Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Full Circle

When I was growing up, holidays were always big, loud days filled with cousins to play with, the laughter and banter of uncles watching football, overflowing meals of Polish and Italian and Irish food, and an abundance of filled candy dishes. The men would go for a ride or fall asleep in the living room after the meal, and the women gathered for coffee, gossip and sweets in the kitchen after the dishes were done. The kids would play outside or head down to the basement to ride Big Wheels and play Barbies. When it was time to go home there would be frantic negotiations to have this cousin or that one spend the night, and then a sleepy ride in the car, with a carefully wrapped stash of homemade Easter bread in the trunk to take home. Those days are some of the best memories I have.

As we got older, and the families extended even further, holidays started to splinter off into immediate families. We saw less and less of the extended cousins, aunts and uncles. Every family started their own traditions. But I missed the big holidays of my youth and this year I decided that we would throw open the doors for Easter and invite the extended family. Phone calls were made to cousins and aunts and uncles. And on Sunday we had over 30 people.

Heading out the door for the Easter Egg Hunt.

It was loud, and filled with kids and laughter and Easter eggs. After a huge meal and an Easter Egg Hunt,the men went for a ride down the road to check out the house that my cousin is building. The women did the dishes and laid out the desserts. We made coffee and gathered around the table to laugh and gossip. The kids ran in and out swiping candy from the many baskets and bowls scattered around the house. The older kids played football in the back yard, while the little kids ran all over the house.

Checking out the Easter Egg's he found.

At one point the basement door opened and we could hear a loud racket from below. My kids were down there riding Big Wheels with their cousins. And then it hit me that it had come full circle. My kids were enjoying exactly the kind of Easter that I did when I was a kid. And that was better than a whole basket of Peeps.

Better than all the Peeps in the world.


Smiling Mama said...

This post made me tear up! This exactly describes my holidays growing up--with 18 first cousins it was a madhouse! Now my cousins and I are trying to make sure we can get together on a somewhat regular basis so that our kids get that same big-crazy-family childhood that we had!

Karen said...

Ahh, I love that you can do that for your kids! We have always lived far from family, so I never had that, and always wished I did.
Definitely better than Peeps!

Laura said...

That is wonderful... I'm so glad you had a nice time and it is an eye opener to sit back on those days and realize that we have become what our parents were to us. This is wonderful writing.