As a kid, Easter meant family. We would pile in the car and drive through the desert to see my grandmother, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends. We would have an Easter egg hunt under the bright blue Arizona sky in the tiny park across the street from her house. Then we would eat a huge meal before going home.
It was the same every year for as long as I can remember. Now that I have kids, we don’t live near my sister and brothers so our kids can’t hunt Easter eggs together. Since moving to Los Angeles we’ve created our own version of Family and started our own traditions.
For several years now, we’ve spent Easter not in a house, a church or a restaurant, but at a campground. We get the same spot by the beach in Southern California with beautiful sunsets and sometimes not ideal weather. It started out with just a few families and now has grown to be many adults and dozens of kids. We’ve added new babies to the group, and watched our kids grow up and grow closer together.
They’ve learned to roast marshmallows, ride bikes, and find ways to get one of the parents to buy everyone ice cream. This year what blew me away was how independent the kids are getting. I’ve said how it breaks my heart a little that my boys, who are 7 and 9, don’t need as many hugs and kisses as they did when they were little, but on this trip I hardly saw them. Forget about hugs, they wanted very little to do with me.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved having time to read a book, talk to friends, and do yoga by the beach with the ladies. But while they’re growing closer to friends they’re finding me much less interesting.
At the end of every Easter weekend we do an Easter Egg hunt at the campground no matter how cold it is that morning or how disgusting we feel from days of camping. This year we had 20 kids at the campground all anxiously awaiting their loot. For my kids, the jig was up long ago. My younger son took me aside last week to tell me he had a secret that he’d never told anyone; “I know you and the other parents hide the eggs. There’s no Easter Bunny. ” I told him that was ridiculous and of course there was an Easter Bunny, “Who do you think lays the plastic eggs?” He looked at me like I was some kind of idiot.
This year at about 4 a.m. Sunday morning, it started pouring. Not a misty drizzle like we experience every year, but a downpour that lasted for hours. No Easter egg hunt, just cranky parents packing up wet and muddy gear to go home.
When we finally got back to our warm dry house, I quickly put together a little something for my boys. Just a basket with a few pieces of candy meant for the egg hunt plus a $3 minifigure Lego pack. I told them that Easter Bunny left it for them while we were gone.
They both smiled big and gave me a big hug. They may be too old for the Easter Bunny, but they’re never too old for tradition.
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