I was going to have J go to the store and get the goods to make his basket. I make E's basket every year. My husband would rather buy one of the store-bought ones at Wal-Mart, which I hate--The toys in them are cheap, as is the candy, and there really isn't much to them. I tend to buy more expensive baskets that can be reused for another purpose in the house, and stuff them with all sorts of candy, a book or two, and maybe some other smaller toys. As kids, my brothers and sisters and I would always have some sort of stuffed toy too, but I don't do that. What purpose do they serve? Years later, you have this army of plush bunnies and chicks that just collect dust. So I choose to buy things E will actually like.
So back to J and Easter shopping: I am having visions of last Easter. I got stuck working a 10 day stretch in the days leading up to and following Easter. If you don't work in healthcare and have never done this, it is Hell! After day 3 or 4, you are on auto-pilot. So I go into work on the 7th or 8th night, I cannot remember which, and all of my coworkers are talking about Easter. It is 6:30 PM the night before. The next morning was Easter. And I had just clocked in for 12 hours of ICU fun. I had completely forgotten about E's basket. So I call J and frantically tell him he has to put on his Superhero Daddy Hat and save the holiday. He has my debit card, he can do this right? He assures me it is no problem. E can play with the neighbors' kids while he runs to the store to Save Easter! I am reassured.
Until later that night. After E has gone to bed and J is free to talk to me on the phone out of E's little earshot. What did J do? Did he buy one of the cheesy store-made baskets? No, I wish. He bought my kid a package of Reese's eggs. That's it. Reese's eggs. Happy Easter, E! I was so upset my heart broke and I cried for hours from the mix of sleep deprivation and disappointment for my baby boy. That, and when you have kept the schedule I have kept for years, you don't exactly feel like Mother of the Year. So any shortcoming makes you feel even worse. In my mind, it was my fault. I should've been there. And I wasn't. I tried to salvage what I could of the holiday on my way home in the morning, but the stores were all out of Easter-style baskets. E, instead, got some non-Easter candy in a plastic bin. The worst Easter basket. Ever. But he is E. That means nothing to you because you don't know him, but let me explain. My baby has the kindest, gentlest heart there is. I have seen him give away toys to kids on the street. I have seen him cry over beggars with "Will Work For Food" signs. Just a month or so ago, he overheard J and I talking about our finances and the strain this pregnancy has put on us, and came upstairs with his piggy bank, offering to help. I don't know where he got all of this: he has been an only child and completely over-indulged all of his life. Instead of being greedy and having that sense of entitlement most spoiled, priviledged children have, my son has a kind, generous heart. So when he got the Easter basket from Hell, and was still completely thrilled and appreciative, it made my heart weep even more. When you have a child like him, you want to give them everything.
So this year, I am on bedrest, and we are quite honestly broke from months of the breadwinner (me) in the house not working. And paying medical bills from our worst nightmares. What am I to do? There is no way my baby will have a repeat of last year. No way!!! So off we went to Wally World. Apparently so did everyone else in the free world. There were no scooters available for me to ride, so I had to sit in the car and trust J once again. But his time? I put the fear of God in the man. I think I told him something to the effect that he would be singing soprano until next Easter if he didn't come through for me. So E and I sat in the car, and J did the shopping. And he did remarkably well. He bought a bag of every Easter candy they had. And he loaded it into the back of the car without E even knowing there was anything in those bags other than some groceries we needed. And we got home, and E happily ran from the car to his swing in the back yard while we snuck it all in the house and assembled the basket. There was so much candy that there are still bags full, even though the kid's basket must weigh at least 20 pounds. He didn't get the books and stuff like I would've, but no one can ever do it like Mama can. But he still did well with an adorable deep blue wicker basket that is absolutely overflowing.
Thank you, J.
So E comes in long after the basket and candy is stashed away in the closet, and he wants a cup of juice. I mention that tomorrow is Easter, and that I wonder if the Easter bunny will find us in or new house this year. E ran off, and I assumed he had gone back outside until I heard his little footsteps on the stairs. He showed up at my side with a few plastic eggs filled with candy, leftover from their Easter party at school, and he proudly thrust them at me: "Here, Mama," he said. "If the Easter Bunny can't find us tomorrow, I'll share my candy with you and baby Zachary."
See what I mean? Where, oh where, did this most amazing, perfect, angel of a child come from, and who thought I was good enough to deserve him?
(Image: E, with the most gorgeous brown eyes you will ever see, taken last year at 7 years of age.)