I am embarrassed to admit how envious I was. His baskets were BIG and beautifully decorated, without layer after layer of scotch tape from previous years of use. And they were choke full with candy, cool toys, coloring books, and Easter themed trinkets. Did I mention they were filled to the brim?
In the back of our yellow station wagon on our way to the picnic, I felt sorry for myself. The youngest of four kids, I was just getting started when my older siblings were already long over the Easter bunny. Having looked through old photo albums, I was aware that my parents' enthusiasm with regards to Easter baskets hadn't survived my birth! One year my Easter basket pretty much consisted of eggs that I had decorated myself a few weeks before.
No matter how big the pity party I threw for myself was, it would immediately disband upon my opening the car door and setting foot on the Easter picnic grounds. There were games to play, pinatas to break open, kids to chase. But more importantly, there was "cascarone time" to look forward to.
Every kid loved cascarones, hollowed eggs decorated with PAAS, filled with confetti, and sealed with tissue paper. If you're not familar with cascarones, you may be wondering what "cascarone time" would be comprised of. It's pretty straight-forward:
- Lock onto someone as a target
- Get close to them somehow (Run and sneak!)
- Before your target can get away, crack a cascarone on their head
Needless to say, I had an absolute blast come "cascarone time"!
A few years ago, I invited my boyfriend to go home with me and meet my family. Taking in all sorts of details that I had long ago stopped seeing, Christian noticed an empty egg carton on the kitchen window sill while observing my father prepare chorizo. Before he got a chance to ask what it was for, he saw my dad expertly crack a quarter size hole into an egg, dump its contents into the chorizo, rinse the empty shell, and place it, upside down, into the egg carton.
Christian was mesmerized. He quickly surmised that the shells were for cascarones but what he couldn't understand was why my father was starting in December. "It seemed like he was in auto pilot," Christian told me later.
It dawned on me then. Whereas other parents began the tedious process of building their child's eggy arsenal upon seeing signs of spring, my parents had built the extra effort into their every day, all year routine. My parents didn't start in December because, in fact, they had never stopped.
This was their default.
Even now, there are parts of my parents' day, every day, that are devoted to me. Luckily I now know better than to ever again value anything over that kind of gift.