Like the rings of a tree, where and how I’ve observed past Easters, has shaped the woman I am today. I spent my first eighteen Easter Sundays parked on a wooden pew in New Bethel Baptist Church as Rev. C.L. Franklin delivered his healing words of faith. Six of those years, from age four to ten, I rested in a sweaty relief after my Easter speech, a memorized ode, was successfully delivered before the two hundred-member congregation without the fatal flub that I’d feared for weeks.
Since the mid 1990s, as an adult, I’ve celebrated the resurrection at Unity Church of New York City and as far away as The City of Lights. After being shipped out for a week-long, global marketing meeting for a Procter & Gamble product that—I’d learn in time—would never, ever see a commercial store shelf, Notre Dame served as my consolation prize.
I’ve had an illustrious buona Pascale among the beautiful, green grounds of a walled-home on the isle of Sardinia, my hair damp and curled from backstroking through the cool of Maurizio and Luisanna’s pool, the eye of a golden sun watching overhead. Later, that day I witnessed the arrival of Easter dinner to the communal table through a veil of tears. The view of the Melis’s lovely family—their daughters Marta and Alle, Maurizio’s brother, his wife and his baby daughter, and both Nonna’s, the grandmothers—sharing their al fresco family table with Tom and I, produced an overwhemlming, saturating love. Later that afternoon, although the sky had clouded over, Tom’s eyes sunned over me—a man I deeply loved and was loved by. At the time.
The morning of Easter 2011 began at half past seven, with a bottle for Julia, a cappuccino for mom, followed by, around nine, a warm rice cereal laced with organic spinach, peas and pears, for baby. As I spooned the mixture into Julia’s bud of a mouth, before church service, she shared a broad, gummy smile with me, the variety that seemed to launch from her toes, gaining traction through her core until
it exploded across her cheeks, nearly extending to her ears.
Nothing new there.
Her grin waned, as grins do. Julia stared, directly, into my eyes, holding the connection for a long while, without blinking, long enough for me to begin weeping silent tears.
This connection— as frail as a flower, yet as strong as a thousand-year-old vine—produces new fruit, a fresh layer of lush love. I love differently because I am a different. On this day of rebirth comes a rich realization.
Then surprisingly, haltingly, Julia laughed. It wasn’t her typical, amused chuckle. Nor one of her, long strong string of giggles. The sound echoed in the air. The city still creaking to a Sunday start. Her laugh was more of an awe shucks guffaw that seemed to say to my ears, “I love you too you, silly mommy. Now feed me.”