Easter was the first post-vaccine holiday we had … and also the last. 

My mom and dad (long-divorced but friendly) joined my husband and daughters along with one other family for an outdoor brunch at my mom’s house. We were all about two weeks out from our second shot, and it felt safe to meet up as long as we stayed outside.

My mom has “voluntold” me to make monkey bread, but even though I’d started it the night before, it wouldn’t rise fast enough on Easter morning, and then my oven wouldn’t cooperate, so it wasn’t baking according to my carefully calibrated time table. Ruby was stressing about her hair and makeup, and Georgia was having a tantrum about the seams in her socks, and there was no hot water by the time I needed to shower, and then my mom started texting me asking where we were and when we would be there.

“Soon,” I wrote back, hoping my franticness didn’t come through in text, even though I was gritting my teeth in frustration. “We’re almost on the way! Running late – sorry!” 

By the time we all got in the car, me with the finally baked monkey bread fresh out of the oven on my lap on a folded towel, we were all in various stages of meltdown. And then my mom texted me again: “Where are you??? We’re going to eat without you!” 

“OK!” I wrote back. “That’s fine! Sorry! Be there soon!”

I took a few deep breaths to calm down … and my husband had to slam on the brakes in traffic, causing the monkey bread to slide off of its protective towel and burn my thigh. 

I yelled a word that I probably shouldn’t type out and then started crying. “This is all so stupid, and I didn’t miss in-person gatherings AT ALL!” I wailed while Georgia awkwardly patted my shoulder from the backseat. 

But once we got to the party, it was actually lovely. We drank mimosas in the sunshine, and ate ALL THE CARBS along with an excessive amount of Easter chocolate. 

“We’ll have to do this again for Mother’s Day,” my mom said, hugging me goodbye.

“For sure,” I said, the stress of the morning completely forgotten in a pleasant champagne haze. 

She wouldn’t make it until Mother’s Day, though. On Easter of last year, she had exactly one month left to live. 

On May 3, she sent me a text about making strawberry scones for Mother’s Day … and then died in the wee hours of the next morning. 

So I’m struggling with Easter this year. I’m struggling with the anniversaries looming. I’m especially struggling with Mother’s Day.

I’d give anything to annoy and be annoyed by my mom again, to be frazzled while trying to rush out the door to see her, knowing she was pissed at my tendency to run late to events. 

But instead, I’m just going to have to find a way to incorporate her memory into our traditions going forward.

So this year, I think I’m making monkey bread again for Easter.