Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pay It Forward.

This was the Easter basket (although it looks more like a pail to me) that I hastily put together last Saturday night for Little Miss, who I also affectionately refer to as my Little Monkey. In fact, there wasn't even going to be a basket-pail-thingy. But at 11pm at night, en route home from the train station, I walked past a 24-hour drugstore, and my guilt led me down the seasonal aisle, where I picked up some last-minute Easter treats and trinkets for her.

It's not that we're procrastinators (well, actually, we are); we're just not Easter people. My Guy is a non-believer, and I want to but have trouble doing so (fodder for another post, another day?), which is why celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ did not make sense to us. But when I thought about the Easter egg hunt, the dyeing of the eggs, the baskets, the candies, the little frilly dresses and their matching purses, I felt guilty about all that Little Miss would be missing out on, just because I am struggling with my own faith. It was then that I realized that it doesn't always have to be about me and my beliefs. Sometimes it's just about her.

When I was little, I was enamored with Christmas. Having a Hindu mom and a Buddhist dad, Christmas was always a celebration that I witnessed from afar - the trees in the malls, the fake Santas (as opposed to the real one of course), and the beautifully wrapped packages. In our own culture's celebrations, treats for little kids always came in the form of money in a red envelope. Sure, that will be my preference now, but to a little kid, there is magic in the frantic opening of presents that you just don't get from gingerly unfastening an envelope, knowing exactly what's in there.

One Christmas day, which would have been any other day in our house, except it was a public holiday and my mom stayed home from work, I woke up to a present on my pillow. Needless to say, it took me all of two seconds to tear it open to find this doll I'd been coveting, and when I rushed downstairs to thank my mom, I found a two-foot Christmas tree by the stairs! I was speechless - for a moment anyway before it was replaced by squeals of delight. My first Christmas gift and my first Christmas tree - jackpot! My mom, part psychic, part genie, somehow knew of my secret wishes (don't they always?) and decided to, against her own beliefs, surprise me that day - one that's emblazoned in my memory forever.

And maybe that's why I felt it was OK for me to indulge my own daughter this Easter. Little Miss will probably not learn about Jesus from us, as our stories of Easter will be of spring and renewal, and the hope that they bring. But when she's old enough to see the dresses and the easter egg hunts around the neighborhood, I want her to be able to experience the joy in them herself, and have wonderful stories of her own childhood to share with her kids, just like I do because of my mom, who may not have believed in Christmas or even knew what it all meant, but she knew what would make her child happy. And she did exactly that.

In the end, I'd like to think that the tale of this basket-pail-thingy is not about giving in or selling out - it's about paying it forward.