A lot of the magic of holidays for little ones lies is the mystique. Dewey morning eyes light up to see an Easter basket full of goodies or a yard stocked with bright eggs peeking out from behind the begonias. Imaginations run wild wondering what color the Easter Bunny is, how high he can hop, and how fast he must run to make it to everyone's house before morning. And no matter how much guessing takes place, no one ever knows how to answer those questions for sure.
It's been quite a while since I woke up to find Easter treats waiting for me. But this year, I had the joy of joining Gisela and her family for the holiday weekend. After dinner on Saturday (and once little Rio conveniently went across the street to play video games), all the 'big kids' gathered in the living room. Mounds of candy were dumped into a humongous pile on the floor, and we got to work filling 1000 plastic eggs for the 17th annual neighborhood Easter egg hunt. (Can you believe a family would host this for 17 years straight?!) Every time I looked up to grab another egg or piece of candy, I had to marvel at our motley group. Here we were, teenagers, college kids, parents, and friends, all sitting together on a Saturday night, working toward a common goal.
Just as we were nearing the bottom of the candy pile, Gisela upended the last bag of plastic eggs onto the carpet. Almost immediately, teenage Sydney noticed small pellets of mouse poop interspersed with the eggs. While Syd screeched off to wash her hair (the bag had been emptied more or less over her shoulder), the rest of us got to work cleaning up. The plastic eggs soaked in the sink while we ate slabs of strawberry rhubarb pie laced with vanilla ice cream. Then the evening wound on a bit longer as we dried eggs one-by-one, swapping stories the whole time.
As I pulled pink and green and yellow eggs out of the soapy water, it was clear that the magic of the holiday doesn't fade as you get older. It does, however, shift. When you're little, the Easter Bunny gives you something to look forward to, something to talk to your friends about. And each time he pays a visit to your house, it stokes the ever-churning furnace of your kid curiosity. As the years pass, Easter (like many other holidays) becomes a great excuse to spend time with people you care about, and planning the festivities gives you something to talk about with your friends. On top of that, if you're lucky enough to have little ones in your life, you might just have the chance to play Easter Bunny. And I can't think of anything more magical than that.