Easter (Now and Then)

This Easter, we took Maddie to her first Easter Egg hunt.  It was also our first Easter Egg hunt in Silicon Valley.

Watching MTV today makes me feel like a crotchety old man.

Back in my day, it was called Easter Vacation, and we went home to visit Mom for a week.  Then we went into the backyard, and watched the kids hunt for Easter Eggs and chocolate bunnies.

  It wasn’t called Spring Break.  And we didn’t go to some tropical destination and watch girls flash their boobies at strangers.

Now, the way I remember Easter Egg hunts was like this:  You boiled eggs, and colored them with food coloring the day before.  You also bought some chocolate bunnies and other treats.  Then, you’d hide the eggs in the grass, shrubbery and by the house and backyard fence.  Some eggs would be in plain sight.  The best treats would be pretty hard to find.  If you had enough kids, you’d let the little kids go first, and then do a re-hiding for the bigger kids.  One parent would be following her kid around with a camera, and the other would be enjoying a lemonade with the other fathers.
 
Cut to present day.  We were warned to get to the park an hour ahead of time.  We couldn’t quite do that, but we did get there a little early.  As we walk into the park, we discover that large sections of some baseball outfields have been sectioned off into areas based on age group.  We make our way to the 3-year-olds’ field.  All around the perimeter were kids and their parents just waiting for the signal to start hunting.  We take our place in what seems to be the last available spot up close to the “do not cross” tape.

I survey the field, and think to myself, “It’s just one big baseball field.  You can’t hide any eggs here.”

Just before it’s time to go hunting, the volunteers shower the field with little candies.  “Oh,” I realize, “they’re not going to hunt delicately painted eggs.  It’s a big candy hunt.  Fine by me.”
 
Then a voice of authority booms over the loudspeaker.  We can’t make out everything he says, but he repeats this part about three times:  “Parents are not allowed on the field with their children.  The egg hunt is for the children only.”  So, apparently they’ve had some trouble with this last year.  Then we hear the countdown:

“Three…  Two… One!”
 
When the buzzer sounded, we scooted Maddie into the field and waited at the sidelines.  She stood there stunned, as all these kids and their parents dash onto the field and scoop up the candy at their feet.  It didn’t seem like anybody was staying at the side lines.

Lillian screams at me, “Go!  Go!  Go!

I gingerly sneak onto the field to point to some candy.  But there isn’t any anywhere near us.  All the other kids and their parents have already made their way to the center of the field and were now meandering around looking for the missed pieces.

Maddie’s missing out.

We’re missing out!

That’s it, I grab Maddie’s hand, rush her over to an area that still had some candy, pointed to it, and stood guard as she did that cute little baby squat to pick up the candies.  If anybody came near us to steal our candy, I was going to give them what for, by God.

Then I look for the next patch of candy to bring Maddie to, but that was it.  There was no more candy.  Anywhere.  The whole Easter Egg hunt was over.  In 80 seconds.  Everybody was leaving the field, counting their loot.  Just like that.  I look back at Lillian, who had to stay with Aaron.  She looked back at me with the same look of disbelief.

Maddie and I head back to Mommy and Aaron.  We gave Maddie lots of praise.  “Wow, look what you got!  That looks great!  You got lots of candy, huh?”  At first we were shocked that it was over so quickly.  But it just meant we had more of the day to play together.

It turned out to be a pretty great Easter after all.