Pepin isn't going to remember any of this. Easter Sunday might as well be Monday, or Christmas, or the day she learns to walk. So we can screw it up, change our minds about the bonnet and the basket, if we even get around to buying them. Easter doesn't need to be anything but another day she takes a poop and sleeps.
Except it's Easter. One of the Big Three. Loaded with memories, meaning, and tradition, and you want the same for your kid because there aren't a lot of days like this, the kind that define you. This Sunday is a clean slate: My family is too far, Lucy's is on vacation. For our first real holiday with Pepin, we're home with nothing to do but determine our family values.
This is how you become your parents. What else are you going to do: Google "Easter traditions" and pick some? (If you do, try the Easter ride in Upper Lusatia, Germany, where nine men in top hats and tails ride around on horseback announcing Christ's resurrection.)
Married less than three years, we're still trying to figure out if we're morning people or night people. We talk of regular yoga, the local Unitarian church, spending more time in nature, but few things have clicked into place. And the irony is that with Pepin's arrival, any traditions, habits, or even inclinations we had have largely been obliterated. Our days are too unpredictable, too preoccupied. We've been unmoored, and now we're supposed to stake our claim on unknown shores.
It seems impossible because it is: The traditions we grew up with—early church, egg hunts on the lawn, baskets hidden in the house—weren't anything special. They were simply ours. There is no other explanation for green bean casserole.
Perhaps Pepin is already defining us, not the other way around, steering us unwittingly through the chop. We have rituals now because they are easy and because we are too tired to think. Like water, parenting finds its own level, and it's there that Lucy and I—so different, so used to going our own way—will finally converge.
In the evening, as I give Pepin her bottle, I recite some nonsense: "Do you like applesauce milk? You do?? Do you like broccoli milk? You do??" and on and on it goes. It could be Latin. It could be liturgy. But it's the same every night, and it's ours.
(Photo: Pepin carrying on a Gihring Easter tradition—group ridiculousness.)