Hunting for traditions

As Sierra has grown, I’ve grown as well.

You’ll have to pardon me for going all Rick Reilly on you. There’s no surprise in the statement I’ve just made. It’s certainly not an original thought.

But when it comes to the traditions that accompany the holidays, it’s true. And it’s even more. I’m not simply growing – I’m rediscovering, finding the joy in holidays and rites of passage that I had long since passed off as child’s play, too old to even consider the enjoyment.

Halloween was this way. Same with Christmas gift opening. And now, Easter egg hunts.

Three times this week, Sierra took part in some version of an Easter egg hunt. Each version, though conducted by different people and stocked with different types of prizes, had one thing in common – eggs left in the open, cordoned off by some invisible pact that they were available only for the smallest children. These eggs, though bright colors and easily discernable from the grass underneath, still went overlooked at times, each kid running right by it as they focused on an egg in the distance. It was all very cute. Naturally.

More than that, it was a lot of fun. For both of us. When had I forgotten about Easter egg hunts?

I once grasped the holidays like there would be no others, and Easter was one of my favorites. I jumped headfirst into the traditions – dyeing eggs, hunting, waiting anxiously until the next morning, the idea of a treat-filled basket second only to the bounty that waited on Christmas.

I had left those traditions behind as I grew older, dissuaded by parents who rightfully assumed I was getting too old and then distanced further as I assumed my own march into adulthood. Other friends – the people that are probably more fun to hang out with than myself – may have continued to hold tight to the youthful charm of these traditions, but I had moved on. I had grown out of it.

But today, I saw those traditions being discovered; the excitement of discovering another egg around the corner, the seemingly constant barrage of candy and snacks, the exhausted fall into drowsiness that accompanies a day of family and friends and food.

I felt as if I was finding something I had lost. With each egg Sierra found, and with each excited squeal, I remembered how much fun life can be.

How the things we do as kids prepare us for the lives we’ll lead as parents. How, despite the time away, growing up is like riding a bike: you never forget how to crack open a plastic egg, and you never forget how to shove so much candy in your mouth you almost choke.

How we never really lose the love of a tradition, even if we no longer take advantage of it.

This was lovingly handwritten on April 12th, 2009