Easter is my family’s best holiday. Hands down. For some reason the mix of strict religious observance, by most family members, of the lenten sacrifices – which are finally over – combined with the competitive nature of the Easter egg hunts, and tons of sugar both in chocolate and wine form, results in an intense, hysterical, never-a-dull-moment day. And this year, the Timlin clan did not disappoint.
The day begins with all family members attending church – usually separately at our respective local parishes. However, I can almost guarantee that we all share the same experience of rushing in late (in our case like really late – today we arrived at 12:16 for noon mass), having to stand in the back or practically sit on people’s laps – you know the responsible parishioners who had the good sense to arrive for noon mass by 1130 and actually get seats. The ones who look polished and well-rested, not racing in after chugging down early morning mimosas (sans OJ) with their neighbors, hair still wet from the shower, licking chocolate off their kids’ faces – at least I hope that was chocolate! Moving on…
After church, we head to Mimi & Pa’s (my parents) where we are greeted with already flowing wine, apps, open arms and laughter by them and our treasured Aunt and Uncle from New Hampshire (Marcia & Nick). Oh, and my time-share dog Skye as my dad had wrangled her away from me again this week. Wearing this:
I know! She is a total diva. It’s so embarrassing. She insisted I buy her this dress, which I did under complete duress, and she somehow manages to show up wearing it every Easter, like she is all that and a bag of chips. What did you think I was – one of those wackos who puts cloths on her animals? Please. This is all her doing.
Anyway, kiss our hellos and then…let the games begin! The kids immediately take their places at the table for a fierce egg decorating contest (you may start to notice a trend here). Apparently we are a competitive bunch. We aren’t the ‘every kid gets a trophy for participation’ kind of family. Bella’s adorable Smurf egg wasn’t even “good enough” to get an honorable mention today. Whatevs.
Next, it’s time for the “children’s” egg hunt:
I make that distinction lest it be confused with the ridiculous, bordering on homicidal, “adult” egg hunt that we persist in competing in – for all to witness in the front yard – every year. My Aunt Marcia actually had the audacity to question if we were still doing it again this year. I looked at her, incredulously, and replied “Um…OF COURSE! What, just because we’re all over 40 now? I mean, is there really any difference between humiliating yourself by doing this at 33 as opposed to 43?” I think we can all agree we are lightyears beyond what would have been considered a reasonable stopping point for this particular holiday event.
After finding myself practically thrown under a parked car at the expense of an egg in the adult hunt, at about 6 months pregnant one Easter – I have no idea why I thought the fact that I am actively undergoing treatment for cancer would result in a less violent competition this year. My 2 younger siblings will deny this (Viv was not there to find her 1 egg – as she is generally smart enough and wimpy enough to stay out of the real fray), but I swear – one swiped aside, then the other smacked down – my lymphedema ridden arm as the 3 of us simultaneously lunged for the same egg in a flower pot in front of the garage today. One of those siblings could also be heard shouting to her offspring, during the kids’ egg hunt, statements such as, “Do it like we practiced!” and “Think like a Timlin, hunt like a Timlin!” She also teased me for my (more of the Italian than Irish persuasion) son’s lack of intensity as he came in last, and she casually suggested we “Might want to start practicing for next year tomorrow.”
Was this the same angelic, zen woman we had just taken to a spa the day before to celebrate her 40th bday?!
So yes, give us a little lenten restriction, way too much sugar, a wee bit o’ alcohol, and a contest and take cover! But, if not for family – who else could see all your crazy and still want to have you around? I love, and know how ridiculously lucky I am to have, this amazing, fun, loving, and competitive family.
This year, every holiday is that much more precious. We hug each other that much tighter, laugh that much louder, and cry that much harder. We are not ready for my cancer, or anything else, to beat us. We are competitors. And we love each other intensely. So, at the end of the day today, every single one of my adorable nieces and nephews – along with my kids – came up to me, their sweet little hands cupped together, and handed me every penny, quarter, dime and dollar they had won in that fierce Easter egg hunt. As my nephew James had just given up receiving any birthday presents, and instead asked for donations to my foundation, they all followed suit and asked me to use their money for cancer. James said it best as he proudly handed me the envelope of checks he had collected from his 11-year-old birthday party:
“These are for you Auntie Reb. Go cure cancer. I know you can do it.”