Traditions continue despite imperfections

At Random

As if the lack of snow, the golfing in March, and the kids walking home from school in front of the Times office wearing shorts and T-shirts weren’t enough indicators that this year’s weather has been unusually wacky (even for Minnesota), another sign was made clear this past Easter Sunday.

We picked the kids up for their long weekend away from class last Wednesday. The first words out of the girl-child’s mouth were, “Are you still going to hide candy, even though we’re too old to believe in the Easter Bunny?”

How sweet! After successfully resisting the urge to pinch her cheeks and slobber kisses all over her face, (after all, she’s probably too old for that now, too), I reassured her adorable little self that yes, indeed, Easter candy will still be hidden for her and her brother’s delight.

It’s a little sad that they now know it’s been Dad and me all these years stuffing presents under the tree, scooping teeth from beneath pillows and replacing them with dollar bills, (inflation is a killer — my teeth were never worth more than a quarter) and methodically spacing plastic eggs full of candy so that each child was able to “find” an equal amount.

Now that our secret is out, it has made holiday preparation a little easier. But easier, in my mind, means I can wait until the last minute before game time. I no longer need to plan for weeks in advance. Strategies that were once developed in great detail are no longer useful. No more do we have to wait until their eyelids close, their breathing slows and their little minds drift off to dreamland in order to impersonate their favorite holiday mascot.

And it’s nice that they can appreciate our efforts all these years. They know that Xbox wasn’t crafted by elves and placed under the tree by a cookie-nabbing, bearded man. They know that teeth don’t magically turn into money and free candy doesn’t just show up in the yard.

But now we have no excuses. Christmas can’t come a day late because “Santa became lost in an Ontario snowstorm.” Those particularly nasty jelly beans didn’t end up in their basket because “the Easter Bunny doesn’t know you don’t like them.” And they’ll no longer buy the “you have to wait until tomorrow to put that one under your pillow because the Tooth Fairy has to stop at an ATM.”

So, this year’s Easter candy observations went as not-planned. I purchased all the candy Saturday morning — only to find that I had missed the boat on those little plastic eggs. Being savvy in last-minute substitutions, I bought a huge bag of mini packages of Nerds. We divided the rest of the candy into thirds, one basket for each of them and one for their cousin. As the kids were eating their breakfast, we casually went outside, peppered the lawn with Nerds and hid their baskets.

Making the hiding spot difficulty based on age, I found a fairly decent spot for their cousin’s basket. By the time he found the candy-filled bucket (a whole one minute later — so maybe it wasn’t that decent), his Easter bunny had melted into sad chocolate puddle.

I don’t recall ever worrying that April weather in Minnesota would melt a solid chocolate statue. And — another first for us — we can no longer blame it on a magical being and their outlandish mishaps. I don’t miss the typical spring weather, but I just might miss the ability to explain away holiday imperfections.