Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I've spent the last three evenings fairly intoxicated from wine. This is highly unusual for me. I drink about, oh, a couples times a month, if that. It's enough to make me feel like I've been hit by a truck.

But what I'd like to talk about is Easter, specifically Easters past. I was giving it a lot of thought after seeing my cousin's baby and seeing another cousin's pregnant wife and talking to his brother about his girlfriend's pregnancy. Yeah. Suddenly my barren family is super fertile.

But moving ahead. My brother and I engaged in a hunt each year. My mom would leave a basket in our rooms and lay a track of jelly beans from our bedroom doors down the stairs to the living room. Then the action began.

Mom ran out of creative hiding places by the time I was about 10 and so my brother and I had egg discovery down to a science. No maps, no clues, just pure raw memory recall of previous years. It'd last about 5-10 minutes. We were good.

There was one rule. Although we were not forced to divide our normal chocolate eggs (if we were, I'd have just let my brother find them all and take half his work from him), we did have to share special cream eggs and chocolate bunnies. This made finding those less than exciting. It was wasted precious seconds that could have been used building our private stash of non-shareables.

We actually kept this up well into my teens. After my mom got sick, we had one last hunt, probably because we all really felt like it was important. And then when she died and we moved in with our dad, we were pretty much done. But our dad was just getting started. He hadn't had us for an Easter egg hunt in over a decade. He was adamant this would be remedied and we'd have the bestest hunt ever whether we liked it or not.

He woke us up early; I was 17, my brother 15. We were very into sleeping in those days and not so keen to comb Grandma's living room for chocolate. For one, it was damn ass early. Two, it would actually require effort as it was a new place and it was too damn ass early for that.

But obedience and a desire to please won out, not fully quashed by sleepiness. Dad dragged us out of bed and we groggily and unenthusiastically opened drawers and lifted couch cushions with the lifelessness lack of enthusiasm you'd expect from prisoners of war digging their own graves. Dad was in his element. We were awake, doing his bidding and giving him memories he's probably long since forgotten.

We also discovered he didn't quite think the way our mom thought. His hiding methods were strange and confusing to us. Dusty crevices not seen or remembered for years? There's a good place for eggs. Under the furniture with dog hair tumbleweeds? You know it. We found eggs for months as we did periodic cleaning, covered in questionable materials.

Dad ran commentary as we moved through the room, offering helpful suggestions and misleading clues. We found chocolate animals except for bunnies. Our father bought his chocolate out of the box. He chortled from the sidelines, "There's other animals! Who's ever squirrelly gets the squirrel!"

Grandma sat in her chair and observed with cheery smiles. She was cute. Likely it had been years since an Easter egg hunt had taken place in her home. I don't know if she ever even did egg hunts before.

You know, it's kind of funny. Everyone thinks about the things our parents do for their kids, right? The creation of traditions, planning family trips, making memories for their children to hold on to. Sometimes, though, kids play the part for their parents to help them reclaim things they lost, or to make their parents feel like they're doing a good job.

My brother and I were over Easter. Our mom had passed, our home was gone, our cats were living elsewhere and all our stuff was stored away. Our dad likely thought it would be important to uphold our old traditions, but seeing his glee made me realize he was doing it for him. And that was okay. We did the hunt for our mom the year before, we could do it for him too. It's not always about the chocolate and it's not always about the kids.


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