Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Becoming a Traditionalist

I had always thought of a 'tradition' as something that just always existed, among your family, in your town, at school. Picking a Christmas tree...usually a family tradition. Lighting a tree in the center of a park...town tradition. Hoping you got at least as many Christmas gifts or remembrances as your sworn enemy...school tradition.

But 2 years ago I learned that you can CREATE tradition.  On purpose. And call it tradition, right away, even if you've only done it once. Apparently when you're only 5, something happening once has the patina of events that are often repeated. And when you're 10, if the new tradition holds benefits that you can see multiply in years to come...well, you'd just have to embrace that, wouldn't you?

It started with teaching the girls to blow eggs. Tiny hole in one end, slightly larger hole in the other, hold it over a cup and BLOW. I think I learned it in Brownies, where I also learned not to suggest breaking up the yolk with a toothpick until someone makes really funny faces trying to get all that egg out of that little hole.  But these girls, going me one better, said "it's hard. You do it" and left me to go lightheaded creating 12 empty egg shells

In theory you now have eggs for an omelet. In reality there's an awful lot of spit in them. I toss the eggs

Next...color them ***another step will be inserted here. You'll see why. Dye and decorate just like any egg, just being careful not to squeeze or crack them. With my crew, we lost a couple. Year Two I brought 18, increasing our output by 50% and insuring against misfortune during the handling process

We did these Easter Eve.  I then took the colorful empty eggs home and, carefully rolling up dollar bills, inserted a bill in each egg. Nestled the eggs in beautifully made baskets. Delivered them on Easter.

I was met with hugs, kisses and confusion. Weren't those the eggs we just dyed yesterday? The EMPTY eggs? The ones we can't hide, or even eat? Well yes, I said...but you can SMASH them!

Being refined ladies, the first 2 were softly cracked and still not much fun, so I said "SMASH that EGG!" Two small hands came down upon fragile shell and...money! Cool! Believe me when I say the rest didn't stand a chance. They gathered up the dollars  about 5 each, I think - I'm not into spoiling - and my heart child said "we should do this EVERY YEAR!"

So we do. But there are a few things I have learned...
1. Buy the biggest eggs you can find. Dollars are hard to roll into toothpick-sized bits
2. After blowing the eggs, RINSE THEM OUT. We didn't, and I stuffed them that same night. We had to wash the funky egg stuff off the dollars with antibiotic soap before the kids could have them
3. Blow and dye several days before Easter and wait to stuff them until the shell in dry, inside and out.
4. Fold the dollars in half longways then roll as tight as you can. Be patient. The eggs will resist and you'll risk cracking your precious artwork. It's not a task for the weak willed

This will be year 3 and there's  a 2 year old brother joining the now 7 and 12 year old girls. And I already look into the future and see  them laugh and smash their beautifully decorated eggs well into their 20s (and my 70s) The joys of being the fun friend

Happy Easter!

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