Sunday, March 28, 2010

No Gum Intended

Last week Lucy told me she might cancel
her annual family Easter Egg Hunt held on their mini-farm.

"Ric and I aren't ready." She explained.

But when she sent an email out to the family notifying everyone of their intentions there was nothing short of a family mutiny.

"YOU CAN'T CANCEL THE EASTER EGG HUNT!" Everyone shouted via messages. "WE WILL SHOW UP ANYWAY!'

And that is because my family loves our traditions.

Lucy and Ric waved their white flag: "WE SURRENDER! COME NEXT SATURDAY!"

And that's when someone terribly health-conscious in the family suggested we sacrifice the traditional Easter candy and instead use seeds to fill Easter eggs.

I am sorry. Seeds?

That totally blows.

Look, I am all for new approaches to old rituals, but what child wants to open a basket full of Easter eggs and find zucchini rocks? Where is the reward for having out-smarted the hunt? Turnips? Radishes without high fructose corn syrup? Non-partially hydrogenated rhubarb?

Let the kids have jelly beans, for Easter's sake.

"I bought egg-shaped gum." Lucy told me later as she contemplated filling over 300 eggs with a viable treat inside (viable treat, seeds are not).


Our family has a new motto, "Accept Everything With Gratitude" for the purpose of seeing God in all things. But I've never loved gum. It is sticky, stringy and rolled in spit. It actually turned me off in my dating years. There is a plethora of ways to refresh the mouth, and gum seems to be the least polished.

But here I was coming face-to-face with something I couldn't see the best of. Gum.

It was better than seeds . . . there was a start.

On Saturday morning we joined the crowd of family at the Beesley farm. The Chief came prepared with his tin basket, ready to retrieve. The whole excitement of finding eggs was lessened, however, when a fire bug flew directly into his bucket and became much more thrilling than the actual hidden prizes.


See Dad? Bug?

See Mom? Bug!

See Umi? Bug.

So on.

Made me think maybe next year we should nix the candy and seeds and just fill every egg up with squirming insects.

When the hunt was over and lemon-wheat cinnamon rolls were devoured, we said our good byes, and with a bucket full of plastic eggs and one bug we headed to run some errands--the most pressing being fuel for our car. Only on our way to fill up we actually ran out of gas. Chup heroically pushed us off the busy State street and rolled us to a nearby neighborhood. I called the one brother I always call when I run out of gas, Andrew, who was just leaving the hunt with his family. He was about fifteen minutes away.

Great. I thought. The Chief doesn't sit still. I mean, I know most two-year olds don't. But My Dude, he will give you a hefty ten minutes before baby claustrophobia sets in and he goes mad. We had run out of gas, that was one thing, but The Chief's temper was only minutes away from dropping. That was another.

(Yes, we've tried a DVD player in the car. Still, ten minutes.)

Just as The Chief was beginning to arch his back like we had put him in a transportable torture chamber, Chup opened up one of the Easter eggs and spilled out the gum.

"Does he chew gum?" Chup asked.

"We'll see." I replied.

Chup popped a gum egg into The Chief's mouth.

And suddenly, we had magic.

We didn't hear from our son for the duration of our adventure. Not in the rest of the waiting period. Not when we filled our large tank up with gas. Not as we drove around town doing this-and-that. Every so often we'd look back at him pleasantly looking out the window as his mouth chewed in perfect motion.
He even spit out the gum and fell asleep before we arrived home.

Gum had quite seriously saved the day. It is true, keep a child's mouth busy, buy yourself some time.

And in my mind I started to calculate all the situations where gum could change our lives. Church! Restaurants! Checking my email! Plane rides! Stroller rides! Pony rides!

As soon as we get a pony.

Later that day I texted Lucy and thanked her for the party. And I added, "thanks for not doing seeds" --for not giving into the trendiness of alternative treats.

And as soon as she reads this post, she'll know why.