The bunny gets around, yo.

It was predictable, I suppose that I would be challenged by this time. Not just working my way through grief- but the challenge so many of us are dealing with – where all of a sudden you’re locked in your freakin’ house and can’t see anyone and can’t go anywhere and you’re swinging back and forth between resolving that you’re going to emerge from this a whole new sort of person – one with clean closets, tidy drawers, a revived yoga habit and a new career… and being the you who can hardly handle it, eating cake with your hands standing over the sink. You know what I mean?

None of the restrictions here in Toronto have started to lift, and frankly it sounds like we’ll be in this for a while yet. We’re still only to go outside for essential purposes like to seek medical attention or get groceries, and even then only one person from the household is supposed to go shopping no more than once a week. Joe’s that person here (and the designated shopper for his parents, Meg and Amanda, a few others, just so that it’s even fewer trips out for anyone) so he still goes out into the world in a limited way, but me… I’ve been in the house for weeks now, and there are moments where I’m a little wild around the edges.  The City’s said it’s okay to go out for exercise if you can keep your distance from others, and so I’ve taken full advantage of that, walking and running through the neighbourhood for my allotted time per day, and at least letting the sun shine on my face (when it is not goddamn snowing and yes I know I live in Canada and late April snow is technically legal, but the stuff seems unfair this year, all things considered) and I look out the window a lot, though there’s not much to see out there.

The separation from the family continues to make us all crazy. It is clear to me now that being a close and loving family that spends heaps of time together has worked against us here. We are all far too attached to each other – and I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it here, but we are not just emotionally close – we’re close.  I can walk to the homes of most people I love, and the remaining ones are just a quick bike ride or drive. (Here in the city, those two modes of transit often take about the same amount of time.)  There is something about knowing how near they all are that seems to make me wilder. To know Elliot is a stone’s throw away but I can’t see him?

When my mum was alive, she used to remind me, in terms I won’t use here because I try not to swear on the blog, that when I am unhappy or challenged, I need to get out. Not just out of the house (though she thought that was good too) but right out of your head. Stop thinking so much. Stop worrying so much, get out of yourself and focus on other people. It’s terrific advice – it is very hard to dwell on your own problems when you’ve decided to think about other people’s, so as Easter headed our way and the family was sad and separated, I started to come up with a plan.

First, I knitted some stuff. Mostly stuff for Elliot… and for Bunny. It seemed to me that a new spring frock was in order.

Just leftovers of course, but it made for a charming addition to their wardrobe. (A reminder that Bunny is gender fluid and their pronouns are they/them/their. Elliot has felt no need to fence Bunny in. Bunny is being all the bunny they can be.)

I also knit him a sweet little toy – three is a good age for being obsessed with things that go in other things – pockets, boxes, envelopes… so I knit Susan B. Anderson’s little Flower Fairy and Leaf Sprite – though I left off the wings.

Mine are just little garden people. Then I started to knit an egg. (Pattern here, I knit mine in the round, fun and easy.) I thought it would be a sweet thing to tuck in a basket for him. I have to say though, that egg was pretty damned satisfying- so I knit a few more.

Those felt great too, and so I knit some more –

and then I came up with a system for blocking them.

And then I decided… well, I think I decided to go big or go home and the next thing I knew I had a houseful of eggs, Joe had been instructed to add a whack of chocolate to our weekly shop, I was baking my face off, and there was a spreadsheet and a very big plan. I went to bed early on the Saturday night before Easter, and set an alarm for…5:15am. (What. It’s not like I have anything else to do.)

(Pictured here, fewer than half of the eventual eggs. It got right out of hand.)

Sunday morning I got up, printed my spreadsheet, moved to the staging area (that used to be the dining room) and started to load up the car. Joe was a slightly less than cheerful accomplice at this point, but as always staggered on, mumbling things like “happy wife, happy life” and moving yet another chocolate bunny or knitted egg out of his way.

