I spent Easter Sunday with friends and their family — the oldest eighty-eight and the youngest fifteen months. Before mid-day dinner, we gathered around a newspaper-covered table and dyed eggs, with a lot of competition and oohing and aahing over one another’s artistry. The baby was too young to hunt for eggs and everybody else was too old, but we dyed eggs anyway because it was fun.
Before the Easter meal, we held hands while the great-grandfather said the blessing, then we ate delicious food amidst pleasant conversation. After lunch, since the day was sunny and warm and the baby was beginning to be bored with all the inside activity, we trooped outside where a big oak tree gave partial shade and riotous beds of red and purple and white impatiens surrounded us.
The sky was clear and sunny, flowers were throwing bright color all over the front yard, and a bubble-blowing machine wafted rainbow-hued bubbles toward neighbors out walking off their own Easter lunches. While his grandparents and great-grandfather watched and photographed him, the baby played in a plastic pool while his young parents drifted to sleep on a blanket spread on the grass. Afraid they’d get chilled, the baby’s grandfather went inside and brought out light quilts to spread over them. Then he asked his own father, the baby’s great-grandfather, if the sun was hot on his head. The great-grandfather nodded that it was, and said, “And I’m enjoying every minute of it.”
When the parents woke, the grandmother brought out a plate of sliced carrot cake and frosted cupcakes that the daughter-in-law had made. The daughter-in-law, who is newly pregnant with a second child, put dry clothes on the baby and shrugged when he promptly plunged into the pool again. She had spare clothes for him, and they could always throw the wet ones in the dryer.
I finally left bearing leftovers, and drove home giving off a happy glow. Part of my glow was simply from an enjoyable day, but it was also from the knowledge that same gentle, kind, loving gathering took place in millions of homes yesterday. It will take place again at Passover, as it does at holidays special to families of Muslims, Buddhists, Wiccans, and atheists. Because that’s who we really are, and it’s where we get our strength. Before we are Americans or Democrats or Republicans or Baptists or Catholics or Jews or whatever, we are people whose first love is for our children and our parents.
When you consider that the same thing is true for people of every nation, it makes the hope of world peace seem a little more possible.