Archive for Sunday, April 8, 2007

Sugar-loving kids wanted for brief, nostalgic re-creation of Easters past

April 8, 2007


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.

Boomer girl

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.

- Cathy Hamilton is editor of and a 51-year-old empty-nester. Events recounted here may be embellished, exaggerated or completely made up because she can't remember squat anymore.


number3of5 11 years, 1 month ago

I am an empty nester with 5 adult children, 7 adult grandchildren, 2 teen grandchildren and 2 grandchildren under 9 years of age. I also have 6 great grandchildren under the age of 8. But, I still color Easter Eggs. I like to make my husband an Easter Basket, but it is hard to find enough sugar free candy for it that is affordable. I too remember the wonderful Easter egg hunts of my youth. There were no plastic eggs or stuffed toys, only a basket full of candy and colored eggs, occasionally some fruit or a cupcake. Most of these things were hand made by my mother, which was no small feat as she had 8 to do.

Amy Bartle 11 years, 1 month ago

Cathy, I think you have a selective memory. Like the mother who forgets the pain of childbirth, you forgot all the negative memories of Easter. Like your 3 year old screaming about the tights she has to put on for Easter service, because the seams around the toes are not properly aligned. The littlest one sneaks into her sister's easter basket, even thought it contains all the same stuff, to steal extra candy and occasionally trade the orange flower shaped lollipop for the seemingly more attractive and tastier purple one. We dashed off to church and when we go there, I noticed that my youngest one defied the "just one piece" order, evidenced by the chocolate all over her face. I had to grab a kleenex to clean her up before entering the church. The only relief, as you pointed out, is that now one of the kids is napping, coming down after the sugar high. I have to go now so I can sweep up the jelly beans that got thrown around the house. Contact me and I'll drop my kids off at your house. You can play easter with them anytime you want!

tumbleweed 11 years, 1 month ago

I was an empty nester for about six years. I would sit and reminisce quite often, of the days my two children were small and the raw innocence that lasts such a short time. When a kiss made the boo-boos all better, bubbles in the wading pool was extra fun , or a simple lullaby at night could lull them to sleep. I missed them fitting snugly into my arms and holding them close against my chest while they slept. And like your situation, the holidays just weren't the same without having their excitement and anticipation. I wouldn't be able to sleep the night before Christmas, because I couldn't wait to see the look on their faces when they walked into the livingroom and too see what Santa had brought them. Even decorating for the holidays was more fun. Little did I know that that part of my life would make a complete circle. I am now raising my two youngest grandchildren. Two little boys, five and three now. Their grandfather and I took them to see the Easter Bunny this year, because the five year old declared that he had never seen the Easter Bunny. Of course we had their picture made, sitting one on each side of the bunny's lap. The three year old was a little confused by the fact that the Easter Bunny didn't talk. I said it's not like seeing Santa Claus, and he asks, "what do you want for Christmas?" So they saw the (non-speaking) Easter Bunny, and I doubt they will ask to see it again. But what is really awesome to me, is the pure innocence that is required to truly "believe" in the Easter Bunny?

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