We were technically Jewish growing up in my mom’s house, but we still celebrated Easter. It was all about the bunny, of course. I’m not sure if my sisters and I even knew history of Easter, either Pagan or Christian, but it didn’t really matter. We loved the holiday.
Our tradition was that each year, my mom would make us baskets full of candy, treats, and the obligatory chocolate bunny. She’d hide the baskets somewhere in or around the house while we were in bed, and in the morning we’d immediately wake up and search.
Well, this one particular year was a really hard year for us. My mom was newly single and working 2 jobs to try to keep us in our nice villa in Boca Raton. Our stepdad of 7 years hadn’t been the greatest guy, and we were all sort of recovering from that. I was 13, I believe.
I had offered to help with the baskets that year, knowing how busy my mom was. I was worried that she wouldn’t be able to make it to the store in time. I had seen some really cool baskets at the grocery store for only $13 apiece. They were already put together, so I figured they’d save us lots of time. She told me not to worry about it. She’d take care of it.
Easter finally came, and my little sisters of course woke up at dawn, ready to search. We looked all over the house, but couldn’t find any baskets. I had known all along there wouldn’t be any, but we kept looking. I thought my mom probably had a plan, so I tried to hold them off while she got some sleep on her day off. They were so disappointed, but I wouldn’t let them give up.
Finally, I told my sisters that the Easter Bunny sometimes runs late. I told them I had seen it once long before my youngest sister was born, and the other sister was too young to remember. My plan was to go to the store, get whatever kind of treat I could get, if not a basket, and hide it somewhere outside for them to find.
While I was planning my escape, there was a knock on the door. We opened it up, and sitting on the front porch was three big, beautiful Easter baskets with our names on them, signed “The Easter Bunny,” and no one around to be seen.
I was confused, but still I said, “See! I told you! The Easter Bunny was just running late this year!”
It seemed like a miracle. My sisters shone with excitement and wonder.
Later, I found out that the neighbor had made the baskets and sent her son to deliver them. He was embarrassed, so he knocked and ran away. I asked her not to tell my sisters, and she agreed.
I guess my mom had known the neighbor was making us baskets. Looking back on it now, I’m a little embarrassed at how I pushed for those stupid grocery store things. I seriously doubt my mom could afford $40 for candy at the time, after incurring all those new bills, and trying to figure out how make it on her own after all those years.
The “miracle” turned out to be a kind neighbor who knew we were in need, and a shy little boy, but it was still a miracle to us.