Easter in the Time of Coronavirus

It’s Easter Sunday.

Jesus is back, but the Easter Bunny didn’t drop by. Baskets and plastic grass and chocolate rabbits just didn’t seem worth the risk of going to the store this year. I’ve joked in the past that I would kill or die for a Cadbury Cream Egg, but in the age of COVID-19, that seemed a little too real and not very appetizing. Or funny.

There are no white shoes even though Easter marks the big switch from winter clothes to summer clothes. No fancy dresses. No Easter bonnet. No pictures taken in the yard in front of an azalea bush with everyone squinting into the sun. 

No church.

Even though I usually don’t go to church, I couldn’t this year even if I was so inclined. I hate to be one of those Easter/Christmas faithful, so if I do visit the Lord’s house, I try to go on a regular old Sunday like a good guest, not a high holiday. I slip in a back pew and try to be unnoticed. There are few things I like less than a backslider who parades right up to the front row, saves a whole pew, and tries to act like they’re there every time the doors open.

I didn’t even get a ham. 

I did watch my brother the Father do Stations of the Cross on Facebook, which I enjoyed quite a bit. While I don’t much like organized church, I’ve always been a big fan of home church. You always have a seat and nobody tries to talk to you while you pray or gossips about your dress or whether your fried chicken was homemade or came from the gas station.

Plus, I don’t need to go to church to know Jesus loves me.

I did dig out an ancient box of egg dye I found in the back of a cabinet and colored eggs with Sonny Boy. 

Granny loved to color eggs. I remember going home from college just to color eggs with Granny. We’d spread out an array of coffee cups and water glasses on her oilcloth-covered kitchen table and watch the little dye tablets fizz themselves into oblivion. Then we’d dip dye the eggs — some all in one color, some in one color and then another, some half-and-half which requires a delicate balancing act with the little wire egg holder doohickey.

Then we’d set them in the cardboard holder to dry. Granny liked to rub the little transfers onto the eggs. It’s an art to get a smooth transfer using only the back of a teaspoon. She could get a smooth transfer using only the back of a teaspoon. We would also write our names on some with the wax crayon. Since we have the same name, she’d write “Granny” and I’d write “Audrey” to avoid confusion. 

I still like to color eggs. The smell of the vinegar. The bright colors. And no egg tastes as good as an Easter egg. 

These are our Easter eggs. Yes, we drew on them with the wax crayon.

This Easter Sunday marks 28 days of social distancing. That’s a solid month. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions to be sure, but I feel like now I’m on the other side of all the sad, frantic, crazy feelings I had about it. 

I actually feel good about being home. Is that bad? It’s certainly something I never expected to feel in my life as an extrovert’s extrovert.

But here’s the deal. I’ve had more meaningful connections with my friends. We’ve actually made time for each other. We’ve made an effort to get together whether it be over a virtual coffee or from two separate park benches six feet apart. I’ve spent less time on social media and more time actually being social.

I’ve made time for art. Every day at least an hour has been devoted to putting paint on canvas (actually Gessobord, but that’s a technical hair to split). It feels good to exercise different creative muscles. And I’m trying out different styles to shake things up. Plus, I’ve managed to sew two masks, even though I’m no kind of seamstress, and get started on a massive crewel project.

Since I don’t eat out nearly as much, I’ve lost a few pounds. I’ve been exercising more, taking several walks a day, doing yoga, lifting some little weights — ok, they’re only five pounds but it’s better than nothing, doing wall pushups, and going through some general stretches. I feel pretty good and energized. Lord willing, I might be one of the few people who comes out of the coronovirus pandemic actually healthier than she went into it. 

Then there’s the extra time I’ve gotten to spend with my husband and son. We didn’t need an international pandemic to learn to enjoy our time together, but us all three being together has been a silver lining for sure. At least that’s how I choose to look at it. We’ve cooked together, listened to records, and gone on long walks. We’ve just been a family present with each other.

This Easter — this coronavirus-y, socially distant, no bunny, no basket, no ham, weird-ass, can’t-even-wear-my-white-shoes-to-church Easter — as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, maybe we should also celebrate our time at home and the resurrection of the things we’ve let slide over the years. Things like making time for family whether it’s the people you’re sheltered in place with or the ones you see on your screens. Like connecting with friends in more ways than just giving a thumbs-up to words on a screen. Like spending time making something beautiful, or even something that’s not-so-beautiful, just as long as you’re being creative. Like getting outside multiple times a day to stretch your legs and feel the warm sunshine on your face. Like noticing the bluebirds diving down from the trees to snatch up an unlucky bug. Like breathing in the scent of all the flowers and trees that are blooming right now, even if it makes you sneeze (appropriately into the crook of your elbow).

And while I’ve been having all these Easter thoughts and trying to wax reasonably poetic about them, I’ve still been having this weird thought:

I’m on day 28 of social distancing/sheltering in place. Now as every woman knows (and I hope most of you men are reasonably aware), that’s the number of days in the average menstrual cycle. We’ve seen and heard all the stories of people going crazy trying to buy up all the toilet paper, but what I haven’t heard is whether there’s been a run on “lady products.” Talk about essential items — that’s one thing that never takes a break no matter what’s happening in the world around you. Maybe people are squeamish about talking about periods in public, but if you’ll talk about the need to use toilet paper you might as well get on board with everything that’s going on “down there.” There’s no shame in the lady game. 

What’s happening next week, you ask?

  • It’s Brother’s birthday! So we’ll be celebrating him the best way we can given our current limitations.
  • I’ll be sticking to my schedule because it’s working for me. What’s been helping you cope with being at home?
  • There will definitely be more painting and sewing and crafting. 
  • I’m going to try this New York Times recipe for spicy meatballs and chickpeas. (I’m sorry you have to create an account to see the actual recipe, but it’s free and they have a lot of great recipes.)
  • I’m going to start working on an online class I’ll be teaching for UAB’s Artplay next month. It will be a beginner’s creative nonfiction creative writing class for adults, and unlike the in-person class I taught earlier in the year, if you’ve got the internet, you can take this class from wherever you are. And if you have kids at home, ArtPlay has a ton of new videos on YouTube to help keep them engaged and entertained including some by yours truly.

Happy Easter, y’all! Stay home, stay safe, and stay in touch

This is one of my favorite pictures of Brother and me. Wasn’t he a cute baby?! And it just proves that I’ve always been a fashionista.

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