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Today's Family Magazine

MOMMY CHRONICLES: Easter is for bunnies, not hogs

By Stacy Turner

Each year since they were small, my girls have enjoyed searching for their baskets on Easter morning to find out what the Easter Bunny has left for them.  Now that they’re older, the hiding spots have become more challenging, and they need to work a little harder to locate their baskets. Once they do, they’ll usually dig past the chocolate bunnies, brightly colored marshmallows, and the jellybeans to get to the good stuff.  They’re more interested in the non-edible assortment of art supplies, jewelry charms, toothbrushes, nail polish and beauty supplies they find inside.  That is, until it comes time for the annual egg hunt.

It began a few years back when we celebrated Easter with extended family at my mother-in-law’s house.  The Saturday before Easter, my girls grabbed their rubber boots and plastic buckets and hunted around outside for brightly colored plastic eggs with their older cousins.  The older kids loved helping the little ones find enough barely-hidden eggs to fill their colorful baskets, and then searched higher and lower for the better-hidden eggs meant for them.  It really didn’t matter what was inside those eggs –– wrapped candy, pocket change, or silly plastic toys, the fun was in the hunt.  As an added bonus, Grandma usually managed to slip some cash into a well-hidden egg or two.  And when we celebrated Easter with my side of the family, my girls enjoyed sharing this tradition with even more cousins, and although they all enjoy the candy, once again, it was the joy of being together that made these moments shine.

Ahead of time, my sister and I divided the massive stash of plastic eggs and shopped for all manners of candy, hair accessories, and other trinkets small enough to fit inside the hundreds of plastic eggs we had stockpiled.  The morning of the hunt, the kids were sequestered inside while the adults put the dogs away and then scurried around outside hiding hundreds of eggs, and keeping count of the final number for the searchers.  Then we’d turn them loose to search, letting the dogs out to help find the last few too-well-hidden eggs.  As much as they enjoyed counting to see who had the most eggs, the cousins always seemed to gather around the same number.  And when they opened their eggs and sorted their winnings, they’d swap items they had a lot of, or share what they knew the others really liked.

One year, some of the cousins couldn’t make it, so grandma invited a friend’s grandkids to join us.  So after filling and hiding hundreds of eggs, we turned the kids loose to search.  Since the new kids were younger, both parents set out with them to give them a hand.  Well, those two ‘teams’ got caught up in the hunt, with the two adults hoarding the majority of eggs for their kids.  Somewhat shocked by their behavior, we figured that after the excitement of the hunt wore off, when the kids sat down to count their eggs, the parents would recognize their over-zealousness and spread out the eggs among the other disappointed kids.  Especially since they contributed nothing to the hunt but their egg-collecting baskets and their take-no-prisoners attitude.  Sadly, we were wrong.

That year, my kids still had a wonderful time with their cousins, after the egg hogs left to pillage another unsuspecting neighborhood egg hunt.  But that year, the majority of the eggs they touched were the hard-boiled variety they colored together after the interlopers left.  And we all learned some valuable lessons that year –– first, that Easter is for bunnies, not hogs.  Secondly, we learned that the Easter bunny is just as smart as Santa since on Easter morning, he brought the kids some of the fun stuff they missed from the hunt the day before.  Lastly, being together with the people you love is better than all the eggs in the world.

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