How do I describe my relationship with Easter candy? Well, it’s complicated.
As a young child, I loved it – chocolate bunnies (though my real bunnies were cuter), chocolates eggs, jelly beans, Cadbury Crème Eggs, and more. I got up eager to see what I had in my basket as well as what I might find on the egg hunt, assuming I could decipher my parents’ sometimes cryptic clues.
That all changed as I got older and heavier. Food in general became problematic, but holidays proved especially trying. On Easter, for instance, although surrounded by candy, I knew I wasn’t supposed to eat it. That fueled my stealth eating, finding ways to stash the candy so I could have it when no one was watching.
And this entry from my mom’s diary, when I was almost 16 and my brother 18, highlighted another part of the problem – from April 18, 1992: “Finalized Easter shopping. Got Erica mostly sugarless candy and a Jim Morrison book. Got Jeremiah regular candy, a cream roll, chips, and $5 for when he goes to [his aunt’s].” (Yes, I was a huge fan of the Doors as a teen.)
I hated that difference in treatment. It emphasized that my brother was perfect, at least in terms of food, whereas I was the problem child. I know Mom was concerned about my health, but it infuriated me. Plus, the sugar-free stuff was no substitute for the real thing, especially when I watched my brother eat his candy and other goodies.
Once I started losing weight, things changed again. When I went into stores and saw the Easter candy, I felt the habitual longing for that sweetness – but that’s all it was, habitual. If I ate much of it, the sweetness quickly overwhelmed me (as I wrote last week, my sugar tolerance has drastically declined). It’s gotten to the point where I feel an odd nostalgia, no longer wanting the candy but in a way wanting to want it, now that I would be free to eat it.
Which isn’t to say that I’m free from temptation – what gets me these days are handcrafted treats. I’m a sucker for those, not for me, but for the young people in my life. For instance, when I saw this chocolate iPhone, I snapped it up, since it seemed perfect for my 11-year-old nephew (and he did like it):
Similarly, when I read about the handmade peeps from the nearby Rosemont Market, I just had to get some. Even though I’m not particularly fond of peeps and gave most of them away, I did try one – they certainly tasted better than the mass-produced kind.
So, while I haven’t exactly come full circle, I’m at least grateful to be at a point where I no longer feel shame about Easter candy, and can even find some joy in it. It’s a much nicer way to spend the holiday.