My daughter is lucky enough to have an adult female in her life who is an amazing support and mentor to her. I absolutely love her "Big Sister" (thank GOSH for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America!), and she is wonderful and fabulous and all-around amazing! I constantly feel guilty for knocking plans she's made for her and my daughter. So when I got the super sweet email this morning that she and her family would like to invite Kayla to decorate Easter eggs, I considered it.
I considered it because I didn't want to make her Big Sister feel badly. I considered it because I wanted my daughter to have a opportunity to have fun decorating eggs, a happy memory I have from childhood. I considered it because I feel guilty always telling people they got it wrong. I considered it because I get tired of being the freaky vegan who always makes an issue out of everything. I considered it because I feel badly that our lifestyle inconveniences others.
Maybe this is all in my mind, and others really don't feel this way. I can honestly say that Kayla's Big has never said or done anything to make me feel like I was inconveniencing her, and for the most part, nobody really has. But I still can't always shake the feeling that I am letting people down or disappointing them when I have to ask for accommodations because of our veganism.
So, as I said, I considered it. For about 5 minutes, until I realized, what kind of lesson was this teaching my daughter? That it'a okay to use animals if it's fun? That it's okay to use animals so that we don't slightly inconvenience other people, or disappointed them? I pictured my daughter face as she struggles between enjoying the activity and thinking about the birds who were locked in jails, as her favorite veg book depicts. And how sad it would make her, because I have raised her to know where her food comes from, and I have raised her to be compassionate and know right from wrong. And I thought about the chickens who laid those eggs. I thought about them crammed into tiny cages, or living in an overpopulated, dark room, filled with filth, disease, and death. And I realized nothing in the world is worth contributing to that. Especially for an art project. And it was reaffirmed that being vegan is the right choice, even if it's a little tough sometimes.
So, a quick google search produced this: http://www.peta.org/feat/easter/egg.htmlAlternatives for Easter eggs! So I sent back what I hope was a benign 'thank you, but since we're vegan, we don't eat or use anything that comes from animals, including eggs' email with a link to the alternative eggs. Hopefully this doesn't come across as rude. I think it's important to always offer alternatives, so we vegans don't seem deprived :-)
Anyways, if anyone is looking for an alternative to the egg coloring tradition, here are some ideas courtesy of PETA!