I love Easter. It has always been my favorite holiday. To me, it’s about forgiveness, new beginnings, new life, and renewal. It’s always been a deep feeling holiday that extend beyond the bunny and chocolates.
One of my favorite Easters was in 2009. Ana was finally old enough to grasp that candy was left all over our house, and my son had enough therapies to see that it was pretty cool. The Bunny left them jelly beans, bubbles, and Reeses’. They were wicked excited and could barely contain themselves. Scott and I followed them around, laughed, and loved the moments. I never want to forget that morning as long as I live.
Anyone who actually knows me, has heard our stories of Easter egg hunt fails. Actually, we’ve never been a part of a public successful one, but we’re far enough away from the experiences to see the humor in both of them.
We tried two hunts the first year after we moved to Nebraska. One was around my son’s birthday. I took the kids, along with one of his friends to the city egg hunt. The kids were in two different hunting categories. We’d never been to a hunt before and had no idea what to expect. The kids lined up with the kids their ages, and listened for the signal to start hunting.
In a flash, they were off with their baskets. They ran and ran and watched other kids pick up the eggs they wanted. We were clearly amateurs, as I stood back like the parents were supposed to, while others went to collect candy for their kids. Honestly, I’ve never understood parents like that, but to each their own.
In less than five minutes, the hunt was over and many kids were leaving with full baskets. My son had zero, my daughter had four.
“Didn’t you have fun trying?” I asked, trying to put a positive spin on the situation.
“It was fun until kids took eggs out of my hand and basket.”
“Here, you can have two of my eggs,” my three-year old generously offered. He graciously accepted the gift and we continued on with our day.
Our final public Easter egg hunt took place two weeks later, at a church, one that was not ours. Scott found a hunt the day before Easter at local church.
Due to the cold weather and slight rain, the number of people who attended were few. When we arrived, we saw MANY eggs on the church lawn and knew that our kids had a shot to pick up a few. They didn’t need the candy, but we wanted them to have the same happy, fun memories we had as kids. The kids lined up in their designated spots and were told to gather eggs, but not open any until told. At this point, my kids would have followed any direction in order to hunt the eggs.
The hunt began, and like pros, the kids gathered eggs in their baskets. Scott and I watched, as our kids had a good time. They were smiling and happy. The attendees were kinder too, no one took eggs out of hands or baskets. When the lawn was cleared, the group gathered together.
“On the count of three, open an egg,” a person with a microphone told us.
I looked down to see tears running down my son’s face. “The eggs are empty!” he whispered.
Scott and I looked at each other, we’d never seen an egg hunt like this before.
“As you can see, all of the eggs are empty, just like the empty tomb on Easter morning. You’re really surprised right now. Imagine how surprised the three women were when they discovered the empty tomb! Let’s always remember the real reason for Easter. He has risen!” A person from the church explained.
Scott and I looked at each other, and our two very disappointed children. “That’s it? No candy?” asked my son.
“Well, at least you can keep the eggs,” we offered, always trying to find the silver lining.
My daughter cried this time, “We don’t even get to keep our eggs?”
“Um, I guess not,” we said.
By that time we were so frustrated with this event that we returned some of the eggs and let our kids keep a few. While we understood the message of the church, we totally did not agree with the broken tradition of how they did their hunt.
From that day on, we kept our Easter Egg Hunts to our own house on Easter morning. That way, we knew exactly how our kids would react and the message that they’d receive.
Years later, my kids still say, “Can you believe there was an Easter Egg hunt with empty eggs? Why did they even do it?” Each year whenever it gets brought up, I laugh. I’m glad it made an impression on them. The surprises, both good and bad, are how childhood memories are made. I’m glad my kids have some of each.
For more stories about motherhood, please read I Still just want to Pee Alone.