Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Alex's Easter Egg Hunt

In the interests of starting a new "Family Tradition", I decided we would venture out Saturday morning to an Easter Egg Hunt at a nearby Shawnee park. The hunt was scheduled from 10am - noon. The flyer on the Parks & Rec website declared "35,000 colorful, candy-filled eggs" and "Peter Cottontail will be in attendance". How could we go wrong?

As the week progressed and the weathermen checked in, it looked like Saturday morning was going to be cold and rainy. I figured this was a good thing - it would filter out the "fair-weather egg hunters", who would stay home in their warm houses. Alex - being of hardy Russian stock - would have no problems with a little rain and cold. Also, with much larger "hunts" at the KC Zoo and other locations, how many people would show up for a local Shawnee event? Well, live and learn from my experience, my fellow parents, parents-to-be and other interested parties...Live and learn.

Alex's grandparents were in town for Easter, so after picking them up and heading to the park, it was dangerously approaching 10:00am. However, we looked like we would actually be on time (not a common theme for the us). We parked in a nearby HyVee parking lot...a short walk away from the park. We jumped out, suited up everyone in their rain gear (at this point it was sprinkling), and started our journey to the park. As we were about halfway down the sidewalk to the park, the fire engine sirens sounded. This was the "GO!" signal for the hunters. We scurried faster towards the park, almost leaving the grandparents behind....

As we power-walked up to the first field of three, we noticed the per-capita child to field ratio was dangerously high. Also the "field" that the eggs were "hidden" in was actually a baseball diamond. Hmmm...where do you hide eggs on a totally flat baseball field? Answer: right smack-dab out in the open. There was no searching necessary. Kids were literally scooping up eggs into HyVee plastic sacks, like they were collecting leaves on a fall day. I had envisioned setting Alex down on the ground by some eggs and letting him crawl over and "discover" them. What an experience that would be! As it turned out, most of the parents were holding their small children while the other parent scooped up eggs into their already-overflowing plastic sacks.

A bit shell-shocked (pun intended), we passed the first field full of scooping kids and parents. I decided to "go long" to the far field...maybe these ravenous hunters wouldn't have walked that far...maybe there would be some eggs overlooked there...maybe the kids' sacks would burst and they would leave some eggs for the kids that were 5 minutes late. Try none of the above. We got to the far field and we were going in the wrong direction. Kids with bursting HyVee sacks were already heading back to their cars, a look of greedy satisfaction on their wet faces.

I have to admit, at this point I was a bit shaken by the pure, unadulterated GREED shown by the youth of our proud town of Shawnee. However, there was a ray of light that peeked through the cloud of greed, as a nearby lady noticed our egg-less state and offered up two of her eggs to us. We put them on the ground (in an out of the way spot) and let Alex "find" them. He was absolutely not interested in the eggs whatsoever. He was having a great time watching all the kids running around and with catching raindrops on his tongue. It was only mom (me) that was bothered by our lack of success at the hunt.

In the end, Randy and I ate the candy that was in the eggs, and Alex smiled all the way home. I'm sure there's some lesson here about the definition of success and enjoying the little things in life, but I'll leave that for you to conclude. All I know is....just wait until next year!