Thank goodness for smart and crazy neighbors who welcome you to their twisted ways.
With older kids, some of the “fun” around any holiday is lost with Easter the biggest wah-wah of all. But even back when my boys were younger, the festivities following church only took ten minutes before it was done and then it was on the with cooking. There had to be a better way of extending the day.
Enter our military Easter tradition -- the McEgg Hunt: disappointing kids all over the world for over twenty years. Named after our neighbors (who have a "Mc..." name) in Florida three moves and nine years ago, the McEgg Hunt has now become part of our tradition as well. As an Air Force Family that bucked normality, our neighbors delighted in torturing their children by installing a double or nothing approach to the usually standard egg hunt: either a dollar an egg, or elect to find all twenty and receive $40. B
eing equally twisted ourselves and having no joy of our own (how difficult can you make it for a 1 and 3 year old unless you want to hear crying all day), we about peed our pants in excitement at the offer to help hide the eggs for their 15 year old.
And what a year to begin as the stores had just come out with the camouflaged eggs, eggs with Velcro, eggs that look like rocks, and eggs with clear filament for hanging.
The teenager wanted the money and the parents wanted to keep it in their own pockets. For three years, we watched their daughter, and then also their son (once he came to the age of disappointment of 7) get skunked every year. Each year they would choose double or nothing and each year they would find nineteen. Nineteen. Painful! We would sit and drink beer while the kids would sweat and swear their way around the yard, thoroughly enjoying their suffering.
Terrific Easter attitude, I know. But man was it fun.
Once our boys reached the age of disappointment themselves, we were giddy with excitement. With our own stash of hard to find eggs, the past three years we have watched our boys go from energy to spare at the start of the hunt, to feet dragging as if they have traveled across the desert within an hour time span. They have yet to find all twenty. Maybe this year they will choose a dollar an egg.
Some might think this is cruel. Some might think we are harsh. Some might also expect their kids to win trophies each sport season. For those who think this is mean, consider this:
Two years after we moved from Florida, we received a text from our neighbor’s now twenty year old daughter on Easter which said, “No longer 19!” She had finally found all twenty. And it meant so much to her she had to share the news with us.
Like so many things in military life and beyond, if it had been easy, it would not have mattered so much.