By 6:15 we were in the car. Moments later we made our first stop. I had the spreadsheet organized by both geography and predicted time of awakening for the recipients – so our first stop was Joe’s mum and dad’s back garden.  We snuck in and hid (not very well) a knitted egg, a chocolate bunny and a little tray of freshly baked cinnamon buns, then back out to the car and a quick text “There’s an Easter hunt in your back garden” and we were off.  The next stop was Katie and Carlos’s back garden where we hid bunnies for Luis and Frankie, lots of eggs, a big tray of cinnamon buns and a bottle of wine. (They are locked down with two little kids. You gotta help where you can.) We hit some friends after that…

We set up a hunt for Elliot down the back path by their walk-up, and then Amanda’s front porch, then a drive to Sam’s – she was our farthest stop and has a big backyard, so she got a proper hunt too. Then it was Ken’s turn, treats hidden on his porch, then Cameron, and Pato and Jen … Oh, and our friend Billy.  He’s a nurse and deserves all the love we can show him right now.

The whole thing was like the opposite of a heist, and we were even caught on security footage –

which Katie and Carlos texted to us after the fact.

We made the rounds, trying to do something loving for every person on our list and you know, mum was right. Still. Again, like she always was and is. We got out of our heads and into the feelings of the people around us, tried to make some serious deposits in the love bank that we’ll certainly need to make withdrawals from in the future,  and it was pretty great. I think we’re probably going to get through.

Chin up gang.  This too shall pass. Go eat some cake with your hands.

131 thoughts on “The bunny gets around, yo.

  1. “This too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass”. My favorite sign I’ve seen recently.

    The love for your family is always inspiring. Sorry about the snow. That’s just unfair.

  2. You. are. a. treasure.

    So glad you found a way to share all that love you’ve got bursting at the seams with all your sweeties; and glad the rest of us have got you in our lives, too.

  3. What a lovely idea & your deployment plan sounded perfect!

    The mantra i gleaned from my newspaper is “Out of fairness this is a moment of suffering & I acknowledge how hard it is” I say this to myself. BUT! Your mum has it right too. It is a moment of joy and I acknowledge how blessed it is!

  4. Love this. There were some porch deliveries of cinnamon buns in my neighborhood on Monday. No reason beyond I felt like baking, we can’t/shouldn’t eat 16 buns and Monday seemed like a day that can always use brightening, even if you aren’t sure it’s Monday or not. Clearly, I’m going to have to up my game with those clever eggs!

  5. You are so cool… and so is the gender fluid bunny. Your mom was right. There is no surer way to happiness than to make someone else happy. As for me, my quarantine life is a little too much like my regular life. I gotta get out more when this is over.

  6. Sweet! I hear you about the weather. Same, here in Minnesota. Right on it with your spreadsheet and Easter treats. I’m thinking of May baskets. 🙂

  7. To steal a line from Elton John, can you feel the love tonight… ?
    yes. Yes, I can. ❤️ (just realized all those really cute emoji’s probably won’t show up. #HappyFace #Heart #Bunny #Egg #Chick)

  8. You are the best at making lemonade when faced with a pile of lemons! What a wonderful thing to do for your family and friends. A perfect example of using your talents to help yourself by helping others.

  9. What a way to make an Easter in lockdown special for the kids (and the kids-at-heart) (and a very posh bunny)! The eggs are cute, and I can just imagine Millie making sure the dust bison got some — hang onto the pattern in case you get adopted by a kitten!

    PS: Your mom was a very smart lady. PPS: I had to touch the cat to post!

  10. One of my favorite bunny patterns is Woolly Felted Bunnies by Marie Mayhew. I’ve knit litters of them. They are the perfect thing to do when your mind is occupied elsewhere.. And they look good whether they are knit in natural colors or purple stripes.

  11. Charmingly wonderful! ad so appropriate – knitted eggs.

    It’s hard not to be with people, and to know you cannot be with them.
    When was Easter? I wake up every morning and say “what day is it?”
    #stayathome

  12. Completely recognizing that the U.S. is hardly the perfect model for Covid response, there is a general practice here that if you have been quarantining for a minimum of two weeks, and your very close (and trusted to have been playing by the rules) friends/families have been quarantining, it’s okay to spend time together. The thought is that mental health may sometimes have to trump the residual risk after you’ve done everything you can to be safe.

