Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter


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Easter morning the girls woke up and the first thing they did was search for there Easter baskets to see what the Easter bunny brought. Naturally right? We hid them to make it fun. They searched and searched. Baskets found they explored there prizes. About two hours or so later Anna had a temper tantrum. I had popped all the balloons from my daughters birthday party the night before ( I was cleaning up and it was cathartic to pop them okay?!). She was pissed that i had popped them because she wanted to play with them and walked across the living room and kicked her Easter basket across the floor!
Straight to her room she went for time out and I took the Easter basket I had so painstakingly put together for the Easter bunny and i felt sad. I felt sad because i didn't think they really understood what Easter really was about. I felt guilty that I had not given them some idea of Jesus, of something bigger than the basket she had just angrily kicked across the floor.
I'm not overly religious, I was raised in a Catholic Family. I went to CCD every Wednesday, church most Sunday's and most certainly every holiday. My Dad was adamant about it. As i got older my belief system changed. I began exploring spirituality and trying to figure out what i believed in. I decided at that moment that i would never force any particular religion on my children. I wanted them to figure out what they believed in for themselves. Never the less i was feeling sad that they didn't know the origin's of Easter or really any other holiday. They thought it was about getting gifts. So i sat down with them and asked them if they new what each of our holidays were about. I got the normal, well Christmas is about Jesus and his birth, and Valentines day is about love. "Halloween?, I'm not sure maybe about scary stuff, but we don't know why", and Easter, my kids had no idea about Easter. I felt so much guilt for not passing on my Catholic roots to my girls, even though i didn't believe it. I however decided that it was a great teaching moment. I sat the girls down and turned on my computer and i asked them if they wanted to learn the origin of all of our holidays. They were excited actually!! I got excited. I asked them questions along the way. What there thoughts were on God, on Santa, on the Easter bunny. It was interesting to hear what it was that they thought each holiday was about.
I grew up thinking that there was only one way. One religion and that all other religions were wrong. I grew up with my dad thinking it was funny to stand on the front porch and listen to what the Jehovah's Witnesses had to say and then telling them he was catholic and to have a nice day. Rude? Yes. As I got older I started questioning things. The why of things. I wanted a more in depth answer to my questions. I didn't want to hear "well that's what the bible says". The scientific part of me needed answers. When my two oldest were 3 and newborn my guilt for not having them baptized had my anxiety through the roof. I thought for sure my dad was right and my kids were going to go to hell for not being rid of "Original Sin". So In Lincoln City at an Episcopal Church I had them together; baptized or presented to god. I want to say that I felt relief when it was over and I did, but I think more I felt relief that my dad wasn't going to be ashamed of me anymore because I hadn't done it sooner. 
My two youngest children were born in a time when my life was chaos. My Father died when my youngest daughter was 10 months old and I was going through a hell driven divorce. Baptizing them was not on my mind and the circumstances surrounding my fathers death made me question even more my religion and my spirituality. At that point I was angry. I didn't believe that my children were born with sin. I didn't believe we were born sinners and I didn't believe that my children were going to hell for choices they hadn't even begun to realize they could make or not make. I thought its my job as there mother to ensure they didn't sin. My job to teach them to make the right choices. How was baptizing them going to help me with that?

Anyway I opened the Internet and typed "why do we celebrate Easter?" I was so excited when I saw that it gave the ORIGIN of the holiday and how each religion was incorporated and how each detail about Easter was explained. So we looked up Christmas, we looked up Valentines Day, we looked up Halloween, and New Years, and St. Patrick's day.We looked them all up.
What I discovered is that most of our religious holidays are a mix of Pagan and Christian beliefs. Really a mix of all belief's to some extent.
I new after this teaching moment with my two youngest girls that I had been right all along to let them decide for themselves what to believe. I also discovered in the end , that ultimately we are all pulling from the same energy force. What we want to accomplish in the end is the same thing a human man named Jesus wanted. A world where acceptance of one another is key. Where giving outweighs getting. Where love is more important than hate. It is what i will  strive to instill in my children and my grandchildren for as long as i live. Amen!!!!

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