I'd like to rent a couple of little kids, just for the day. I want to borrow them long enough to dress them up in their Sunday best and have an Easter egg hunt. I'll return them to their rightful owners immediately after brunch, I swear.
Having children over the age of 21 has its advantages (no more worries about Minor in Possession arrests, for example), and - listen up, kids - I'm in no hurry to be a grandmother. But let's face it, some holidays are simply more fun with rug rats running around in a sugar-fueled tizzy.
The Easters of my youth were the stuff dreams are made of. My four siblings and I would wake at dawn to find a fluffy new stuffed animal perched on each of our pillows, gingham ribbons tied around their necks. We'd hop out of bed and follow powdery white "bunny prints" to where our first egg was hiding.
In our house, the Easter Bunny didn't hide plain colored eggs. Oh, no. Our bunny created individual nests of green grass to cradle each hard-boiled treasure with jelly beans and a fuzzy, yellow chick for garnish.
(Martha Stewart had nothin' on our bunny.)
Magically, at the end of the hunt, we'd discover the piÃce de resistance: our Easter baskets. Eye-popping works of art, they were hand-stuffed, gaily wrapped with colored cellophane and adorned with enormous ribbons. Inside the baskets were an assortment of sandbox toys, balls, yo-yos and the Holy Grail: candy! Lots and lots of candy.
My mother would say, "You can have ONE piece before Mass and that's it."
Ha! As if.
By the time we marched into church, decked out in crisp new dresses, straw bonnets and patent leather shoes, we were so hopped up on sugar, we looked like the cast of "Valley of the Dolls."
Years later, the Easter Bunny staged the same elaborate productions for my kids: nests, stuffed animals, jelly beans, the works. I relished the tradition and enjoyed giving my children the same handmade, heartfelt, teeth-rotting experiences I had as a child.
I miss those days.
I miss dyeing eggs and assembling globs of non-biodegradable plastic grass that would later strangle the drum of my vacuum cleaner. I miss buying stuffed animals, plastic pails and shovels wrapped in netting, new Mary Janes for my daughter and scratchy knickers for my son. I miss watching my little ones nod off as their blood sugar levels plummet at 2 in the afternoon.
But most of all, I miss the candy.
I love those hollow chocolate bunnies and yummy little eggs wrapped in colorful foil. I adore the jelly beans and malted milk balls. And the Peeps! Those gooey marshmallow chicks that stick to your teeth and give you a brilliant yellow smile. Oh, I do miss the Peeps. I filled those baskets so full of sweets, my kids never noticed the handfuls I stole when they weren't looking.
These days, with everyone in the family watching our weight, the Easter candy aisle in the grocery store is off limits. Oh, I could sneak down and cop a Cadbury, but I'm afraid my doctor would pop around the corner and remind me of my last blood sugar reading.
(Come to think of it, the entire Easter banquet is a nutrition nightmare. Did you know there are more than 1,000 milligrams of sodium in one serving of ham? And the cholesterol count in deviled eggs? I shudder to think.)
That's why I've got to find some little kids. Having tots around gives you an automatic all-bets-are-off exemption to your diet, if only for the day.
So if you have a couple of children who love candy and the thrill of the hunt, but are dim-witted enough not to notice when I steal liberally from their baskets, I'd love to spoil them for a couple of hours. I promise to get them home on time. And I guarantee they'll be begging for a nap 10 minutes after they walk through the door.