I drove by Nottoway Park today and saw a banner advertising an Easter Egg Hunt coming up. My mind immediately went to an Easter season around 1985. I took my 4 children to the Easter Egg Hunt at Nottoway and arrived just a few minutes after the advertised start time. I was shocked when we were turned away and told that all the candy was gone.
“Why did they not plan better?” I thought. There were my 4 young ones with empty baskets and very sad faces. I tried to use consoling words as I drove home, but inside I was angry at the event planners. My anger was fueled by feelings beyond the moment. I didn’t understand why things couldn’t be carefree for once.
At some point during the day, my Dad called. When I told him what had happened, he said, “Give me an hour and then bring the kids over.” It was around 5:00 p.m. when we arrived at my parent’s apartment. I hadn’t said anything to lead them to believe this was anything other than a usual visit. We lived close by and stopped in often.
My dad had a twinkle in his eye. He loved surprises. He could barely contain his excitement. We sat down and began to visit as usual. Then he suggested that Danny might want to look around a bit in the living room. Something might be different. Then he said he wondered if they should check other rooms in the apartment, too. Slowly, the kids began walk around. Nothing looked changed. It was a small apartment and they had been here many times. My dad gently encouraged more investigating. Soon, they discovered candy under chairs, on shelves, in drawers, or on the piano keyboard. The search gradually sped up and squeals of happiness filled the room. I now had 4 very happy kids.
It was fun to watch my kids search and find the treats, but it was even more beautiful to see how happy it made my dad. He derived his own happiness by making others happy. I love that about my dad and miss his huge capacity to nurture, love, and care.