Today, Easter Sunday, marked the 6th Annual Annie Easter Egg Hunt for Finn. He’s the little guy who lives next door. From the time he was two, I’ve been hiding little plastic
eggs in my very little front yard for him. At the beginning, when he was two, just finding the empty eggs was enough to give him the surprise which it was meant to be. At that time, he had a little tiny Easter basket that he carried seriously around from egg to egg. But then, Egg Hunts, like everything else in a little boy’s life, had to get more interesting and thus, more creative.
I called on the spirit of my dear mother who was an ace at any kind of holiday celebration. Her creativity would blossom every time there was a red-lettered day on the calendar. It didn’t matter what it was, she was ready. She celebrated holidays that most people had never even heard of. She was particularly fond of patriotic holidays waving that flag from the front porch for every appropriate holiday from Flag Day to the Fourth of July and even some that were borderline patriotic. On George Washington’s birthday, she’d bake little cookies in the shape of cherry trees and little hatchets and send us off to school to be envied by all the kids who didn’t have such a clever mom. She outdid herself on Valentines’ Day. She would take an ordinary shoe box and transform it into a work of art with aluminum foil and little white doilies and red hearts cut out of construction paper. We’d have the most beautiful boxes in the classroom — albeit, usually the least filled at the end of the day. But that didn’t matter to my mom. No, she’d take each and every one of those Valentines and hang it proudly from every inch of the mantel and mirror above it. When they were all there, it looked like the Eyerman kids were the most popular kids in the school. And being Irish through-and-through, on St. Patrick’s Day she’d cover us with green ribbons and shamrocks, ugly-blue-uniform be damned.
So, in her spirit, when Finn had learned to open those eggs and expect something inside, I first went the pennies — when Canada still used them — and candy route. That was sufficient for a few years. Then, thank-you-dollar-store, I started getting loud, sure-to-
annoy-parents toys to put in the eggs. It’s not always easy to find things that small to put in a plastic egg. I remember a whistle, a very small deck of cards, dice in case he wanted to gamble, marbles (he was old enough not to swallow them) and candy, of course. But, the older he got, the more challenging the egg hunt became.
For the last two years, since he is getting closer to the double digits, I’ve had to dig deeper into my creative mind to challenge this very smart, clever, but still excited-for-the-hunt, boy. Last year, I decided to go with a treasure-hunt sort of theme. That way I didn’t have to find something to put in every egg — just write a clue, eh? How difficult could that be. I decided there had to be a theme so I had some direction to move forward in.
Last year, since Finn was still into Super Heroes that was my theme. I spent hours reading up on the lore of Wonder Woman, The Hulk, The Green Hornet, Superman and, of course, Spider Man. Then I printed off pictures of them and used my little coloured pencils to make their outfits match the comic book images. It took hours and hours. then I had to write the clues so that each egg would lead Finn to the next super Hero and, in the end, to the treasure. He appreciated the effort and the hunt was over in ten minutes.
This year, since he turned 8-1/2, I asked him, seriously, if he still even wanted to have an Easter Egg Hunt. I mean, this is a kid who is learning to play Fur Elise on the piano, reads voraciously, and does magic tricks that I still can’t figure out how he did it. He thought
about it and said, “Yes, Annie, I still want an Easter Egg hunt.” Ok, there it was, our 6th Annual Easter Egg Hunt would be a reality.
Then, I needed another theme for this year. Since I don’t have as many heart-to-hearts with him as I used to before he went to school, I really didn’t know what he was into these days. So I didn’t want to spend hours putting together clues that he wouldn’t have a Clue about what I was talking about. So, as in blogs, when in doubt, go for the cat angle. Since he knows Nick and Rose well, and has Mimi living at his house, I figure he’d catch on pretty quickly to cat clues. I mean, how deep and difficult can a clue be when it’s coming from a cat, eh?
So Friday afternoon, I spent three hours creating clever-cat-clues and cutting out little cat images to put on each egg so that I’d know which egg had which clue. This wasn’t easy mainly because there are only so many hiding places in that little front yard and since this was the 6th Annual Hunt, Finn, by this time, has found them all. But, I was not going to be defeated. I became my mother’s daughter, and in her spirit, wrote clever, slightly-difficult clues to lead to the treasure at the end — this year a crystal.
One of the things I love about Finn, is that he gets really excited about doing this — even at age 8-1/2. When I knocked on his door to start the hunt, he took the time to read a sign I had made announcing this year’s theme: The First Ever, Extraordinary, Purr-fect,
Nick and Rose Easter Egg Hunt. I asked if he knew what this would mean. He said, “I’ll have to think like a cat.” He’s a very smart guy.
The whole hunt was over in 15 minutes. But it’s always worth it. Finn and I have made an agreement that when he turns 10 that he will do the Easter Egg Hunt for me. I’ll pass on to him the twelve plastic eggs I’ve been using all these years and a paper-mache rabbit with one ear broken that has always held a clue. Maybe, he’ll change his mind and I’ll still be writing clues and hiding eggs even when he turns 10. And that would be just fine with me!