When I think of family and holidays, I can’t help but think of Christmas. I have so many fond memories of Christmases past with my mom, dad and brother. I recall Christmas in Japan. I remember the infamous Christmas Ball. I remember my own children’s first Christmas and beyond. Christmas is such a magical time of year. Yet, I think it’ll be Easter that holds the most special part of my heart.
We’re not an overly religious family. Oh, we certainly have our roots in religion, especially on Kim’s side of the family. Her mom worked at the church when we first met and through the years well after we were married and had children. Kim has been through Confirmation and all the other Lutheran traditions that I’ve not experienced. I even give our faith credit for allowing our children in our lives as we introduced prayer in our ritual while attempting artificial insemination. Yes, I have faith that there is a power…perhaps a God…that seems to have a hand in all that happens. Easter is perhaps the most religious day of the Christian year. But this is not why I’ll hold Easter dear to my heart.
About four years ago, in 2010, I was into a hobby called Geocaching. I still participate on rare occasion, but back then I was full on into it. So was my brother Jeff. It was stated that our mutual interest in geocaching is what brought my brother and I together more than any other event in the last…well, many years. It was true. Our once in a blue moon phone calls turned to weekly calls to compare geocaching stories. We even had a little bit of a contest going to see who could find the most. We were somewhat competitive that way.
Since I was into this treasure-hunting hobby, I decided to make Easter, 2010 a little bit of a geocaching-like event for my kids. Instead of placing the baskets on the coffee table as I had done on previous years, I hid them, and left a single egg with a clue within. This led the kids to hunt out a series of eggs throughout the house, collecting clues that eventually led them to the ultimate hiding place. I was nervous that the first such hunt would be foiled by discovering the baskets too soon, but my plan worked perfectly. So I did it again the next year. And the next. And the next. And this year, I hid them in a puzzle-like way for the 5th year in a row!
Last year I changed the written clues to simple yet challenging photo clues. This year, I allowed the egg hunt to be more traditional, but each egg contained a letter. When all were collected, it was up to the kids to piece the letters together to form the solution. Next year, who knows what I’ll do.
While this hunt is certainly the main reason I hold Easter so dear, it’s not my own ingenuity on developing he hunt that makes it special. Watching my kids work together, think for themselves, and experience joy at the challenge is my greatest joy. My kids are good, they’re smart, and they love one another. There is no greater joy to a parent than to realize that about your children.
Tonight, each of my kids separately admitted to really enjoying this day. They started off with the egg hunt, and then we colored eggs (a chance for them to be creative and silly). They didn’t fret on limited gifts, but enjoyed what they received. They enjoyed another hunt at their grandparents’ house…showing me how much they love being around the previous generation.
Easter is an incredible day for many reasons. But for me, Easter is a day that allows me to have fun, and reminds me every year how blessed I am to have these incredible children.