The fun is the hunt

Our neighborhood's long-delayed egg hunt finally took place on Saturday. Alex took Wally, who enjoyed being able to walk on the dirt and grass in the forbidden yard. Apparently it's not okay for a few toddlers to hop across the grass, but dozens converging to dig up artificially-flavored corn syrup mixed with edible wax hidden in plastic is not only permitted but encouraged. Not to sound bitter. I'm not anti-candy, and I love a good egg hunt. I'm glad the kids got a chance to enjoy the yard was happy to hear Alex let Wally poke around without coaching him from the sidelines as has become something of a sport, and not just here. Actually, it's very gentle here, compared to places where parents organize stampedes and encourage pushing and shoving.

Still, even at our egg hunt, there are parents screeching at their kids to go faster, to pick up more, "get that before someone else". Last year I saw a baby examining a lovely Easter-egg blue egg, really enjoying the shape and feel of it, when his dad knocked it out of his hand into the basket and told him to get a move on and grab more eggs. "They'll be time for that later."

Another mom told me she saw someone scooping eggs into her shirt on Saturday then dumping them into her kids' baskets. Another parent didn't even bother to transfer the eggs, but simply stuffed the pockets of her own cargo pants.

I mean it's nuts. You don't even have to unpack the metaphor. The entire point is for the kids to have fun on the search, yet someone people deny them the  experience in favor of a "higher yield", really getting off on the competition aspect. It's so easily transferable an illustration to our culture of high-achievement, where the eye is always on the prize, and the person who dies with the most money saved up in the bank, I guess, wins?

True, the toddler fascinated by the egg will probably did have time later that afternoon to examine and enjoy it. But being in the moment isn't something you can really put off. I wish I could stop the moms and dads desperately driving their kids on to collect the most eggs and say... 

You do realize the whole fun of this is the hunt. It's a game. On Halloween, if the first house you went to just dumped a bunch of candy into your bags, it would ruin the night. If you want chocolate-covered eggs and Jelly beans, go by them; they're on clearance now. The point of the egg hunt is that it's a little adventure. It's the thrill of finding an egg because you searched for it, came upon a secret little spot, or craned your neck up to examine a tree branch. It's the happy exploration, the little quest. It's the process itself that's supposed to be fun.


  1. I had that thought about the forbidden grass too!

  2. Wonder what their thinking is. I recently heard someone was yelled at for playing ball on the sidewalk in case the ball went onto the grass.


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