My tradition is probably procrastinating.

Everybody messes up from time to time and at my age – let's just say I've had lots of time to ponder my mistakes and learn from them so I don't make the same ones twice. 

    The trouble is, like most people (you know who you are), I just can't seem to stop making some blunders. You'd think one negative experience as a result of doing something stupid would hammer it into my head not to commit this act again, yet I inevitably do the same thing the next week, month or year no matter how determined my mind is not to.

    For some reason, these lapses in judgment tend to rear their ugly heads much more loudly around holidays. One of the biggies: Just because a store has dozens of an item you want one day does not mean it will have any left when you go to actually purchase it the next day. This is especially true on holiday merchandise when it's getting real close to that holiday.

    OK, it happened to me again this Easter, like it has most other Easters over the last 20 years. While shopping with my daughters on Good Friday, one pointed out a pre-filled basket she liked. Well, I couldn't hardly get it when she was with, and since there were plenty on display and probably only a few girls left in the Crookston yet needing their baskets to be purchased, it seemed like something that could wait until the next day.

    Ha! Perhaps if I'd gone a little earlier than 10 p.m. the night before Easter there might have been one left, but there were absolutely no pre-filled baskets to be had anywhere. Oh well, I'd just have to get separate items, like I was already doing for her sisters, to fill the empty baskets sitting in our closet. No problem.

    Right…and the Easter Bunny is real.

    At first glance, the Easter merchandise aisle didn't look too bad. The shelves on one side were still fairly full. As I made my way down, though, it became clear that some key things were missing, like the cute little chicks that chirp when you hold them, malted milk eggs and pint-sized stuffed animals holding tiny bags of candy.

    It was, I'll admit, comforting to see two other groups of shoppers in the same boat perusing the aisle, a couple I know and two slightly inebriated ladies. I was not the only one doing last-minute Easter shopping! Even better, I was not the only one doing last-minute Easter shopping for teen and (technically) adult kids.

    That's right. The couple has three kids right around my daughters' ages, and they said time simply got away from them this year. They even considered not doing the Easter basket/treat thing, but bit the bullet because they knew their children still looked forward to this ritual. 
    I used to laugh at BFF making up Easter baskets for her then-teenage kids and even more as she kept up the tradition when they became adults. That fact that she still hid them was icing on the cake. She treats them like babies, I thought.

    Now that I'm there doing the same thing, I understand. No matter how old they are, your kids will always children and you enjoy pampering and babying them from time to time. They may be growing up, but when it comes to the holidays, they still want those childhood traditions to remain. Their taste in goodies might change – Cyrina has stressed the last two years not to get her kiddie things for her Christmas stockings, Valentine gifts and Easter baskets – but the excitement of waking up that special morning to see what beholds them never does. It's a win-win for both parents and kids.

    Amazingly, I did manage to get enough things together during Saturday's last-minute excursion to make up some pretty nice individualized baskets for each girl. We decided to forego the hiding part this year and just handed them out, which all the girls accepted fine. It's not straying too far from tradition, I guess.

    As mentioned before, this was not the first time I've been burned by 11th-hour scrambling for Easter baskets, although there have been a handful where I actually had the stuff hidden in a closet a week or two before.

    However, the procrastinator in me prevails the vast majority of the time. Several years ago, I even made a mad dash to Grand Forks at 9 p.m. the night before Easter only to find the two  open stores having way too many stark shelves. My poor little angels were deprived of what could have been much nicer baskets if only I'd done the deed earlier. At least they were too young to realize it, I think and hope.

     Of course, every Christian knows that baskets are not the most important part of Easter, just as  the true meaning of Christmas does not involve stockings and presents. Going to church to celebrate Jesus' resurrection with a bunch of other families and just getting together with family is what it's about. But it is fun to hold on to traditions, and when the girls' grandma passed six years ago, so did the eggs hunts and egg colorings she organized every year. The baskets will always be our tradition, though.

    And procrastinating will be mine.