Hop, hop, hoping along. Basket in hand. And then I spot two eggs on the window sill. I run towards them. My siblings and cousins haven’t noticed them. They are older, so their baskets are already full to the brim with eggs. Mainly the liqueur-filled ones that look better than they taste. This time I get to them first. And I am happy. I gaze at them lying at the bottom of my basket. I must have been around 4.
That year my savvy cocktail drinking gran had devised two routes of Easter egg hunts through her rambling house. One for us kids, and one for her sons-in-law, that included my dad.
According to the family tradition, she had hidden masses of eggs. Everyone got a basket with their name on it and would set off. In gran's house you could find eggs all year round. Chances were highest during hide-and-seek. But at Easter the eggs were fresh, new and tasty.
Years later, I made an Easter Egg hunt for my dad. I was in my early 20s, and he in his 50s. Just for fun... He found most of the eggs within minutes in a total frenzy. The memories of past hunts at my gran’s came flooding back. That sensation of being elbowed out of the way by grown men – dads! – for them to get to the eggs first. Hence the two routes. Clever gran.
These memories surfaced again yesterday, as I got up early to hide eggs for Digger and Dad, on Easter Sunday morning. The day before we had seriously hard-boiled a number of eggs, and then smothered them in expressionistic decoration. I placed them around the sitting room, together with a few chocolate eggs. And the eggs from Rosa and her mum: a huge one, and a cardboard one filled with tiny underpants (Eddie has slooowly begun his potty training). Football undies.
Digger is 2 ½ so hunting around for hidden objects is the kind of game that really appeals to him. As soon as he cottoned on to the chocolate inside some of them he munched away, and soon all the hard-boiled eggs were back in their hiding places. We all had too much chocolate for one morning. But we all had fun, and it felt like Easter.
Last Easter Pierre’s mum, Nana, had made a lovely hunt, of plastic eggs with coins inside – her addition to our tradition. (When we next go we have to bring back some of those eggs. I haven’t seen them here…)
It struck me how happy I feel when we, our little family, create new traditions.
Traditions that follow the seasons and punctuate the year. I love sharing all this with Digger and Pierre. It give me a very deep sense of satisfaction and peace. We incorporate the best of our childhood, and leave other things behind. That mixture of tradition and innovation that is any family’s perrogative.
Easter is such a lovely time of year too. Nature waking up again. So much to explore outside.
Such a gift of life and light.
I look forward to next year already.