No More Eather Bunny
When she was three, daughter Terri wore a spring coat handmade by her grandmother.
With her bonnet firmly rubber-banded under her chin, she raced around the front yard, shrieking with
delight at the discovery of each brightly-colored egg nesting in a tree limb or under a bush.

Her doting grandfather followed every step, expressing fake surprise as she found each hidden treasure.
Her grandmother, adoration written all over her face, followed nearby with a basket to hold the goodies.

The home movies, unearthed occasionally when nostalgia runs rampant, are still fun to watch.
My mother and stepfather are still alive as I watch those movies. They are animated and excited
as they participate in a childhood ritual that was made all the more memorable by their careful
planning.

Some years later, daughter Ricki, also three, is dashing about the front yard of our home, wearing
an outfit of my creation.
This time, her grandfather is the only source of encouragement as she flits from tree to bush, seeking
those eggs.
Daughter Terri, already 9 ½, isn’t into the egg hunt quite as enthusiastically as she was when the Eather
Bunny hid them.

My mother has been dead for nearly two years; my stepfather will join her in two more.
All of us follow the Easter ritual, though, shouting hints as the romping toddler dashes past nearly-visible
eggs, pauses, peers closer and pounces on her find.
By the time the kids were older, the egg hunt had lost a lot of its glitter … after all, everyone knew
who hid the eggs and the contents of the baskets held more fascination anyway.
I didn’t let go, though.

While Terri was in college, it was an annual event to trek up to New Brunswick or to hide, somewhere
in the house, a treat-laden Easter basket for discovery Easter morning.
Added to that was a small gift … something to mark the day as extra-special.

A few years ago, the girls began sharing their Easters with their dad’s new family … young children
with whom to once again experience the miracle of the bunny’s cleverness.
I still didn’t quit, but this Easter morning, there was no egg hunt.
There were baskets and gifts, but given only at the end of the day.
There were visiting grandparents at the girls’ father’s home ten miles away.
Terri came down from her apartment in northern New Jersey and had to rush right back after dinner,
making a stopover at home impossible.
Ricki came home at about 8:30.
She had her basket from her dad’s; I gave her mine, along with a little gift, around 9 p.m.

While I waited, I cleaned out the desk in the kitchen, did three loads of laundry, ironed a few shirts
and got ready for dinner with friends.
It was a quiet Easter Sunday. It was not the same Easter Sunday any more.

It retained the spiritual significance it will always hold.
But it lost its childhood magic.
It lost the joyous cries of the young ones as they engaged in the timeless formula that created such
creatures as Eather Bunnies.
It was, certainly, a special Sunday.

But the Eather Bunny had other places to be.