What Begins With “A”?

ImageRecently I learned that the month of April is the “Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.” Always up for a good writing challenge, I of course signed up to participate! (I know those of you that followed my 40 days of Lent photo-a-day challenge on Twitter are skeptical because I “crashed and burned” after day 16. I have two good excuses, reasons though: 1) My “me” time is from 9:00 PM to 11:00 PM and I couldn’t take good photos at night and 2) The themes were two stifling for my creativity). Any way for this challenge, I have to blog about something that starts with the letter of the day from A to Z for the entire month of April (except Sundays). Today’s letter, being April 1, is the first letter of the alphabet, “A.”

Whenever I think about the letter “A,” I immediately have the Dr. Suess “ABC” book running through my head. . .

“Big A, Little a…What begins with A?”

Why, April begins with “A.”  And that’s no April Fool!

I wonder how many teachers are secretly rejoicing that this prankster’s holiday falls on the Monday after Easter and a lot of schools are still on Spring Break! My daughters were pretty disappointed. I can remember as a school-ager the hushed whispers and laughter in the halls, the girls’ bathroom and by the lockers as we discussed and planned how we would fool our teachers. We thought we were pretty tricky back then.

Besides April Fool’s Day, as a child I remember that April brought with it a very real anxiety in the pit of my stomach. You see somewhere I read or heard or possibly even imagined that April was tornado month. I thought that most tornadoes occurred in April because of the changing seasons. The thought of those cool and warm masses mixing it up in the sky above my house caused me to lie awake many nights, especially if it was thundering or heaven forbidden a tornado watch in effect. The tornado scene in the “Wizard of Oz” terrified me. I lived in fear of being sucked up in a tornado in the middle of the night. I sweated each day of April and rejoiced at the first day of May, some how having avoiding another tornado season (little did I know back then that tornado season lasts all summer). I’m sure the fact that we had many tornado drills at school during April and that for some reason it seemed the “Wizard of Oz” always seemed to come on TV right around Easter contributed to my April/Tornado association more than anything else.

These days I’m not as fearful April tornadoes (although I still have a keen ear for hearing the tornado sirens and will be the first one waiting on a bad storm in the basement – a must-have criteria when purchasing a home). In fact, April now brings with it anticipation of the longer days, spring flowers, budding trees, warmer weather and the A to Z.

What about you? What do you think of in April? Leave me a comment below!

 

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Does Perpetuating The Easter Bunny’s Existence Make Me A Liar?

A Cute Little Bunny With Some Eggs
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In two short days yet another holiday/occasion with a mythical being attached to it will be upon me. I can’t help but wonder who’s bright idea it was back in the day to make up these magical beings…the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Leprechauns…. What were they thinking? How did they weave the stories behind them that have gotten millions of adults and children to believe in them and keep them going?

I know my opinion probably is not one of the most popular in the world, but I really wish these imaginary beings didn’t exist. Yes, I love to see the joy on my children’s faces as they come down the stairs to find the presents under the tree, an Easter basket overflowing with candy or a crisp dollar bill under their pillows. The wonder of believing in the magic of these wonderful gift-bearing creatures brings happiness? Right?

The thing is their existence always puts me in an awkward quandary. Inevitably, my little one will start with the questions. “How does the Easter Bunny get in our house? How does he carry the basket? Where does he get all the eggs?” I struggle to answer her questions. At least with Santa the “stories” go way back and the layers of mythology are deep. So answers to her questions are more readily on the tip of my tongue. I’ll admit I’m a pretty bad liar especially on the fly.

My oldest daughter was the first to figure out that I was the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. I remember her asking me, “Mommy are you the Easter Bunny?”

“What do you think?” I replied.

She solemnly nodded her head.

“Are you disappointed?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “I’m relieved. It kind of creeped me out thinking about that bunny being in our house.”

She made sense. If Santa and the Easter Bunny can get into our house while she slept, what prevented the bad guys and monsters from getting in too? My daughter has always had a hard time falling asleep – afraid someone could get in. I assured her monsters, vampires, warewolves, etc. are made up and didn’t existence. In her mind, if the Easter Bunny could get in so could the wicked witch.

A couple of days later, she asked if I were Santa too. By the end of the week she knew the secret of the Tooth Fairy as well. I told her not to tell her friends or the other kids so as not to spoil the secret for them. She agreed. However, a week or so later my sister called to tell me my daughter had spilled the beans to her cousins.

“Sorry,” I told my sis. “She asked and I couldn’t lie any more.”

That said my youngest is still a believer. It will be a relief when she too figures it all out. I know it won’t be long as she’s a smart one. What worries me though, is that she’ll then jump to the conclusion that Jesus and God aren’t real either. After all you can’t see them either. You are just expected to have faith and believe in their existence, just as when we are children we are called to believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny only to find out they are not real. That are parents were duping us all along.  But I do have faith in God, in answered prayers, in miracles. Its just that these other ‘fake’ beings seem to muddy everything. Sure I can be the Easter Bunny, Santa and the Tooth Fairy, but I am definitely not up the part of God. I want my children to believe the things I tell them and so perpetuating the existence of these magical beings is hard for me. I want them to trust me.

