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Planning the perfect Easter

 Posted: 2:00 AM April 01, 2013

I'm sitting down to write this column just before Easter. This year my son, Silas, and I are driving up to Portland to celebrate Easter with my sister. Actually this is just a coincidence since Easter happens to fall at the end of spring break this year and I was feeling guilty about the fact that I had spent most of spring break working and not doing anything more exciting with Silas than going to a movie.

Plus, Silas got a cold this week, and I remember as a child that I felt that life was profoundly unfair when I happened to get sick on a school holiday. My sister Marley exhibited true bravery and said that my favorite runny nose and I were welcome to come visit for the weekend.

I find Easter a very difficult holiday to plan for. When I was a kid my parents always had multifamily get-togethers. They rotated houses, and a couple times we even went out to Emigrant Lake for picnics and egg hunts. We dyed eggs, ate pastel candy, and occasionally some of us would go to church.

Now, as the parent of an only child, I find Easter a much quieter holiday than the celebrations of my past. I guess it could be possible for me also to plan parties and round people up for an Emigrant Lake picnic, but every year I am completely taken back by Easter.

According to some extensive research conducted by me via Google, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. I don't believe it. That sounds completely made up to me.

Why don't people just be honest and admit that in some secret calendar company meeting every year people throw darts at a board labeled with the Sundays of March and April? In fact, the day that people determine when to celebrate Easter could be another holiday. Hallmark could make cards proclaiming a "Happy Dart Determination Day!" I would buy that card.

When I was little I wore cute little sun dresses on Easter. Looking through old family albums of me I was surprised that the weather was always good enough for me to wear a knee length dress on Easter.

Just in Silas' eight years I think we've celebrated Easter with at least as many rain-enforced indoor Easter egg hunts as we have the outdoor variety. Plus, I feel like a big success if Silas is wearing clean clothes for pictures, let alone a fancy new Easter outfit. Now that I am a parent I become more and more impressed with my own parents.

Silas is excited to celebrate any holiday or milestone. He likes the planning and the surprises and having his whole extended family together. He's happy to spend a five-hour car ride up to Portland snacking in the backseat and playing with his little hand-held Nintendo and announcing he has to pee three-and-a-half seconds after we pass a rest stop.

My sister Marley is definitely the fun aunt, so next year I feel like she and Silas can take over the holiday planning. I'll just show up in my new spring dress.

After looking through family photo albums I came to the conclusion that I didn't just wear a dress for Easter, I wore them every day. According to my mother, I spent many years of my childhood refusing to wear anything but a skirt or dress. Of course I also had a pretty major lisp, so who knows what I was really trying to insist on. I was probably actually announcing a weather report predicting rain on Easter.

Zoe Abel is packing for her trip to Portland. Traveling with an 8-year-old requires packing more snacks than clothes. You can contact her at

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