    • Here in Canada it’s against the rules – and we’ve been specifically asked not to do this at all. Specifically in Toronto, it would be illegal. (Especially since we’re not strictly quarantining – as long as you’ve still got a residence member going out, that’s not quarantine. Joe’s trips to the grocery store rule that right out. His parents were quarantined when they came back from abroad, and the law didn’t even allow them a walk.)

      • As the doctor explained it on the news the other night, allowing this kind of socializing, while technically safe, could lead to people bending the rules ever further until they are disregarded. In other words, the optics are bad.

        • Sure wish we US types were smart enough to do likewise!
          Stephanie, the eggs and the gender-fluid Bunny are adorable! I’m 17 miles from all my grands, so getting DD to deliver a few things on her way to work (RN on a Covid floor), was all I could do. But maybe next year . . .
          Thanks for the bright spot in my day, Stephanie!

      • Stephanie, this is exactly what I had to explain to my friend who couldn’t understand why we couldn’t walk anymore. It’s not even that I’m going grocery shopping (which I am), I’m an essential worker, and still with the public every day. I put her entire family at risk if she comes into contacts with me. It was a tough love moment, but she finally got it. Canada’s got the right idea. I wish the US would have stricter rulers, TBH.

    • Not true for Michigan, USA! “All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household are prohibited.” No time together in the near future, at any rate. On the bright side, I love seeing people’s creativity during these times!

  13. I love your Easter treats! I’d love to make cake but I’m out of sugar, honey and maple syrup. I do have some frozen bananas. Maybe a smoothie…

  14. Sadly I’m across a lake from my family so I made sure to create Stanley the rabbit and send them off over the lake to arrive prior to Easter. It was magical getting to see my nugget with Stanley even if she told me more about Woody’s voice box being smooth.

  15. We did monkey bread for our friends on Easter, and you’re right, it was just so wonderful. We delivered them to each doorstep on Saturday night and then had a socially distanced conversation that made my heart smile. These things are so important.

    Love the eggs & Bunny’s frock!

  16. Well, the prime minister of New Zealand said that the Easter Bunny was essential personnel but might run a bit late – so it seems completely appropriate that you gave them a hand. What a lovely surprise! Closest we got was paper eggs in the windows for the local kids to spot.

  17. Having an especially rough day here but reading this has put my head back on straight. Thank you for sharing your story once again to the betterment of is all.

  18. Aw, you’re so wonderful! Those are the happiest eggs in the history of forever. What a lovely plan, and so well executed. I love it.

    I’ve been trying to follow your lead. We ran away off grid with our three kids. I had to leave my book, my movies, and most of my yarn. I brought enough for about six months (I think), and everything I brought with me is destined for someone else. The plan is to knit it up, then mail it off to try and bring a smile to someone during all this weirdness. Then I have the benefit of not having to pack yarn back with me. Win all over.

    I’m going to go read this entry again. It just makes me so happy.

  19. Bonnie was a very wise woman.

    I made a couple of masks. They were a pain in the ass, and I swore that was it! *Sigh* Two masks are not nearly enough for my husband and I, and my children and their partners need them, too. Yes, I’m headed back to the dungeon tomorrow with a different pattern, your Mother’s wise words going through my head. That’ll teach me to mope around the house all week, feeling sorry for myself! Thank you.

  20. That is the sweetest, most beautiful thing. I have teared right up. My daughter is twenty now but in her middle and high school years she was part of a Girl Scout troop – Girl Guides, to you – and we would do what came to be known as Girl Scout Guerrilla – usually for birthdays. Lots of sneaking around and loud, suppressed, laughter. They turned one girls front door into the Dr. Who telephone box and another girl came home from basketball practice to a bedroom filled with balloons and glow sticks. That is what this reminds me of – and I can imagine the delight and surprise of those lucky recipients! What a great lady you are – I know your mother would be so proud, but probably not a bit surprised.

  21. Thanks for this. It was just what I needed after a cloudy day in Sask, though our snow is mostly gone and we are supposed to get rain tonight and that will help, too. We’ve been lucky so far and haven’t seen restrictions on going out for walks or bike rides, so long as you maintain that six-foot distance.

