Letting Go #7:
Once upon a time we had a little girl who loved to look for jelly beans that her father hid in all sorts of ingenious places in our house the night before Easter. My husband, who loves eggs and candy in all forms, could give the Easter Bunny a run for his money. Year after year, the hunt for the magic beans would take place all over the house on Easter morning, the level of difficulty rising as the child became more skilled at the task. This was no small feat because we have somehow produced a child with an eagle eye and acute attention to detail. (Case in point: At six years old she came home after carpeting was installed, and within five minutes noticed that all the floor heating vents had been covered up and two doors re-hung in the wrong doorways—details that had been overlooked by her mother when she signed off on the job.)
So, it’s safe to say that very few beans were missed—but there were always a couple every year that were up too high for my daughter to see, or camouflaged so well that a chameleon would have been jealous. These orphans came out of hiding many months or years later during a move, or a paint job, or at the end of a trail of ants. Despite the potential for insect invasions, the little mummified discoveries always brought smiles to our faces because they called up fond memories of dyed eggs, fake grass and candy overload.
All was well in the kingdom of candy-induced cavities, until the day when my daughter decided that she was too old for the Easter hunt. She warned us that she would no longer participate in this event, and if the candy was hidden, the beans would just lie there until they (and her parents) became ancient relics. Her old man, however, thought she was just bluffing, and disappeared into the bowels of the house late Saturday night. The next day, when she noticed that the empty Easter basket was ready to go, our no-longer-little girl stomped back into her room and shut the door.
Oops. . . . Her father quickly and quietly gathered all the offending orbs from their clever and artistic hiding places and tucked them safely away in the cupboard. I don’t believe we even had a basket out that year. Dad and I both learned the hard way that we needed to respect our daughter’s right to grow up. She had given us plenty of hints about this particular development, and it was our fault that we didn’t listen, that we insisted on holding tight to her childhood like it was ours.
That was two years ago. My husband, who can’t give up his first childhood, suggested an Easter candy hunt FOR ME. I scoffed it off (I should know better). Sure enough, on my way through the living room last Sunday morning, I thought I saw a glowing pink orb out of the corner of my eye—the Easter Bunny had struck again! And he failed to hide the little smile on his face as I half-heartedly muttered my protests. For the sake of pest control (I proclaimed), I began to look for the hidden beans. Most were easy, but then the quest got challenging. As I explained earlier, I am not the most observant person in the world. (Did I mention that I’m extremely near-sighted, too?) As I bumbled around searching for strays, lo and behold the grown-up daughter appeared and started giving me hints about locating the ones I missed. “You’re getting warmer,” she’d coax when I became discouraged. As I found them, I placed my prizes in the large communal basket in our dining room centerpiece—a good compromise between easy access candy and a nod to the holiday.
What goes around, comes around. I suspect our daughter’s practicing for the Easter hunt she’ll help us with in assisted living, while we grow into our second childhoods.