When I was a child Cadbury eggs were the epitome of Easter goodness. I saw them on TV. There was this bunny who would wiggle his nose while making chicken noises and then hop away leaving the egg behind. A pair of hands would demonstrate how the chocolate shell was filled with gooey white goodness. I watched that long sweet string stretch between the two halves of the chocolate shell and I wanted one. Cadbury eggs were my Easter dream. On the few occasions that one came into my possession, I treasured as I ate. It was heaven on earth as far as I was concerned.
The Easter season of my first year at college, the local grocery store had a box of Cadbury eggs sitting at the check out stand. It was one of those newly emergent adult moments when I realized that I did not have to beg for this treat. I could just buy it. And so I did. Then I ate it and it tasted pretty good, but my stomach was unsettled afterward. It became a yearly ritual, buy egg, eat egg, wish I had not eaten egg because I felt sick. It took four or five years before I really faced the fact that I don’t like Cadbury eggs. That gooey sweet heaven to the child me is sickeningly sweet to the adult me. Part of me feels sad for the little girl I was who now has the ability to buy all the eggs she could dream of, but who no longer wants to.
This is part of growing up. This is one of the things children sense and fear about it. They know that in the years to come they will change. They will become so different from what they are and the worry how they will still be themselves. I’ve felt that fear.
When I became pregnant with my first child, I buried myself in research. I wanted to learn everything about pregnancy so that I could know what to expect. What I found was alarming. My body was going to change weight and shape, my balance would be changed, my joints would loosen, I would become forgetful, moods and emotions would shift on the waves of hormones, even my clarity of thought would be shifted. I cried to Howard one night because I could not see how I could still be myself when everything about me was going to change. I went through it all. I went through all the mothering that came next. I set aside old dreams of writing and drawing to pick up new dreams of nurturing and teaching. I repeated the pregnancy process three more times. I set aside almost everything to survive radiation therapy. I learned to love gardening. Then I came to a time when the nurturing and teaching left enough room for me to dust off the other dreams. I have changed and changed again, yet through it all I was still me.
I used to joke that my oldest daughter had the taste of a magpie. She loved all things sparkly, shiny, and bright pink. She bedecked herself often. She and I had a bit of a struggle over how we should decorate her room, she won the day with a hot pink Barbie comforter. That girl is gone. The daughter I have today does not like pink, particularly not hot pink. She likes cool colors and solids rather than prints. Sparkles and shine are occasional accents, not standard fare. Yet she is still the person she was. And she is not yet the person she will become. Neither am I.
I am thinking of Cadbury eggs today, because it is Easter. They sit at the check out stand and I do not buy them. This year Easter is also the General Conference for my church and many of the speakers have spoken of death, resurrection, and life thereafter. I know that not everyone who reads this blog believes in life after death, but I do. And today I have been thinking about how life after will be different. I will be different. I will be as different from who I am now as I am currently different from the girl who loved Cadbury eggs. Today this thought is not frightening, because I can see that though I will be different, I will still be me. Those I love will meet me there and they will still be themselves too. We will all be moving on to whatever comes next just as the Cadbury girl moved on to be me.
Change is paradoxically the one constant. We continually shift and grow. I look forward to seeing who I will become in the years to come and in the years hereafter.