Easter surprises.

I love holidays. Mostly because I love celebrations. But when we're not in a place in life we ever dreamed we'd be, holidays can be a happy and sad affair. They shine a spotlight on, (or sometimes

pour vinegar directly into) the holes in our hearts. Even though Easter is the major religious holiday of the Christian year for most (Christian) adults, and is filled with the promise of candy for most children (Christian or not) it's always felt like a "lesser" holiday to me. Even as a child, I recall feeling most excited about the flowers, the colors, and the eggs ~ three things that actually have more to do with Spring than with religion. Fortunately, you don't have to be religious to enjoy and appreciate the creative fun that is tied to Easter. And for those of us with an artistic soul, the dying and decorating of eggs is so much more than merely buying a box of Rit egg coloring at CVS. It's a chance to let loose.

I didn't decorate any eggs this year. I didn't even think of it. I wish I had. Maybe I'll paint a few tonight, whilst sipping a glass of champagne with my shrimp (not ham or - baaaahhhh - lamb) dinner. There's still time! Truth be told, I felt a momentary rush of pity-party sadness this morning when I woke up...an ache in my heart at the realization that my children were scattered around the world this year...Boston, Japan, and then one of them literally scattered, as in, his ashes. (To type "sigh" doesn't even begin to cover the tip of that emotional iceberg.) I missed the days of being the "Easter Bunny" and the excitement of little children's (or even teenagers'!) faces, smiling and jacked up on the chocolates and treats I had lovingly searched for in the yummiest of homemade candy shops.

I didn't linger in "Easter-Bunny-Land-of-the-Past" for long though. Because I know that rabbit hole all too well, and it doesn't lead to anything but a day full of Kleenex. Holiday or no holiday.

And so, I decided to focus on my blessings...which is never not the emotionally healthy choice.

I turned my last two organic eggs into a scrumptious omelette...and then, continuing on with the egg theme, remembered that I had THIS treasure hidden on a shelf amongst my throngs of beloved vintage books. And so, I retrieved it. And I actually began crying again...but not out of sadness, out of an artist's happy heart.

This little book, now ragged and falling apart, was mine when I was a little girl. My name is still written in my mother's lovely script, inside the front cover. This book holds the secret to who I am, and as I've grown up, it has had a huge lesson to share with me....that we are born with many of our passions. And they become exposed and evolve as we grow.

I don't know if you have things like this in your life, but when I look at these images, I can feel my tiny little girl heart. Not physically the same heart I now have beating in this grown-up body, but my true heart. I look at the illustrations of the richly colorful eggs in this book, being thoughtfully painted by these joyful little bunnies, and I can actually feel the way I felt when I used to gaze at these pages.

I am once again seeing through those same eyes. I remember looking at those eggs, and feeling as if I was literally ingesting the colors...I felt as if I "was one" with each of the colors. They were part of me, and I was part of them. I don't know how old I was ~ apparently old enough to deface parts of said book with a crayon, and not old enough to do a competent job of writing my own name inside of the front cover.

Each egg was painted a color of the rainbow...and the bunny siblings' color selections for each of their individual eggs were inspired by various flowers and vegetables. When I got to the the violet egg, I recall some deep inner knowing that I had discovered my heaven. Even at the tender and probable age of three or four.

What could be more wonderful than FLOWERS??? And COLORS??? And vegetables plucked straight from a garden???!!!!

And, that, my friends, is pretty much (ok, exactly) how I still feel. Granted, I've added things to that original list, but the basics remain.

Isn't it amazing to know that who we are deep inside is there all along? That what brings our heart and soul true happiness is there all along? Granted, not all of us are fortunate enough to make that connection without some deep digging...but we all have the ability to do our detective work and make those discoveries. So we can tune into our joy. Our values. And our playfulness and creativity. If you haven't done this digging, I encourage you to spend some time today doing just that...because the surprises and rewards are priceless.

And as far as other surprises go, I got a wonderful surprise this morning when I texted my (very much alive) oldest son, who is on a lengthy adventure in Japan. Realizing Easter Sunday was pretty much moments away from being Easter Monday over there, and he was most likely asleep, I wasn't expecting a response for who knows how many hours. (Or, if you know young men in their early twenties finding their independence...possibly days or weeks.) To my delight, he replied immediately to my loving Happy Easter wishes (and a shamelessly sappy and sentimental motherly side note that I was missing my "Bunnies.") Not only did a get a few texts, but also a photo...of him holding the partially eaten package of Peeps I'd included in a care package I'd mailed over a month ago. He was never a big candy eater, even on Easter, but I'd included the iconic yellow marshmallow Peeps chicks, along with the more practical items he'd requested, because I thought they'd be a warm and silly reminder of "home." With all of the extra-special and varied meanings that word can hold when one is traveling abroad.

Not only had he not eaten them yet, he'd brought them along with him on his excursion to a magical little island for a few days...and he was enjoying them, on Easter. My twenty-two-year-old son, halfway around the world, had brought a bit of Easter and a bit of "home" with him. Because perhaps his heart was remembering and missing and celebrating something, too.

And suddenly, my Easter Past was no more magical than my Easter Present.

So Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Spring, Happy April...love your past, love your present....and keep finding your magic. We all sometimes need to get our hands dirty and dig deeply for it. Because we're worth it. xxoo

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