It’s a little late now though to go against the grain. I went along with the ‘crowd’ and played the part this long. I believed in the Easter Bunny as a child and I still have faith in God; I feel His presence every time I look into my child’s eyes. I know my children will have that faith too. I will make sure of it.

What do you think? Is the Easter Bunny a bad rabbit?

Trick or Treat? Bah Humbug!

Halloween inevitably brings with it the custom of “trick or treat.” I don’t know who thought up the wonderful tradition of dressing up in a costume and going door-to-door to beg strangers for candy. I could probably find out in a matter of seconds via Google or Wikipedia (how did we ever live without these wonderful tools), but I actually really don’t care all that much who that genius was. It won’t change anything. Trick or treat will still come. Bah Humbug!

Yes, I know it’s the wrong holiday, but I think am the Scrooge of Halloween or at least trick or treat. Of all the holidays we have, Halloween is probably one of my least favorites. Even as a child the thought of trick or treating filled me with dread. It’s not that a I didn’t want candy…I did. Knocking on a stranger’s door to ask for candy (especially if they too dressed up and had  scary decorations) that could potentially be poisoned or razor-blade filled  made my shy, introverted body queasy. Thus, I would always make my younger sister go first. (I was just being polite. No, really, you go ahead…)

These days trick or treat appeals to me about as much as it did back then. Alas my daughters love to go and so I go for them. As an adult, my aversion to trick or treat is less about stranger danger and more about the weather. The weather? Yes, the weather. What does weather have to do with Halloween you might ask? In Northwest Ohio – everything. Nine out of ten times the weather on Halloween is, how shall I put it? Crappy. It’s cold. It’s windy. It’s rainy. This year will be no different. In fact, I’ve already been given one reprieve as the festivities have already been postponed once due to sleet and high winds and rescheduled for tomorrow night.

Halloween Past
Halloween Past

As we live out in the boonies, we’ll meet up with some friends who live in town to trick or treat. The houses are much closer together. As usual, the girls will bundle up with sweat pants and sweatshirts under their costumes and complain about having to put winter coats on over them. I can empathize with them in that regard as both a former trick or treater, who wanted to show off her cool costume, and as a mother, who just paid a small fortune for the costumes of choice and wants everyone to see how cute they look in them. (In the picture on the right is a pic from a rare Halloween past when we had beautiful weather and the girls were still young enough that they agreed to wear the coordinating costumes I got them!)

After the first block or so of candy gathering, I’ll have a pocket full of empty candy wrappers and be carrying the itchy wig I paid way too much for, while giving the youngest a piggy back ride, because she’s too tired to walk. Trick or treat lasts an hour and a half or so, and lucky for me the girls aren’t greedy and are ready to call it quits after 45 minutes or so and head back home for some pizza and more candy.

Now you may think I’m against trick or treat completely. I’m not. Truly, I’m not. Back before kids, my hubby and I lived in town. I loved passing out the candy to the kids in our neighborhood. Seeing the kids all dressed up and watching the smiles on their faces as I gave them their treats was great fun. Unfortunately, as I said we live out in the boonies and get no trick or treaters. Not even one. Though I still buy candy just in case:)

What about you? Would you rather trick or treat, pass out candy or skip the whole thing?

Crackle! Boom! Bang!

July Fourth. Independence Day. The Fourth of July. America’s Birthday. My favorite holiday! But why?

1. It Happens In The Summer (my favorite season)
Hot weather, flip-flops, tank tops and sunscreen.
The blustery coldness that bites through bulky layers of sweaters and coats is a distant memory and the colorful foliage of autumn has yet to remind me that gloves and scarves are just around the corner.

2. No-Recipe, Simple-Ingredient Food
Grilled burgers, hot dogs, water melon, ice cream, sweet corn.
I don’t have to follow a complicated recipe only to find half-way through I don’t have one of the ingredients or worse calls for an ingredient I’ve never heard of. I love the simplicity and taste of no-fuss picnic food. No menu planning or hours of cooking prep required.

3. No Gifts, No Cards, No Decorating
I don’t have to buy anything on July 4th. The holiday doesn’t involve Santa or the Easter Bunny or any holiday hero for that matter. I don’t have to figure out what gifts to buy or spend hours wrapping said gifts. I have no pine needles to vacuum or holiday letters to write or carols to sing. I don’t need to buy costumes or candy. It is one of the cheapest, relaxing holidays of all.

4. Fireworks, Baby!
The holiday culminates in an amazing display of colors, sounds and vibrations. I love fireworks. Watching the girls practice cart wheels, dance and twirl their glow sticks as they wait for dusk to fall and the fireworks to start. The look of pure joy on their faces when the first one shoots into the sky and explodes to a chorus of Oooo’s and Ahhhh’s from the crowd. When my step-son was about four years old, he grabbed my father’s cheeks and turned his face toward his. “Look, Grandpa! It’s a masterpiece!’ Yes indeed, they are!

What about you? What’s your favorite holiday?