The last Easter I most vividly remember celebrating was back in our first house. In Virginia, we first lived in a white, split-level with black shutters and two white, giagantic-to-a-child columns that stood on both sides of the front door. Do you ever think about that house?
We didn’t know it then, but that was our first and last home.
I think about that house all the time. Ryan and I used to walk to school with our neighbor’s kids, go on adventures in the creek behind our house, and there was an overgrown lilac bush in one corner of the yard.
Every time I smell lilac, I stop in my tracks.
That house was the perfect Easter house because it had a sprawling backyard with tons of places to hide Easter eggs.
You decorated the house with an Easter tree, hung egg ornaments, and scattered stuffed Easter bunnies throughout the house. From the grocery store, you used to get the egg decorating kits with the wire dippers. The night before Easter, you had us carefully dip the hard-boiled eggs into the various colors of water you laid out.
Do you remember cracking the egg shells and seeing how the dye kind-of made the egg look like a brain?
By “we”, I mean the three of us. I don’t remember Dad ever being around and I don’t know which of my memories have him away in the Army or have him being away from you.
Now every Easter, I think about that house and the one time I woke up early to take a peak at the yard.
Cheating, I know.
It’s just that Ryan always found the most eggs.
So there I was: easing myself down from the top bunk, tip-toeing through the hall, down the stairs, through the den, and out into the screened-in porch where the dyed eggs sat on a table in an Easter basket. Those eggs were never as pretty the next day in the sunlight.
And we both know those were not the eggs I was looking for.
It was at that moment that I heard our neighbor’s kids scrambling and screaming. I took a couple of steps out into our yard to get a better look. The Easter Bunny had come to their house. From where I was standing, I could see the brightly colored, plastic eggs in all of the best egg-hiding places in their yard.
Then I looked around for the best egg-hiding places in our yard and I could not find one brightly colored, plastic egg.
I ran back into the screened-in porch, through the den, up the stairs, and down the hall to your room. I was crying as I pulled at your nightshirt and begged you to wake up, but you didn’t.
I kept thinking to myself as I climbed back up to the top bunk, “Why did the Easter Bunny forget about me?”
It wasn’t until you sent us over to our neighbor’s house in the afternoon that you, the Easter Bunny, set up the Easter Egg hunt. The second you called us back over to our yard, I saw the eggs.
Our neighbors shouted, cheered, and gave little winks and nods as to where the remaining eggs might be. I ran around the yard as fast as my little legs could take me but in the end, Ryan continued his Easter egg-gathering streak.
As I counted my plastic egg bounty, I forgot about the hard-boiled morning.
In that moment, I knew the Easter Bunny couldn’t forget about me.
At least that’s what I thought.