Let the games begin!
I duck out of church early and drive home. There, in the pantry, is the hidden bag of eggs.
For I am Casey, King of the Easter Egg Hunt.
Easter's sort of a weird holiday for kids. It's not like Christmas, when you get a bunch of toys, and it's not like Halloween, when you have to schlep door to door to get your candy. No, the Easter Bunny just brings some to you.
And the Bunny is supposed to hide the eggs, too. Yet another mythical creature that gets the credit for my work. Thanks, Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.
But I figure that the egg hunt is the only part of Easter, besides the long tradition of stealing your kids' candy, that is essentially for adults.
Oh, sure, we SAY that it's for the kids. And it is. But really, it's a great way to look around your house or backyard and realize, "Wow. This place is really dirty."
So, I grab my eggs and head to the backyard, noticing that I really need to mow.
Some eggs are real, dyed eggs. Some are plastic and filled with candy. Each child has about a dozen eggs to find. We try our darnedest to make sure that the eggs are as color-coded as possible, so that each kid knows that the blue eggs, or the yellow eggs, or the red eggs are theirs and theirs alone, and if they see a sister picking up their color egg, then they should make sure to scream as loudly as possible and blame that sister for theft.
I throw a few eggs in the middle of the lawn. My youngest children are four and five, and don't like a challenge as much as the older two.
I do hide some chocolate-filled eggs in the shade. I learned that little trick after one particularly disastrous hunt a few years back, when my excited girls waved limp Snickers bars in my face. Then they tried to open and lick the melted goo out of the package.
For my older kids, I hide a few in the branches of the tree and in our fence. I also chuck a few under the bush. That's rather mean of me. You have to reach way in under that bush, and it gets sort of scratchy. Still, those eggs are hidden, and that's the important thing. I'll let the Easter Bunny take the blame.
As I putter about the backyard, slinging eggs here and there, I'm trying to make a mental map. It's not unheard of for an egg to be hidden a little too well, and everyone, my wife and me included, tear the backyard apart looking for that thing.
Roll a few under the picnic table. I briefly consider throwing one on the roof, but that may be a bit much. It sure would be hidden, though.
Put some on the rocks, some at the base of the fence. I put two eggs of different colors under the rainspout.
There. All hidden. I stand back and survey the backyard. It's dotted with pastel.
We used to go to the big local Easter Egg hunts, but a few years ago, my two youngest didn't get any eggs at all, despite being in the section for toddlers. As soon as time started for the hunt, a few parents picked their kids up, stuffed them under their arms, and ran out there, grabbing as many eggs for their kids as they could. My wife and I followed the rules, and our kids didn't get anything.
And the whole opportunist approach to the huge Egg Hunts bothers me. Kids are encouraged to grab as many as possible. They shove each other out of the way to try to fill their grocery sack with eggs. And some kids always get far more than anyone else. Good manners means that you won't get much.
So, we don't do those anymore. We just do it at home.
My family comes home from church, and I explain that the Easter Bunny visited while we were gone (all the while chafing at the indignity of sharing the credit with old Bunny boy. The things we do to create a little magic and whimsy in our kids' lives, eh?). And that our backyard is ready for them to explore and fill their little Easter baskets with eggs.
Thirty seconds later, I'm told it was the easiest Easter Egg hunt ever. Again, I blame the Bunny.
Another successful hunt. Next year, I'm going to do better. Next year, they'll never find the eggs.
Next year, I'll leave them all in the trunk of my car. "Easiest Easter Egg hunt," indeed.