There’s No Easter Bunny Either, Charlie Brown
Do you remember “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and how the Peanuts gang compared treats after every house they visited? Candy, gum, pennies, and…
“I got a rock.”
I know how you feel, Charlie Brown. Except I got soap. You were right, there is no Great Pumpkin. I found out the hard way there’s no Easter Bunny either.
Charlie Brown was a good brother. He was overjoyed when his baby sister came along, protected her when he could and let her learn lessons the hard way when necessary. I’ll stop there with the Charlie Brown comparison, before we get into the lovable loser with no charm or athletic skills.
I don’t know if this is true for every single woman but “sister” is a role I cherish. If someone asks, do I have a family, it surprises me when they correct my “of course,” with, “no, I mean do you have kids.” It hurts too.
My oldest sister, let’s call her Sally, because she is nothing like Lucy (and just in case she reads this) took over as family matriarch when my mother died, 30 years ago. Maternal duties were thrust upon her before she made her First Communion. As a child, I did not like that very much. She felt the same.
Then she got married at 21, moved out of the house and became a wonderful person. Loving, caring, protective. Nice even. Who knew? Not this little sister.
“Sally” exercises her maternal privilege to host all the major holidays. Part of our sisterly bond is a shared preference for sweets. She exercises restraint. Me? Not so much. Being single means Reese’s Minis Peanut Butter Cups are a legitimate meal.
Cookies baked for Christmas, cheese cakes (and pumpkin pie) for Thanksgiving, Be Mine candy for Valentine’s Day. Jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, robin’s eggs, butter cream eggs, coconut cracked eggs… none of that pretentious substitution of books or movies either.
I can’t speak for the rest of my siblings—who cook and eat real food—but the goodies are a major incentive for getting me to drive to the suburbs, and I really need an incentive. In my entire life, I only lived in the suburbs once, for seven months. I gained 15 pounds. Not going there again.
The real reason I go is because I am the youngest. If Sally gets to be the mom, I get to be the kid and that is extremely comforting.
Last Easter, when I trekked to the other side of hell, my niece (31) and her brother (28), and their respective soon-to-be-betrotheds, were home, for the first time in a long time. Sally didn’t make Easter baskets this year. Not even dyed eggs (blech).
Oh, she did have candy, for who she calls “the kids”– niece, nephew, fiancés. Female fiancé (FF) has celiac so she can’t eat chocolate (or something like that) but Swedish Fish are ok.
I eat Swedish Fish. Just saying.
My candy coveting was not obvious. In fact, I understand that every tradition ends or morphs eventually. Usually this happens when you grow up. I don’t want to grow up if it means I don’t get candy.
That said, the only jelled treats I crave are jelly beans, so the fake sugar fish and other artificial treats that would have been in the Easter baskets if there were Easter baskets were no a great loss.
Then there were presents. Niece and FF got nice purses with handy stuff stuffed inside. Again, not bothersome; I have an obscene number of purses. Watching the changing of the generations made me wistful, not jealous.
Easter would be all about the ham now. Sigh.
Sally, wise elder that she is, realized the potential for hurt feelings, so she had something stashed for me and my other sister.
I wish she had not.
The kids got leather bags.
I got soap.
Soap that I am almost certain was a “free gift with purchase.” Nothing wrong with re-gifting the free gift.
Unless it’s soap when you were expecting Hershey’s. She might as well have punched me in my empty stomach.
To a casual reader, my reaction to soap vs. candy might sound worse than anaphylactic shock. (Unless your mother played favorites and it makes perfect sense.) Clearly this was about more than chocolate.
There is something about moving up the generational line a little closer to death that is more unsettlingly than, say, graduating from the kiddie table and it rattled me I guess.
But upon receiving my rock, er, soap, my reaction was to laugh uncontrollably. This was funnier than Charlie Brown.
Until the next day, when I told a friend the “I got soap” story. She was the first one to channel the bald, moon-pie (yum!) faced cartoon character. She also knew me well enough to understand the experience would shake me, and to her, my feelings weren’t crazy. They made perfect sense.
Getting soap = Lucy snatching the football away.
Sisters share a special relationship, deeper than the roots of a sweet tooth. We know each other longer and better than anyone, including parents. Siblings are likely your only true partners-for-life. Good memories endure, conflicts fade. Time spent together is not important. Knowing they exist is enough.
Big sisters are role models for little sisters, or as in my case, anti-role models. Sisters teach us when to trust, how to settle skirmishes and upon whom we can rely.
Apparently they also teach us to be clean.
Bad times bring us closer. We had bad times for most of my life, until I was 16, when my mother went to rehab. And my sister moved out. Just saying.
I love my sisters and brother. I love my nieces and nephews. I loved my place in the family. Things happened this year which cause me to feel adrift and apart from my closest relatives.
Still, are you thinking what I’m thinking? I am the sister we should call “Sally?”
Maybe the explanation for my angst is as simple as Peanut Sally’s reaction to a candy-less night in the pumpkin patch with Linus:
“I got gypped!”
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Sometimes you feel like your life is a TV show– maybe a cartoon or a sit-com, or heaven forbid, a reality show.
Which- if any- character(s) on television today is most like you, or which character(s) do you wish you were more like? It’s ok to watch and tell, so please leave a comment below or on the Facebook Page.