We are usually part of the stream of cars heading out of Melbourne on the Thursday afternoon before the Easter long weekend. This year it was different. Both girls had their usual after-school activities happening on Thursday – Guides for Clare, Beginners On Stage for Stella – and Clare had been asked to sing a solo at church on Friday morning. So we stayed at home that evening and let everyone else battle it out on the roads.
Clare did a beautiful job of singing “Come and see” to open the Good Friday service. I was rather in awe – she was so poised, with barely a trace of nerves. As she said to me, “well, I had the words in front of me”. I am a very proud mother! Then for another change to our usual routine we headed in to the Royal Children’s Hospital to take part in some of their Good Friday Appeal festivities that were open to the general public. Most Melbournians – actually, most Victorians and many New South Welshpeople as well – are very familiar with this appeal. Huge numbers of people get together to raise funds towards additional equipment and programs to benefit the kids at RCH. When I was a child I spent many (tedious) hours watching the Appeal count on television on the one commercial television station that we had in my country town. I think that the Appeal is ingrained in the general psyche.
There were meerkats to visit, the aquarium to see, a gourmet BBQ hosted by George Calombaris, an extremely impressive art and craft area for all kids to take part in, and numerous famous sportspeople and actors/personalities to sign autographs and have your photo taken with. Not that I recognised any of them. Oh well. The appeal raised a record $16.4 million dollars. Amazing! And the girls had an absolute ball.
So it was afternoon before we made it to Grandma and Pa’s house! And wouldn’t you know – the circus was in town!
Funnily enough, we’d been to Cirque du Soleil the previous weekend. All my life my husband has been wanting to go to the circus. Well, now he can die a happy man – because we’ve just been to two circuses one week apart! The Great Moscow Circus was loads of fun – a traditional circus that included knife throwing, juggling, clowns, horses, aerial performances, balancing, tumbling, and motorbikes inside a globe. Very different to Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo, which is an amazing visual and aural feast – but just as much excitement and just as much skill and talent. And a quarter of the price.
After church on Easter Sunday was the traditional egg hunt. There are lots of places to hide eggs on a half acre block!
The girls were very happy with the proceeds of the hunt. Clare saves her eggs and slowly nibbles them away all year. Actually, I think that she’s only just finished last year’s chocolate haul. Stella is a different story.
Easter eggs are a versatile thing. Clare used them to teach Stella division the following day.
We managed to fit in a wonderful dinner with some special friends on Sunday night – the girls didn’t get to bed until 11.00pm, which is definitely the latest that Stella has ever been up! Mum and Dad looked after us beautifully, as always, and a relaxing weekend was had by all.
And then before we knew it, the time had come to join the stream of cars heading back in to Melbourne. Easter weekend over, school holidays only just begun.
At church, we watched a dramatisation comparing Jesus’ resurrection to the emergence of a butterfly from it’s cocoon. The same, but changed. It was a beautiful allegory. For the girls and I, Easter is not just about the eggs, the hunt, the Good Friday appeal, time with family and friends – and this year, the circus. It is about the crucifixion and the resurrection.
But I was still pleased that the Easter bunny came to me too.