For the first time in ages, Greek Orthodox and Catholic Easter coincide; what’s more, they’ll do so again next year. I haven’t done my Holy Week fast this year on the grounds that I’m rubbish and also sort-of exempt. I’m not sure pregnancy counts as an illness, really, but it does mean that I’m a bit more aware of the things that need to be in my diet, like calcium and protein, and I don’t have a vegan’s – or even veggie’s – decent awareness of how to get them from plant matter. Oh yeah, surprise! If you didn’t already know, I’m having a baby this year.
I have been blogging about it; just not here. If you like rants about cats and toxoplasmosis, the myths surrounding morning sickness and the way gender stereotypes are reinforced before the womb has even been exited, you can find them in my other, oft-neglected, more personal blog.
Mum is currently brewing up some dyed eggs (the traditional red, but also some yellow and green) so we can introduce my in-laws to the concept of egg-smashing on Sunday. They, in turn, took my parents through the world’s most abridged Passover Seder night ever. The eggs were always my favourite part of the post-fast fun, but funnily enough it’s not the memories of obliterating eggshell that always come to mind when I see them, freshly coloured and polished with a little olive oil, heaped in an obliging pile on the table. No, those memories are upstaged by a cat.
One of my parents’ late cats, Zoey, was an absolutely brilliant footballer. No kitten ball, rolled up bit of foil or bottle cap was safe. And one pre-Easter morning, we awoke to find strange patches of blue on the carpet. Even more bewilderingly, we found strange patches of blue on Zoey. It was only after a few minutes, when we saw her leave the room and then heard a rhythmic ‘tock… tock… tock…’ down the corridor that we discovered she’d nicked a blue-dyed egg from the table and was enthusiastically dribbling it down the hallways. Luckily the dye was non-toxic, but we learned to always keep the eggs tucked away from the cats after that.
God willing, this is my last Pesach and Easter without a child. Next year, my daughter will still be too young to know the stories, but I’ll make sure she gets used to the sound of matzo cracking and eggs smashing, and the tastes of sweet haroset and rich roast lamb. I look forward to her developing her own memories of both, and telling me one day what Easter eggs make her think of. And I’ll tell her all about Zoey, too.
Happy celebrations, if you have them. And if you don’t, then just enjoy the time off!