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(Lisa Smith Molinari)

Have visions of colorful foil been dancing in your dreams recently? Have you detected the distinct aroma of coconut in the air? Have you seen rabbit tracks in your yard? Have you been drooling for no apparent reason?

Despite what you think, you are NOT suffering from a serious mental disorder. There’s no need to take a Xanax. Do not voluntarily commit yourself to a psychiatric ward for a 90-day stay. It’s not a necessary to form a support group and invite them over to watch "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

Do not be alarmed. These seemingly strange symptoms are normal during this time of year, because Easter makes us all a little crazy.

Of course, we expect children to spool themselves into an all-out frenzy on Easter. If we manage to wrestle them into their Sunday best for Easter religious services, they burst out of church before the final hymn is over like prison escapees. It's all we can do to snap a blurry photo of them wearing their stiff Easter ties and flouncy Easter dresses at home, before they bolt around the house and yard, knocking each other over in a maniacal search for eggs.

Why, then, does this sweetest of holidays cause grown adults to go bonkers too? Believe it or not, our temporary lunacy is triggered by the same irresistible stimuli that affect our children — CANDY.

Considering that mature adults have highly developed impulse control, you might not believe that sugary treats could make parents lose their minds. But then, you'd be wrong.

It all starts when parents voluntarily deprive themselves of life’s simple pleasures in the name of Lent or looming bathing suit season, declaring that they've given up chocolate, carbohydrates, alcohol or desserts. Forty days of that can turn even the most stable adult stark raving mad. We are then faced with sparkling displays of pastel foil-covered miniaturized candy bars in every store, which taunt and torture us in our self-starved state.

To add insult to injury, we must purchase that tempting candy and fill the eggs for our kids’ Easter egg hunts. With trembling hands and spittle on our chins, we load the colorful candy bags into our grocery carts and hide them under our beds and in our closets to await the egg hunts. Despite being hidden, we know all too well that the candy is there, calling like Sirens, "C'mon ... just open a little corner of the bag and take a few. No one will know. Chocolate tastes so good...”

We waffle between resistance and bargaining: “I’ll have one teensy-teensy peanut butter egg [staring into space with small drop of drool forming in corner of mouth] ... No! [slapping hands over ears, squeezing eyes shut] ... I can make it to Easter, just a few more days [breathing into a paper bag] ... and then on Easter Sunday [eyes widening, grin forming] ... I’ll sneak into the kids’ Easter baskets after they’ve gone to bed [drooling again]... and go … hog … wild!” [said in a frighteningly deep, gravely voice.]

As for me, I swore off caffeine and sugar several weeks ago in a half-hearted Lenten promise. But, as always, I bought candy for our family’s annual Easter egg hunt and hid it in my office. The tiny Snickers have been whispering to me at night. I'm pretty sure the dog hears them too. I can't stop muttering, "Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar," and I've developed an involuntary eye twitch.

Despite my declining mental state, I’m determined to control my urge to rip the secreted bags open and gobble the candy-coated catalysts, foil wrapping and all. I am an adult, after all.

However, on Easter Sunday, after our three children have opened every plastic egg, after the dog has ingested colored Easter grass, after the leftover ham has been sliced for sandwiches, and after I give up scraping burned scalloped potatoes off the dish and let it soak in the sink, I will sit on our couch and calmly open a handful of pastel Peppermint Patties.

And there, in that sweet moment, I will reclaim my sanity.

Read more at themeatandpotatoesoflife.com, and in Lisa’s book, The Meat and Potatoes of Life: My True Lit Com. Email: meatandpotatoesoflife@gmail.com


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