It’s my last hour at work and I am waiting for my last group to show up for Easter cookies. I’ve played the waiting game ALL DAY so I’ve been really bored. I’ve also had to smell sugar cookies ALL DAY (I hate sugar cookies) and I am over it. Thankfully, I have entertaining friends and friends I can talk football with for hours on end, even if it is college football. Now I just need that last group to show up so I can shovel out the last of my easter cookies (I have six trays full), get away from the sugar cookie/ frosting smell and go home.
I got put in charge of the majority of the easter festivities at work. I’ve had two days of cookies, peeps (worse than sugar cookies…gross), cadbury eggs, malted balls, and every other type of sugar you could imagine. I don’t mind doing holiday themed activities; I actually enjoy it. I know it sucks being cooped up in a hospital on a holiday away from your family, so I like to do something special for the clients.
As I prepped and set up 300 cookies for clients to decorate, I found myself missing my mother. This caused me to want to buy a ticket and go home. I actually started looking for tickets and realized that although I would love to see my friends (always missing my California family) it wasn’t the reason I wanted to go home. I wanted to go home to see our old house, to see my dog and to see my mother. I wanted to hear her voice, listen to her laugh and just talk to her. I know that I can’t…but in that moment, I really wanted to. I really, really wanted to go home.
I found myself getting teary eyed and sad and then realized that I was at work…and this was the last place I wanted to have one of my “ImissmymotherandIamgoingtostartbawling” breakdowns. Although I do work at a mental hospital, and probably could get away with having a crying fit, I didn’t want that to happen at work. Thank God for friends who love football and don’t mind explaining aspects of college sports. You kept my mind off of her and saved me from losing it at work. Thank you.
My “ImissmymotherandIamgoingtostartbawling” breakdowns don’t happen as often as they used to, but every now and then, one sneaks up on me. They are usually triggered by holidays. I know that Easter is tomorrow and I have a full day planned with church and friends, but I still really miss her.
Easter was something my mother made sure we never missed. There were times we did not have a car, and my mother would make us take several buses and trains just to get to our church in South Atlanta. It was quite a trek to that church from Marietta. It was hot, humid and in my mind…not worth it. However, we still went, no matter what.
As any Southern girl knows, it was all about the Easter dress you wore to church that day. When I was younger, my mom would go all out on an Easter wardrobe for us each year. Along with the puffy dress, she would buy us shiny shoes, hats, bows and socks trimmed with lace. Out of all those things, the thing we treasured most were the socks. My sister and I would eventually turn those socks into Barbie clothing and my mother flipped out each time. Yet, she bought those socks each year knowing what we would do to them.
As a kid, I had a love/ hate relationship with Easter. There were various reasons for my dislike of the holiday. Most of my reasons were silly. Easter was something I loathed because I was a tomboy, I was forced to wear a dress, and dresses prevented you from making mud pies out of Georgia clay, climbing trees and rolling down grassy hills.
The main purpose for those Easter dresses was to look pretty and that was all that was allowed. I, being the rambunctious and somewhat clumsy child that I was, HATED it. We were only allowed to sit in those Easter dresses, or daintily search for Easter eggs. My little sister had it down, but I was far from dainty. I usually ended up with some sort of scuff or grass stains.
Another reason I did not like Easter was church. Don’t get me wrong, as a kid I loved God. I loved reading my children’s bible. I wanted to know everything I could about Him. I wanted to meet Him, talk with Him, play Barbies with Him. I just didn’t like Him in a church setting. Strange things happened in church that I didn’t understand, and I associated God with that strangeness.
As a child, I found church to be confusing and restrictive. You couldn’t talk, move around or play with anything…you had to sit still and listen, which was a death sentence for me. I only lasted 15 minutes before I’d get popped for being restless. My mother usually brought paper and crayons to keep me busy. This usually worked, until it was time for worship and prayer. During this time I had no idea what was going on and was often moving around to watch all the people during worship.
At my church, people spoke in tongues, were very loud, and would often “fall out” by being struck by the Holy Spirit. I am used to this now, and understand that it is not all weird and scary, but as a child it was frightening. I remember this one woman at our church with a very bright watermelon colored suit and equally bright hat “falling out” each Sunday around 11:15. Her friends would rush over with their hats and fans, fanning her as she shook on the floor. They would exclaim that she had been hit by the Holy Spirit and they would loudly thank God for it. Then she would get up, scream and run around the church yelling “Yes Jesus!!!” The chorus would get louder and louder as she ran, the organ player would play faster and the church would start clapping loud and fast. It was quite a show.
In my young mind…it was the scariest thing I’d ever seen and I wanted nothing to do with it. It seemed to get worse on Easter Sunday as more women “fell out”. I spent most of the Easter service watching the clock waiting to be released to Sunday School.
During one of the services, I tugged on my mom’s skirt to ask her why she didn’t “fall out” like the woman in the watermelon suit. She swatted me then, because I asked it loudly right in the middle of church. Once we got in the car, my mom explained to me that people experience God in many different ways. I remember telling my mother that I was worried that we didn’t love God enough because we didn’t jump about or fall out as the women did at our church. She smiled at me, and said that people show God their love in many different ways and He did not love us any less for it.
Satisfied, I stopped questioning my mother about the woman, but I still avoided the woman in the watermelon suit like the plague. She still scared me. She tried to hand me candy one easter and I took off running.
Despite the things that I disliked about Easter, there were many that I loved. I loved waking up Easter morning seeing a basket filled with goodies and a note from the Easter Bunny. I loved dyeing eggs with my mother and sister. I loved running through the lawn (with my mother screaming at me not to get dirty of course) looking for eggs and filling our baskets.
Although I hated getting ready for Easter services, I loved sitting in the kitchen with my mom as she attempted to run a hot comb through my thick hair. I loved feeling her fingers on my scalp as she tried not to burn me. I hated getting my hair done, but I knew that when it was all over, I was going to look pretty.
I loved going to Sunday school to learn about Jesus. I didn’t like hearing about what happened to Him on the cross, as I felt it was unfair and I didn’t want him to die. I could picture the nails going into his hands and feet. I eagerly awaited for the teacher to get to the part where he arose again and went back to Heaven. I knew then that He would be okay. There was so little that I understood about Jesus then, but I knew I loved Him.
I loved the meal that was to await us after church. We often got together with my aunt, uncle and grandparents for Easter. My mom wasn’t big on cooking, but she went all out on holidays, and the meal was delicious. I would fill my plate with potato salad, honey glazed ham, baked beans, collar greens, sweet potato casserole and macaroni and cheese. We would stand around the table and pray, but the whole time I wished that they (usually my aunt) would pray faster so I could start eating. My mom would often flick the inside of my palm as she held my hand as she could “see” the faces I made as my aunt prayed. Her eyes were always closed, but she always knew what we were doing. It was creepy.
Every year we got together for Easter, up until my mother passed. Each year she kept up the same traditions …minus the dresses FINALLY! She allowed us to dress ourselves, we often bought a basket for the household and we still died eggs. She still cooked an exorbitant amount of food and we still got together as a family. I loved Easter with my mother and the memories are something I will always cherish.