Two pairs of tiny feet thundered down the hallway. Kitty and Elma, in pink pyjamas decorated with hens and bearing the hopeful, but ultimately flawed, slogan “eggcellent sleeper”, bounced though the bedroom door, flashed a beaming “Happy Easter” at Pip, H and I, and dashed to the window, Elma pulling herself up onto the tippiest of tippy toes to peer out.
“Has he been? Can you see anything?”
“Has the bunny been?”
“I can!! I can see something in that tree!! Look! Look!”
“I can too!”
And with that they sprinted out of the room and across the hallway to their grandparents.
Never has there been such a vivid example of the power of the mind; the most egg-like thing you will ever find in my in-laws garden at 7am is a clutch of golf balls.
We headed north again for Easter this year, it’s become a bit of a tradition, mostly because it’s so often very near my mother-in-law’s birthday, or in this case, was on the day itself. So Happy Easters were interspersed with Happy Birthdays and we got to spoil and cherish Grandma just as she always spoils and cherishes us.
It was a funny weekend in some respects, like those days at work where you know you’ve been busy all day, but you couldn’t exactly point to any one thing that took up all the time; we were never still and there was always something going on, but on paper we just spent our time at home being together as a family.
Saturday was marked as the day of the great fish rescue. Back in a teenage summer, H had dug the pond in my in-laws’ front garden, and now that they wanted to change things up a bit he thought it only right that he be the one taking the pick axe to his creation. The water had been emptied and all the fish carefully introduced to the pond in the back garden before he began, although a most determined quartet of frogs kept making a reappearance no matter how often we escorted them out with a bucket. It was only after half the wall was gone, that he noticed a flapping and a flurrying of one last remaining tiny orange fish, and the first we knew about it was a shout through the front door;
“Dad missed one!”
Followed by the sight of H sprinting past the windows and around to the back of the house. He’d simply reached into the puddle, grabbed the unsuspecting fish and gone for it. Amazingly the fish seems entirely unaffected either by living in a muddle puddle for a couple of days, or the manner of its transportation to its new home.
We played under grey skies, invented a new hockey/tennis ball/ sandcastle space sort of a game for Pip, rode bikes and scooter, pushed prams and most importantly, chalked up as much of the driveway as we could reach, though alas it all washed away later that night as torrential rain swept through with the start of storm Katie.
The biggest event of Easter Sunday itself, at least as far as the girls were concerned, was of course the annual egg hunt around the garden, in which the Easter bunny (who has on occasion been known to resemble Grandad, their aunt and their uncle) leaves an extraordinary amount of chocolate hiding among the golf balls and other shrubbery, and the “problem” is that you have to wait until after lunch before the bunny will reveal them to you; or at the very least until your aunts and uncle have actually arrived.
Distracted by the fun of giving Grandma her birthday present and then the little Easter presents sat at their places at breakfast (a story for Pip, rainbow colouring pencils for the girls, a chocolate bunny, and a little something handmade for each of them) they just about managed to hold on to their excitement but by the time they were lined up at the kitchen door, baskets in hand, they were as if under starters orders.
“OK” we said, and opened the door, down they climbed, oh so carefully, and then they were off, darting from one gilded nest to the next.
I love watching the children hunt eggs, it says so much about their personalities and their relationship, particularly the girls. Pip did a little bit of egg hunting but once he clocked the golf clubs and all these grown ups outside and ready to play with him he was utterly uninterested, right to the point of thinking that the best use of a chocolate bunny was as a ball. The girls were more motivated by chocolate, but they never just grab the lot; Kitty will take one egg for herself and then go and get another one for Elma, and Elma will only ever take one of anything before checking that her sister also has one and going back for whatever remains.
It was as we finished that the first drops started to fall to signal the return of the storm, and the rest of the afternoon passed in a cosy chocolate fuelled blur. I know we played sardines at one point, trying to hide all five of us behind the lounge door, and there were colourings in and cuddles and just a bit more chocolate lest anyone feel their blood sugar drop below a gazillionty (nourishing counterbalance menu began yesterday!!).
Mostly it was about all of us being there. We see H’s family fairly regularly in all its constituent parts but it’s been a while since we were all 10 of us together, and that made it a very extra special Easter birthday for my mother in law, who I suspect very much enjoys having all of her chicks (and a couple of cuckoos) back in the nest.
And so just for fun I made a little film of our Easter weekend – let the chocolate overload commence!