Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

It Was a Good Day

Yesterday was a day when even the mundane felt miraculous. I guess that's appropriate, given my Christian upbringing. But it wouldn't describe it as a particularly spiritual sensation. Simply put, after a year in which every special occasion in our household felt wrong to a degree -- birthdays, Halloween, Christmas -- I was astonished to make it through Easter with barely a hint of the turmoil that has turned my life upside down since my mother's fall last February.

Yes, I did have to help my dad get her to bed this evening. Everything went as smoothly as possible, though. And, yes, there were moments when the new realities of our nuclear family intruded. Still, there was never that sense that one of us was completely elsewhere. Despite the worst allergies of the year, I managed to participate in the festivities without major incident -- antihistamines can make me a bear to deal with -- and Kim made family time her biggest priority throughout the day.

That's probably why I never felt particularly melancholy. While it's true that holiday rituals stir up memories of the way things used to be, the satisfaction of pulling off what Skylar would call a "classic" Easter more than compensated. Four years ago, I wrote an entry for the holiday musing both on how much had changed between Easter, 2004 -- the first one I shared here on Live Journal -- and Easter, 2007, contrasting photos taken on those two occasions:
As it turns out, few of the pre-digital camera images have been scanned. But I can at least share with you a picture of Skylar enjoying a rest with her mother after the hunt in 2004:

That's when this journal was still pretty new. A lot has changed in the interim. More than that, really. Sometimes it feels like everything that matters has metamorphosed. Still, when I looked at this shot from this morning and compared it to the one from three years ago, I realized that my impression of radical transformation overlooks an underlying stability. Skylar is a lot older now, but she is very much the same girl now that she was then:

It's one of the nice things about the holidays -- at least the substance-free sort we celebrate -- that they give the opportunity to believe, at least temporarily, in the expression, "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose." Next year may well mark the end of our Easter Bunny era, but we've had a longer run than I anticipated when Skylar was five. Here's to you, Long Ears.
Well, it's 2011 and the Easter Bunny still stops by our house. Yes, he leaves books and clothing now and not so much candy. But Skylar enjoys the ritual of hunting for eggs in the morning sunlight as much as she ever did. And so do Kim and I, clearly, since we both did our parts, despite her brutal work schedule and my end-of-semester frenzy, to make sure that the requisite continuity was achieved.

There were changes, of course. The Easter Bunny now likes to leave more eggs in places that Skylar wouldn't have been able to reach a few years back:

The Easter Bunny has moved on up

But she doesn't seem to mind:

Higher and higher

On the contrary, having to stretch herself seemed to validate the remarkable growth, physical and emotional, that she has experienced this past year:

Over the hood

Indeed, there were times when the front yard looked like a set for that scene in Alice in Wonderland in which the protagonist takes the medicine that makes you larger. It's never easy to take good photos when Skylar's on her hunt, but now that task has been made that much harder by the fact that she spends a lot of her time ducking mesquite limbs:

Ducking limbs

While going through my Live Journal archives, I found this photo from 2006, showing how exuberant Skylar was about the hunt back then:


These days she takes more restrained pleasure in the ritual. But I'm pretty sure she was as happy yesterday as she ever was on Easter:

A calmer joy

Also, she didn't need to bear the burden of exuberance yesterday, since our favorite cactus Fire Chief welcomed the holiday with its annual burst of stunning color:

Fire Chief celebrates Easter

Later in the day, when the three of us sat down to complete one of our newer Easter rituals, coloring eggs during the holiday instead of beforehand, those colorful blooms proved an inspiration:

Family eggs 2011

We decided to color them over at Kim's parents this year, so her dad could enjoy our company. He was watching a documentary about quarterback Tom Brady, which inspired no end of amusement in Kim and Skylar. I tried to explain to Kim that he was a Peninsula kid like herself, but she still couldn't help making fun of the earnestness of the voiceover.

She had a point. And we had a series of friendly ripostes throughout the coloring, which inspired me to make a "Tom Brady" egg and Kim, who had decided that he should be named "Bob Brady" instead, to make a "Bob" egg. It felt good to be doing something so light in each other's company. Factor in the satisfaction that all three of us derive from working on a creative project and the egg coloring was the perfect cap to a good day that was actually pretty great because we weren't trying too hard for greatness.
Tags: autobiography, daughter, days in the life, holiday, photography

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