Michelle and I were talking today about someone we both know. He was telling her all the things he HAD to do both tonight and tomorrow because its Easter. All in the name of tradition.
Michelle and I have it easier. Every Easter she makes Au Gratin taters and we just hang out together. Its nice, and normally we don’t have to go anywhere or do anything. But her telling me about this person reminded me of the year my almost missing Easter completely restyled in a new tradition…
Now for the record, Easter in general annoys me. For the sole reason that you never know what day it will be. Christmas is always December 25th, New Years? Jan 1. 4th of July, well duh, even Memorial and Labor Day are easy to figure out. Easter though, is different. We know it’s a Sunday, but which one? March or April? Google tells us:
According to the Bible, Jesus’ death and resurrection occurred around the time of the Jewish Passover, which was celebrated on the first full moon following the vernal equinox.
Seriously? There has to be a simpler way.
As a kid, we liked Easter (and Mom always knew when it was) because of Easter baskets, chocolate bunnies and jelly beans! It was almost as good as Halloween. I will admit I would raid extra jelly beans for me from my younger sibling’s baskets.
As I grew up and got on my own, I started forgetting about it. Way back in the wayback days, before Facebook and when I was single, I never knew when it was until some business would have a sign that said closed for Easter, luckily my favorite bars never were.
Well, as it happens with many things, kids change things….
One year, when the Mathmajor was 5 or 6 (I think 6) it was bed time and he went upstairs to go to sleep, Along about 10 o’clock he comes running back down all excited and said, “The Easter Bunny comes tonight! I hope I get something fun!”
His mom and I looked at each other in a panic, because neither of us (Nor apparently the Easter Bunny) had any idea this was coming. How the kid knew I will never know. Needless to say, at that minute I was pretty sure the Easter Bunny had lost our address!
Being the resourceful one, I went into McGyver mode! OK, what is in the house that he would like. Suddenly I remembered an unused Barnes and Noble gift card in my wallet. I had found it just that week. Mathmajor had discovered gift cards in his Christmas stocking that year, and loved them. Plus he really liked getting Thomas the Train and/or books at Barnes and Noble.
OK, that part was settled, but how do we make it special for a 6-year-old when there is no basket or card. Then it hit me, a treasure hunt. Have a letter addressed to him to open from the Easter Bunny with the first clue. Then have him traipse all over the house and yard looking for other clues.
Folks, this was about midnight when I came up with the plan, and when rummy, this is NOT easy to do! I first figured out where to hide it, and I believe it was the clothes drier. Then I worked backwards with clues finally getting back tot he original letter.
They had to be challenging enough to make it fun, but not so much to make him give up. Then there had to be at least ten to keep him occupied. I think I made it to bed at 2. He was up and ready to go at 6:30, so here was bleary-eyed dad ready to watch.
He loved it! He would open each clue, read it, ponder for a bit, and go off running to the next one. (Now and then with some hints from the parents.) He found the gift in the dryer and was ready to go RIGHT NOW to the book store! (We held off till the next day as it was closed!)
Then, later that morning, the Easter Grandma Bunny showed up with a basket of chocolate as well. That was one happy kid, and I patted myself on the back as one smart dad. Next year, I will be ready and would NOT have to work so hard.
At least I thought not until about 2 days before the following Easter when he said, “I hope there is another Treasure Hunt! That was so much fun!” Damn…..
So yep, a tradition was born, and as he got older, the clues got harder and spread out farther (One year a mile away to the swing set at his school, another year it was math equations and a code that had to be deciphered.) Soon it was 2 different hunts though, as the young Manchild wanted to play as well!
This went on for 12 more years until they both out grew it! It was hard, but fun, but I was NOT sorry when they were done with it. (Though the Easter Grandma Bunny never considers them too old! )
Tomorrow, Manchild will be with us for the taters and pork loin, and aside from mowing the grass and getting ready for the week, it will be a relaxing day. That is MY idea of a tradition!
Happy Easter y’all!