    We didn’t manage a stealth trip (yours was brilliant and so well executed) but we did manage to drop off a few things for our grands and chat briefly with them over the balcony on Easter morning. I’ve been missing family. I shouldn’t complain since my husband still goes to his office at the hospital and I still work in mine from home, so things are fairly business-as-usual on the surface except that I can’t spontaneously go to the corner cafe for a coffee (which I never did before not even once, so why do I miss it? But I suddenly do.)

    I’ve been knitting to take the edge off and have so far avoided random cleaning. Well, I did do the oven over the weekend but that was more a health-n-safety issue than boredom. My niece asked me if I’m cooking and baking for entertainment. Bless her heart: I’m eating. And yes, sometimes cake with my hands.

    Stay well, and thank you for sharing the eggs. Made my day.

    PS: I get to touch a leaf. That seems promising, no?

  22. What a great idea! I’m so glad that you found an activity that helped you and others. You’ve probably seen this somewhere on the internet but I was reminded by what you wrote. This too shall pass. It may pass like a kidney stone but it will eventually pass. For whatever reason I’m hanging on to that.

  23. I embrace this concept whole heartedly. I live alone which is mostly just fine by me. Except when my favourite family holiday is foiled by a pandemic. So I put on my big girl panties and my bunny ears and delivered no-contact Easter baskets and treats to family and friends. If you push the love out, it comes back at you in spades. My heart got filled right up.

  24. Wow. I wish I had a relative like you! It’s just my brother and I (and our partners and my brothers two kids) but nobody lives nearby. We text and phone and Zoom, but I miss hugs real bad. You did hugs via baked goods and knitted eggs. Made me feel better about the world. Thank you.

  25. Thank you for sharing your wonderfully loving and inventive Easter gifting. It was a treat to imagine how many family and friends were blessed by your thoughtfulness.

  26. What an incredibly awesome, wonderful, loving and fun thing to do! You are a constant source of inspiration and amazement to me.

  27. I came home one day to find a whack of plastic flamingos around my yard. There was a sign on the door about it. Apparently you wait a few days then go flamingo someone else’s yard. So, I flamingoed a yard and went home happy. Only to see that the recipient had a Ring doorbell with camera and posted me to facebook planting the birds. I scolded her that friends don’t post photos of friends bending over on the internet. Also, it’s supposed to be a surprise thing you do to someone. So, sorry you got caught but at least it wasn’t with your arse up in the air. Your surprise is also much, much more lovely.

  28. I love this SO HARD! Can we have Easter do-overs and do it again? Also, what others said. The snow is just not fair. C’mon weather, lighten the EF up.

  29. This is absolutely lovely and loving and it got me onto the idea of doing something similar in a couple of weeks where we in Denmark has a holiday associated with a special baked good (that I happen to love to make!).
    I am hoing straight to planning mode! Thanks for the inspiration ❤️❤️❤️

  30. Possibly the best blog post ever! We were sad to miss our littles on Easter but we made a stealth delivery the night before and got done great photos. And family zoom meetings are both necessary and hilarious.
    Love you all!

  31. I did the same thing with my two sets of married kids too. It was about three and a half hours driving, all told, but worth it to not only see their faces across the parking lot when they came down and properly disinfected their Bunny Big Ears (ridiculously huge bunny that my daughter-in-law informed me they would never be too old for) and then also saw the masks their sister has made for the entire family and the homemade dark chocolate cherries and milk chocolate peanut butter balls I had made them. It was weird not to have them at the house, but so good to see them from a distance!

  32. What a lovely idea and so very thoughtful. We don’t live that close to our children (except for the one that lives with us). I took advantage of delivery back in March before things got hairy and had an Easter basket delivered to my grandson. I hate not seeing him.

  33. You are an amazing, inspirational person Stephanie. Thanks for sharing every part of your journey. It helps us all and we are all in this together. I left fresh baked Lithuanian coffee bread for a friend once. A squirrel found it first. I hope everything you made with such love made it safely and I know it brought joy to all.

