When we pause to examine our lives, it quickly becomes clear that there are phases, or seasons, to the ebb and flow of our everyday existence. These seasons impact how we behave, what we wear, and even what our physical environment looks like. I don’t just mean the change from sweater season to flip flop weather – there are more existential transitions as well.
When my ex-husband and I were first married, we spent our days binge-watching the West Wing and arranging playdates for our furbaby – a black lab mix we’d rescued from the humane society. Our furniture was hand-me-down-chic and our ‘home décor’ still included framed movie posters and a few sticks of incense leftover from college.
Then came the babies and the world shifted. Years of sleep deprivation and diaper changes followed. Furniture was selected for its durability and washability. I managed to hang a few pictures on the wall, but decorative knick-nacks required way too much emotional energy. And besides, putting something lovely on your coffee table is an exercise in insanity when there are preschoolers on the loose.
I made some exceptions during the Christmas season, but they came at a cost. I can still remember the constant low-level stress my first Christmas with a toddler. My tree is full of beautiful, treasured ornaments and I had recurring waking nightmares wherein my firstborn gleefully pulled the entire thing down. By the time New Year’s Eve rolled around, I was over it, and we hastily packed everything away, breathing a sigh of relief.
Time passed and kids grew. Then came divorce and a reapportioning of belongings. And a new house, with lots of built-in shelves and not one but two fireplaces – with mantles. The siren song of collectibles was calling to me. It started with Christmas, again. I found a place for the Austrian crystal candle holders my parents bought on vacation in the 1970s. I displayed tabletop trees and pinecones and a couple nativity sets. I added a bowl of glistening ornaments and a few swags of lighted evergreens above the fireplace. It looked good.
When the Christmas decorations came down, the mantle seemed empty so I invested in new candles and a few pieces of small, framed artwork. Fall brought pumpkins and gourds and a beautiful vase.
That was all the warmup.
Most people I know decorate for Christmas and plenty of folks put out a pumpkin or two around Halloween. This year, I took it to the next level by embracing Easter decorating. That’s right. There is a pastel crazy quilt on my wall, several butterfly garlands hanging in the kitchen, and a bowl of multi-colored glass eggs on my mantle next to a small cutout tree adorned with spring-themed shrinky dinks my kids made a couple years ago. Grazing peacefully beneath the tree is a trio of tiny sheep, each roughly the size of a robin’s egg, made out of carefully curled paper strips. One is purple, one green, and one blue. I love them desperately.
Decorating for Easter is a return to my roots and an homage to my mother. She is the queen of seasonal décor – rotating through a truly vast array of home beautification items as the seasons change. We had a Halloween tree (with ghosts, pumpkins, and fake spider webs) as well as an Easter tree that sported a variety of eggs and delicate glass carrots. We even had an array of ceramic boxes in various seasonally-appropriate shapes, like chickens emerging from their shells and a whimsical bunny, lying on his back with an egg balanced on his feet. I adore that ceramic bunny.
Her own decorating mania has slowed a bit in recent years, so mom brought me some of the Easter goodies this year and it ignited my own inner passions. I scrounged a tree branch from my back yard, helpfully felled by the storms earlier this month, spray painted it white, and ‘planted’ it in a terracotta pot I painted jelly bean purple. I hung the Easter eggs, added a few fuzzy chickens at the base for gravitas, and congratulated myself with a well-deserved Cadbury Crème Egg.
It felt right, this foray into fanciful spring decor. Although there is a definite risk that we may lose at least one egg ornament to a wayward nerf dart, I’m pleased to find myself in a ceramic bunny phase of life. The world could use a bit more whimsy and beauty right now, so I shall do my part.