Some of them have taken on the task of egg-hiders and some remain egg-hunters but each year we have lunch at my parents and the day concludes with the egg hunt at a neighboring school that has green grass and trees for shade.
This yearly ritual is a tradition I find myself unable to give up... I don't know if it is stubborness on my part but I really believe that when you let something special go, you may not always get it back.
Yesterday as the sun shown its golden spring light on all of us, this sweet little girl looked at me with her big blue eyes and put her head on my shoulder. "Oh Gwamma," she sighed, "this was my best Easter ever! EVER!"
My Mom and my husband were standing close by when she made her declaration and they smiled at both of us with fond eyes.
What neither one of them could know is that I wasn't really sitting there on that hill with them in that moment.
As soon as our sweet Morgan said those words to me I was transported to another Easter egg hunt many, many years ago.
That Easter egg hunt was at my beloved old farmhouse in Ohio.
Our house had been crowded with company all day...children running up and down the stairs, cousins playing, relatives eating and laughing.
At the end of the meal I went outside to hide eggs for the children.
And everyone gathered to watch all the little ones as they scrambled through our big yard looking through the hedgerow just starting to bud out with the promise of lilacs...running around the smokehouse and down toward the apple trees edging the little creek at the bottom of the yard.
When the hunt was over the children were laughing with delight.
I asked all my older relatives to go back inside.
They were puzzled but I told them I had a surprise for them and that they weren't allowed to peek.
With the help of some of the children I re-hid all the eggs and then I invited all the relatives to come outside.
My parents were there, along with some of my Mom's sisters and brothers.
The oldest was my Aunt Fran. Aunt Fran was a serious woman. She was kind but she rarely smiled and I hardly ever saw her laugh.
At the time she would probably have been in her late 70's.
I gave all the "grown-ups" baskets and told them there were eggs hidden in the yard so that they could do an Egg Hunt, too.
Most of my relatives knew I was fairly silly about things like this and after a few token arguments I did the classic "one, two, three, GO!" and they all scattered half-heartedly around the yard.
But then something in the group changed and they all became excited.
Aunt Fran headed determinedly off with her cane...her walk slow but steady...and I saw her gray hair bob around the corner in enthusiastic pursuit of eggs to fill her basket with.
I watched from beside a huge, old buckeye tree just unfurling a haze of spring growth from tender green buds. It had gotten a bit cooler as the sun slanted down lower but the light was golden and pure... much like the light that shone on our Easter Egg hunt yesterday.
Watching the older generation scurry around laughing, talking, teasing and shouting with their success, was contagious. Even the littlest kids watched and laughed from atop the hill.
As all the baskets were filled, the happy hunters came and joined us by the buckeye tree.
The last one up was Aunt Fran, walking slowly with her cane clutched tightly in one hand...and her basket filled with brightly colored eggs in the other.
She wasn't smiling.
She walked toward me and for a moment I thought she might yell at me... but then her face lit up in a huge smile, her usually dim blue eyes became radiant and dancing with fun.
She looked like a child in her joy.
And she said to me, "This was my best Easter ever!" Sometimes, with certain people, I can see the child inside of them as clearly as if there were truly a child standing in front of me.
And maybe this is part of the reason I still cling to things of my youth. Are we ever really grown-up at heart?
And if we let go of the things that gave us joy as children, doesn't it make us old? And tired? And less able to find joy in simple things?
I don't know if this is true for everyone but it is certainly true for me.
And you know what?
The sun is shining brightly out this morning. The air is all fragrant with the scent of orange blossoms and sweet peas.
And I know we all have things to go!
But I think there is still enough time to play a quick game of freeze tag, don't you?
Tag!!!! You're it!