Anyway, I hope that you enjoy this reflection on the joys of Easter, as seen through the eyes of a child.
Most Americans have fond, childhood memories of by-gone Easter weekends. Some of them might recall the time spent with family and friends at home or at church. Other people may remember particularly exciting moments from their Easter egg hunts or reminisce about some special gift they received from a beloved relative. While their stories may differ, almost everyone probably has at least one or two cherished memories which are connected with the Easter season. Their tales are at once unique and at the same time contain ubiquitous elements that result from shared perspectives, beliefs, and experiences. As a result, I feel that many of my readers will be able to empathize with at least parts of my personal, Easter narrative.
When I was young, I used to look forward to Easter for several reasons. On the one hand, I knew that I would not have to attend school on the Thursday and Friday before that holiday. I craved this time off, especially since I did not have many vacation days in between Christmas and Easter. Coming from a Catholic family, I also had to give up something every year for Lent (the 40 days preceding Easter), which in my case usually meant forgoing either candy or soft drinks. For adults, this action often has a special significance; it helps them refocus their attention on their obligations to God and to their fellow men and women. As a young child, I did not make these connections; I simply saw it as my duty to family and God and did not hesitate to end my agreement as soon as the clock struck midnight on Easter morning. I also became excited at that time of year because I knew I would receive a basket full of candy on Easter Sunday. I already knew what types of sweets would be in the carrier, as the assortment of jelly beans, peanut butter cups, candy bars, and other goodies did not change from year to year; nonetheless, I still maintained a youthful sense of anticipation.
In many ways, Easter Sunday was always a letdown. I had to get up earlier than usual so that I could dress in my very best clothes before heading to church. I then had to sit through a mass that lasted longer than usual and a church luncheon event that was usually rather dull. As an adult, I can appreciate and enjoy these aspects of Easter, the 8 or 9 year old version of me could not. I did enjoy myself once I got home, as I could stuff myself full of jelly beans and other types of candy. At the same time, I lamented the fact that I had to go back to school on Monday.
While my childhood, Easter experiences would not be considered newsworthy, they were an important part of my life. I had a chance to feel all the joy, excitement, and (sometimes) boredom that are part and parcel of any good Easter experience. I also had the chance to bond with family in ways that I did not appreciate at the time. I will cherish these memories for the rest of my life, and in this respect, I do not differ from other Americans.
-- Anthony Hopper
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