When I was growing up in Chicago, in the mid 1960s, at Easter time you could go to the regular grocery store and buy lamb butter -- that is, butter in the shape of a lamb. Lamb cakes, too, were readily available; vanilla pound cake baked in a lamb-shaped mold with white frosting from a star tip artfully applied. There was kind of a resurgence in lamb cakes -- or at least in the availability of the molds -- probably thanks to Martha. But lamb butter is a bit more elusive. My mold came from here, should you be wishing for one yourself (scroll down the page to find the lamb). And in the spirit of true disclosure: none of us has yet had the heart to cut in to the lamb, so here we are nearly 2 weeks past the holiday and he's still living in the fridge.
Also thanks to Martha, now that I think about it, is our tradition of buying two packages of Easter egg dye. For years we have been making brighter colors by putting 2 tablets in each cup instead of one. The wrinkle this time was that Dean didn't want to put 2 of the same color in each cup but instead he wanted to mix his own colors. I admit that this is still one of those times when I have to take a deep breath, think about who it is we're coloring eggs for in the first place, and let go of "how it should be." Sure! Mix away! I did feebly recommend that he think about what colors he'd be creating before putting the tablets in, knowing that this wouldn't be his approach. He's a process guy, not a product guy.
So we had two of the same mix, and some pretty intense mixes, and found interestingly that the dyes don't combine consistently with each other the way they do with two of the same.
And his favorite part, still, is playing with the colors afterward. Success, then!
Easter was also Dean's birthday this year, so we had an elaborate plan for celebrating both -- starting with a morning that was all about the eggs and the basket.
THEN it was birthday time.
Followed by an outing to spend some gift cards that were burning a hole in his pocket.
A sweet and successful day. Twelve seems at the same time an impossibly big number and exactly right. We celebrate who this amazing person is, how much his arrival changed our lives, how unimaginable life without him would be. He enjoys hearing stories on his birthday about how his birth day unfolded -- all those hours of labor, all that joy when he finally arrived, all the attention that our beautiful little boy received from the hospital staff, how very sweet he was right from the start. I do feel that we're turning a corner as a family as Dean steps into this new, older self. We struggle sometimes to find the balance, the flow -- to readjust our relationships and yet hold on to what's core for us. I try not to think ahead but to revel in the now.