  34. Love, Love, Love this idea – wish I’d thought of it! We’re about 20 miles from our DS/DDIL and Most Adorable Grandson. A stealth trip to them would have been fun and safe. Ah well, something to remember for another time even after it’s safe. Thank you for sharing this wonderful plan of yours!! I’m doing some cleaning/sorting as we are supposed to move this summer and am grateful to keep busy through this. I’ve finished 2, almost 3 projects in the last 6 weeks and knitting, as always, helps to keep me balanced. Texting and talking on the phone, Zooming once a week all help to keep us in tune.

    Much love to you and yours. May your time be blessed.

  35. This is such a great idea, wish I did this for Easter, but if you had written about it before Easter…it would not have been a surprise for your family. I’m always late to the party!
    Take care of yourself, on to another day like yesterday, and the day before, day before that too……

  36. Oh, you’ve inspired me! I’ve been sending cards to friends but leaving them cinnamon rolls will be a wonderful treat. Thanks for sharing such a great idea!!

  37. So stinking cute! I love the eggs! What do you stuff them with? Yarn bits? cotton balls? I have a nephew coming in August and I plan on making him some felted planets to play with.

  38. fun!
    btw, we prefer to look at this dreadfully cold, drawn out, snowy April as a way of keeping us in the house locked up. Kinda helps really.
    love those sprites!

  39. We delivered home made cinnamon buns to our loved ones, too, from a safe distance with signs I I made that said “Happy Easter” and “We love you”.

  40. I love your attitude of get out. I try to take my grandson, also Elliott, out for daily walks, he is 8 months old and loves strolling through the neighborhood. I watch him daily, so see his mum and dad also when they drop off/pick up. We are fortunate in that respect, but not the same as quilting with my friends. That is my biggest sadness, missing my friends. I also don’t see this ending soon in Iowa, but I can pray and go to church online. That helps. Take care, dear Stephanie and keep writing. It cleanses the soul to put it In words.

  41. Why did this make me cry? I live thousands of miles away from my family and this crisis is making me miss them more than usual. Steph you always write with such honestly and humanity, please never stop.

  42. Stephanie you are the best. I’m glad that Joe understands your need to do these things so early in the morning! 🙂 You have given your loved ones an Easter to remember, snow, virus and all. And yes, the snow is just getting old! Hugs from Welland!

  43. “and then I came up with a system for blocking them” and the accompanying photo made me literally laugh out loud. While on a conference call. Lesson learned about reading your blog while on conference calls.

  44. Loved the post. I agree that you are an inspiration to us all. Two questions. Are the eggs made with self striping sock yarn? And what is a “walk up”? Is this a Canadian thing? Is it a back porch?

    • In my experience, a walk-up is an apartment on the second floor or higher with no elevator access, so you have to walk up the stairs.

  45. You are amazing. Anyone who would steam-block knitted Easter eggs over the kettle with kitchen tongs because nothing less would do for their family, is just the bee’s knees in my book. Your mother would be so proud.

  46. You’re right about grief being time consuming. I felt like I was using dial-up internet. Showing my age here…some of the younger ones never had to use dial-up…when you had to reinstall windows on 23 floppies so you made sure you had your knitting at work cause you COULD NOT leave it unattended. I guess it gets better.

  47. I’m happy I saw this. And you’re right. This too shall pass. And I often have to walk by a sign my mother got me when my life was much worse than this. It’s Hagrid’s last line from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: “What comes will come, and we’ll meet it when it does.”

  48. You made my heart so happy! I can only facetime with my precious grandson so I’ve been feeling sad. Your post lifted my spirits! Thank you.

  49. Loved it, no wee people in the family here; all teenagers so we didn’t get to do much, but I’ve been keeping in phone touch with my parents and am knitting a Halloween hat with ghosts on it just cos I can. I drop off groceries to mum and dad too, we chat from a suitable distance and sorely miss hugs. The important thing is they’re staying safe and I’ll be able to hug them at the end of all this.

