthodox (atheist orthodox, now that is not seen in same sentence often), and knowing that orthodox Easter falls week later this year, I decided to keep things simple, not disappoint the kids and do all egg colouring and hunting and knocking for federally mandated holiday. Kids had a blast, hiding eggs 20.000 times and knocking them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My kids would not even consider hard-boiled eggs any other day, but on Easter they each ate more than 6 eggs!
    On Monday, I realised that other orthodox friends I have do mind their dates, and they will most likely pass for egg hunts and knocking next week. Which means I have to boil and colour yet another big batch. So it ends up more work, not less. Oh, well.

    What I wanted to point out, what left big impression on me is how grateful and charitable your kids are. Bringing up kid to think about sending other kids to school or saving animals in this day and age is remarkable feat. Especially when they volunteer doing MORE for somebody else’s benefit. I wish I could impart the same to my kids, especially my toy-grabbing-never-enough 8 year old son.

  8. I’m not an Atheist, but I’m also not a literal interoperation of the bible kind of guy either. Whiter your celebrating culture or religion or some combination of the both, traditions have their power.
    Corey Feldman recently posted..Egret can’t sleepMy Profile

    1. We’ll be sure to have an equally disjointed, non-traditional and haphazard Peaster next year then, just for you H. You can count on it.

  9. Oh, what a terrific story! I grew up protestant and my husband grew up Pentacostal. We are constantly trying to balance our respective religious upbringings (go to church occasionally vs. you’ll burn in hell if you don’t go) for the sake our son. One thing we agree on (for now) is keeping holiday dinners low key. So this year we headed to a friend’s house for cocktails and dinner in the garden. You know what? It was the best Easter ever. Here’s to family traditions!
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