Life Deconstructed: Heart as empty as baskets on Easter without my children

Maria Jiunta Heck - Life Deconstructed | April 5th, 2018 8:19 pm

It’s Easter morning, and instead of hiding baskets and gorging on stolen chocolate ballerinas and tow trucks, I am sobbing. Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but I am crying. Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but I do have tears in my eyes.

Here’s why: Not one of my children came home from their respective far, faraway lands to join us for this holiday. Not. One.

Not even the one in New York who I used to be able to guilt into doing anything. And I mean anything. He couldn’t say no to save his life. It was awesome. Now, suddenly, he is a big adult, doing big adult things and doesn’t want to be bothered with the woman who suffered through his arrival as he came into this world. Thanks, son. Thanks.

My younger son is legitimately far away, in West Virginia. He may as well be in Oz. But didn’t John Denver tell everyone: “Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong?” You belong in West Pittston, Patrick! Come home to mama. And, of course, my daughter is married with her own life now. She’s apparently allowed to come and go as she pleases without getting grounded, so she chooses to go. I don’t get it. I’m a blast!

Easter used to be so much fun. It was tradition: I would buy the Gertrude Hawk, hide the Gertrude Hawk, eat the Gertrude Hawk, buy more Gertrude Hawk, eat the Gertrude Hawk, then buy crappy dollar store candy so I would stop eating everything but the grass in their baskets. Sometimes that strategy worked, sometimes it didn’t. It depended on my mood and the level of Pinot in my glass.

I hid their baskets right up until last year. I know, I know, but old habits are very hard for me to break. Which is why I only wear Hanes high whities (my friends call them parachutes), I’m still married to Nancy, and I leave the bathroom door open when I go. Hard habits to break.

I would prowl around the house at midnight and give real thought to where the baskets should be hidden. And every Easter, when someone found their basket on the toilet seat, I would laugh uproariously like it was the first time I did it.

Then, of course, we would all parade to church which was enjoyable, except for that one Easter when my youngest son fainted before communion and slammed his head against the pew. That thunk could be heard in North Jersey. It was a little scary, and the priest was kind enough to give him a chocolate egg to help revive him. Sadly, I intercepted that egg and threw it down my own gullet. Hey, I needed reviving, too. Please. He had plenty of sugar waiting for him at home — on top of the toilet seat.

Well, everything is different now. It’s not even fun buying the chocolate and eating it myself. I get no pleasure snapping the legs off the ballerina (tradition). I mean, where’s the joy in stealing this stuff if no one is here to care?

My basket is empty. My heart is empty. I miss my kids and the smelly havoc they wreak.

So, all that is left to do is ship their Easter baskets to them, chock-full of all kinds of questionable, sticky, fluorescent dollar store candy. I would have shipped the Gertrude, but … erp. Hope your Easter was happy, your basket was full, and your ballerina remained intact.

Maria Jiunta Heck

Life Deconstructed

Maria Jiunta Heck, of West Pittston, is a mother of three and a business owner who lives to dissect the minutiae of life. Send Maria an email at