  50. Steph, you and your family are totally awesome! Hope everyone enjoyed their Easter hunts. Sending love and hugs. ❤️

  51. How sweet! hahaha, I love that you were caught on camera!… In other news, I miraculously knit and ENTIRE sweater in a month! I couldn’t believe it! It had tricky colorwork, too. (Okay, it was only tricky because I went off pattern and put the colorwork on the sleeves as well as the yoke.) (And yes, you’ve taught me well, with your whole willy-nilly ‘sort of kept to the pattern’ stories).

  52. OH this was wonderful!!! What a brilliant thing to do! (Though I have qualms about blocking your knitted eggs …sure that’s not a teeny tiny bit OCD???). I loved this account so much that I am now feeling quite sad that I am not related to you and living in snowy Canada … much love to you and all your family from a lockdown London where OF COURSE the weather is unseasonably marvellous. I swear British weather has a personality, and not a very nice one at that.

  53. This was just the post I needed this week. And I loved seeing bunnies updated frock. As the mama of two transgender young adults, one who is non-binary, I just love this. I hope for grands myself one day, and I am going to have to hunt down this bunny and maybe start my own “hope chest” of patterns. Thanks Steph. I might just make it through one more day of work this week.

  54. I love this so much!! What a wonderful idea! How lovely to bring so much joy and fun to your loved ones! Strong work Stephanie and Joe! It’ll be an Easter that is long remembered!

  55. ONG-I am not the only one standing at the kitchen counter, eating cake with my hands!

    What a lovely, awesome Easter you created for the people you love!

  56. Lovely post, and one of the best things in my day–like a visit with a friend. Wishing you and yours all the best.

  57. What a terrific idea!

    This, and your mom’s advice reminds me of some very wise words from a friend I know through AA. He says “there is no chapter in the Big Book of AA called Into Thinking, but there us a chapter called Into Action.” His words have hepted me shape my recovery, and my response to these times.

  58. I grew up in a pretty solemn household, and unfortunately I am a pretty solemn person. After reading this I have decided two things: 1.) I am really going to try to get out of my skin and do more fun thing, 2.) When stuck on doing something fun I will think WWYHD (what would Yarn Harlet do?). There is hope for me yet. Thank you.

  59. Stephanie, you are so brave! I wrap my arms around you and your family. I don’t know you but for reasons you won’t understand, we have some things in common. Stay well, I wish I could knit as fast as you can.

  60. What a fantastic Easter you gave so many people- memorable. I love the eggs!

    Thank you for following the grocery shopping guidelines. I work in a grocery store in downtown Ottawa. I see people shopping multiple times a week, sometimes daily, couples shopping together multiple times a week, and both parents shopping with their kids as well. Thank you!

  61. I have made cakes and breads and shared with my neighbors. Made 30 masks, I know not many compared to many but 20 for the local hospital for non-medical persons and 10 for my brother and his family and a few more for friends around the county. And Yes! I have eaten a few chocolate cakes over the sink too! Chocolate chip cookies here and there. About time to cook something else. I have not knit any eggs … maybe next year.

  62. Nothing says love like a stealth visit from the Easter Bunny! I thought the kids in our snowy culdesac were too old this year for a Bunny visit, but changed my mind at the last minute and supplied stealth treats to all the houses. So glad I did! Making others happy is a gift to you. Well done, Steph and Joe!

  63. What a lovely day you made! Memories will last a long time. Reminded me of my Easters when I was a child. My mother’s parents would come, and we had to stay in the house away from the windows because the Easter Bunny had arrived to hide eggs and goodies. Of course, I knew my grandfather was the Easter Bunny because no one else baked those delicious marzipan filled bunnies in German Bunny-shaped Tins! I think you have created a wonderful tradition!

  64. I’m eating bags of dill pickle chips over the sink. Kinda like cake.

    thank you for your writing – you brought tears and smiles to my face. Can’t get much better than that.

  65. Fabulous! What a great way to spread some Easter joy and love to your friends and family. Those eggs are awesome! I need to knit some of those to have on hand for next Easter! I love it that Eliot’s bunny’s pronouns are they/them/theirs!
    This too shall pass and may we all emerge from this with more love it our hearts!

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