Easter fell early this year, safely out of the bounds of April (that strange amalgamation month of beauty and warmth and loss). I woke up early Sunday morning feeling hopeful, lingering sleepily in bed after days of seeping, creeping light.
Easter has not been easy for me, though if I look back far enough I can almost feel how much I loved it once. But ever since April of 1993, that last lighthearted holiday our little nuclear family spent together a week before my father's death, it's been a mixed bag of chocolate and rage.
Last year was going to be different, as Evan and I waited for news of my nephew's birth and as Mom and I shared gleeful conversations about an Easter baby: a joyous April, even, to replace or to soften our still-sometimes sad springs. But then Easter morning Nathan called and in stricken words told us that all was not well with his newborn son, and I got so caught up in anxiety and fear that I couldn't quite seem to stop crying -- not sobs, not drama, but constant slow tears -- for much of the rest of that day.
Later that afternoon our friends Matt and Courtney came for Easter dinner. We went for a walk up to Fort Tryon park, through the gardens and up to the overlook from which you can see all of upper Manhattan and on into the Bronx. We stood there for awhile, and it was windy and clear and bright, and bless them, they talked enough for all of us until I was able to find my words again.
We went home and drank their strange and delicious drinks and ate Evan's strange and delicious Mexican Easter feast (tuna empanadas and shrimp cakes in broth and other delicacies I can no longer quite remember). April wore on and we flew to Portland to meet the wee babe, and spring wore on and I fell a little bit in love with this nephew of mine, and the year wore on and here we are at another spring, another Easter, a first year almost complete, and he is so very adorable and wonderful and strong.
This past Sunday morning found me and Evan in a tangle of emotion, circling each other in a swirling dance of frustration and sadness and love. Matt and Courtney once again got thrown into the middle of this semi-toxic milieu, and once again brought such warmth and affection with them that Easter, in the end, became beautiful.
I feel like it happens less and less the older I get: meeting new people who become so quietly integral. It hadn't occurred to me until going to bed that night that this couple -- this gorgeous, quirky, brilliant couple -- have been in our lives long enough now for us to have created traditions with them.
The days since then have been good to me, and I am hopeful that the rest of this April, of this spring, will be good to me, too.