I don’t know how to celebrate.
This weekend is Easter. My mom is the one who has always been the keeper of the traditions. She’s the one who makes the holidays special. And now she’s 300 miles away locked in her home. Alone.
And I don’t know how to celebrate.
We can’t dye eggs, which I’ve done every year of my entire life. We only have four of them and we need them for food. We can’t go to brunch, which is my favorite way to spend Easter Sunday, gorging myself on the buffet as my husband complains about the cost. We can’t go to church and feel the comradery of others. We can’t go to our friend’s house for their annual hunt. We can’t go see the Easter Bunny at the mall.
It’s the first year we won’t be celebrating Easter with extended family. The first year it will just be the four of use, our nuclear family. And while there is a certain beauty in that, there is also sadness.
It’s so sad that families cannot come together right now. To celebrate Easter. Passover. Weddings. Mother’s Day. Birthdays. Or even to mourn the dead.
In the next few weeks my daughter will have a birthday. My mother will also celebrate hers. Mother’s Day will come and go. My sister-in-law will have a baby and a birthday. My son will have his big day. My kids will graduate from elementary and middle school. So. Many. Milestones. Every family seems to have a “season” when special days are all piled on top of one another. Unfortunately, this is ours.
My son sat on my lap tonight and asked, “What’s going to happen to my birthday? How am I going to turn 11 in the middle of this?” I told him we would have a virtual birthday. A Zoom party with his friends. Maybe we’d invite some people to drive by and honk and wave. He looked at me and nodded sadly.
“OK,” he said.
This is clearly not the 11th birthday he dreamed of.
So many milestones will be celebrated in a way none of us dreamed of. From afar. Alone. Isolated in this incredibly abnormal new normal.
But we must still celebrate them. We can’t give in to the sadness. We can’t let the isolation overwhelm us. So on Easter, we will get dressed up in our fancy clothes. We will hunt for baskets the Easter Bunny managed to bring (even if they have a pitiful offering this year because someone, ahem, didn’t get things before the shelter-in-place started) and we will Zoom Nonna “all day” as my daughter said, so we can celebrate together, from afar.