We were buying eggs this weekend, and saw these…boiled and dyed eggs. They are sold in packs of twelve, in six different colors. The grocery store sells them as ‘pre dyed’ eggs. I could not believe my eyes. Now you don’t even have to boil and dye the eggs to have an Easter Egg hunt. You can buy them and put them out, as if you did it all yourself.
Is this brilliant or progress with a question mark? I remember as a kid waiting for Easter to arrive so we could spend an afternoon coloring eggs. Mom would put the vinegar and coloring tablets in the plastic cup, then we took that crazy crooked piece of metal and dipped the hard boiled egg into the dye. When we were little, that was all we did and had a blast doing it. As we grew up we got more sophisticated in coloring our eggs. One year we built up layers of wax between the dipping process and made the eggs colorful and three dimensional. Another year we dyed the eggs with natural elements like onion skins. I also remember using crayons and marbelizing kits to create unique eggs. It was not only fun but a great way to spend time with my brothers without arguing. We were united in our quest for the perfect dyed egg.
After the eggs dried, we waited for Easter to arrive so we could conduct the ‘official’ Easter egg hunt. Growing up in Illinois meant some years we had to hide the eggs inside or risk losing them in the snow. My parents counted them carefully before and after the hunt to insure that rotten eggs did not invade our home in Summer. Sometimes we had a couple hunts – once we found them, we hid them again. It was a rite of Spring and paved the way for warm weather to arrive.
When I saw these eggs in the store, I thought of all the children who would be robbed of the messy fun of coloring their own eggs. They will not get to enjoy the process, the colors, the transformation or the satisfaction of finding an egg they spent time creating. I felt sorry for them, the fun they would miss due to an overscheduled family. Then I thought about the parents working two jobs to make ends meet, or the single Mom doing all she can to keep a float. I thought of the divorced Dads who forget about Easter until they realized it was ‘their weekend’ with no eggs to hide. The grandparents who can’t manage the egg dying process anymore, or the baby sitter covering for a sick parent on a holiday weekend. I may not want to buy these eggs, yet for someone they may mean the difference between disappointment and elation.
It is not our place to judge what memories others create for their children, or compare them to our childhood. Let’s just be thankful for the grocery store employees who took the time to boil and dye these eggs, so some little boy or girl could hunt them with joy. And say a prayer and kind word for the adults who see these as a blessed relief in a time of chaos.