|Eli, coloring eggs (Note the cup of dye that JUST spilled!)|
We all know that families are defined by their customs and traditions, so for me, one of the biggest challenges of being a step-dad was stepping into a situation where it was expected that we continue the ones that had been previously established before my arrival while somehow managing to create new rituals of our own.
The “problem” is, my wife and I both come from close families, yet we rarely come close to agreeing on how holidays should be celebrated. Nothing major or upsetting, mind you, just simple things, like when (and how) Christmas presents get opened. Christmas Eve on her side looks like a ticker tape parade down Broadway, while Christmas morning on mine resembles a quiet kindergarten Show & Tell. Or how to decorate for Halloween. My side goes for the elaborate haunted house look, while her side says, “You decorate for Halloween?” Thanksgiving dinner at my house coincided with halftime of the football game, while her family prefers the TV off in order to talk and visit. My family stops celebrating birthdays with parties between the ages of 15 and 40 - her’s never stop!
But I’m a go with the flow kind of guy. I’m more than happy to make their traditions my own. And if no one wants to join me as I race around the house beating a pot with a spoon at midnight on New Year’s, so be it. But there is one tradition I will not allow to "dye"
My first WTF moment in marriage didn’t come until eight months after we were married. It was the night before Easter, 7-year old Julianna had just gone to bed, and I was getting out the eggs for the “Easter Bunny” to hide.
“You’re doing what now?” my wife asked, eyeing the basket of eggs warily.
“Um, hiding the eggs?” I said, confused.
“In the house?”
“Of course in the house!”
“Uh, yeah! Why do you think we colored them all?”
“To put in the basket…”
“Right! You put them in the basket as you find them!”
“Wrong! The Easter Bunny puts them in the basket along with the candy!”
“He does not! He puts them in your shoes. And behind the curtain. And under the couch. He even unscrews the ceiling light and drops one inside. Then he hides the basket!”
“Real eggs? The kind that need to be refrigerated else you get salmonella? The kind that stink and smell like sulphur? That’s what your Easter Bunny does?”
“No, that’s what THE Easter Bunny does.”
And so it went. Eventually we settled on a compromise and hid some plastic eggs around the house. And while Julianna seemed to enjoy the novelty of it, I could tell she was more aligned with her mom on this one, so that was the last time we hid the eggs. But that’s all about to change! Thanks to an egg that I fertilized, I now have a new kid that I get to raise from the ground up. And this year I’m putting my furry foot down and being the Bunny!
Of course, with Eli only being two,” hiding” the eggs will consist of leaving them out in plain sight for him to collect. But after a year or two of practice, he’ll be ready for the big time. Now if I can just find a place to hide the remote on Thanksgiving so that no one can turn the game off, I’ll be all set!