I loved Easter as a kid. I got to eat loads of candy and wear a pretty new dress from Polly Flinders with a bonnet. All at the same time.
(All at the same time, while sitting on orange shag carpeting. We called it “The Spaghetti,” for obvious reasons.)
When I was grown up and out of the house, my mother loved to send me little cards and packages around all of the holidays. I might get some candy corn for Halloween, and maybe a set of cookie cutters at Christmas. I would receive some chocolates, red hots, and (if I was lucky) heart-shaped cupcakes at Valentines day. Thanks to her, I have a collection of seasonally-themed cheese spreaders. These boxes started to arrive when I was in college and never stopped, no matter how far into adulthood I was.
But her pièce de résistance was a fake chocolate bunny that came to my midtown apartment one early spring day some years ago. “What,” I asked, because someone had to ask, “What is the point of a fake chocolate bunny?” My roommate Colleen and I scratched our heads, baffled.
“Moms,” she said.
But over time I started to love my fake chocolate bunny. Even Colleen, a controlling aesthete in matters of home decor, grew fond of our little friend. He became a sort of mascot sitting on top of the TV and watching over us with his unblinking yellow eyes. Sometimes we talked to him, sometimes we made him hop, and sometimes we would pretend to take a bite of his ears and break a tooth.
I reported all of this to my mother. “See?” she said, “I knew you would like him.”
And so she sent me another one the next year. And the next.
There is another fake bunny who bears mentioning: My father. Some men dress as Santa Claus at Christmas, but my dad played the role of Easter Bunny for an Easter egg hunt at least once, circa 1981. He wore a fuzzy white costume that my mom made, and I remember her struggling to figure out a way to make the ears stay up. She did, and it was quite a site to see this man of six feet, never mind the girth, dressed as a rabbit with painted-on nose and whiskers. There is a photo of him arriving at my grandparents’ house one Easter Sunday to the great joy and surprise of my cousin Eric, who was young enough to believe that there was nothing remotely fake about that gigantic talking bunny.
That rabbit suit is in a box in my mother’s half-empty house.
And the fake chocolate bunnies, they sit on a high shelf above my stove, a little army of faux candy soldiers, or perhaps guardian angels. Anything made of actual chocolate would surely melt up there above the heat, but there they sit as they have for years, solid molded plastic reminders of the things that don’t last.