Ryan Trares: Anxiety and eggs, followed by a scramble

Ryan Trares

The anxiety came from a wholly unexpected place.

We had gone on a recent Saturday morning to our church for what has become an annual tradition — a massive Easter egg hunt. Anthony, and what seemed like hundreds of other kids of all ages, could run around inside the church’s multi-purpose room, hunting for glow-in-the-dark eggs underneath a black light.

When they weren’t hunting, there was face painting, balloon animals, inflatable obstacle courses, Easter-themed crafts and more to enjoy.

We had discovered the event last year, and Anthony was excited to do it again. He was impatient to get going in the morning; he yelled at me that I was taking too long getting ready, and that we would be too late to enjoy all of the best eggs.

But soon enough, we were on our way. Anthony started to relax as we got going, but soon, I could tell something else was stressing him.

“Daddy, what if I don’t get any eggs?” he asked me with a concerned tone.

For as long as we’ve been doing egg hunts on Easter, Anthony has been worried about getting left out. He’s not the most aggressive kid; while he loves to run and hunt for hidden eggs, he’s not the kind to sprint out ahead and fight off other little kids for the treasures.

This I can relate to.

The memory still stands out to me. I was around 6 years old, and we had moved to a new town that winter. Right by our house was an expansive park, and that Easter, they announced an egg hunt for all the kids in town. Eggs had been placed all over the park, and at the signal, we’d all dash around plucking them up and putting them in the basket.

Remember, this was the wild-wild-west days of the 1980s, so there were no instructions on how many eggs you could get. As a stampede of children dashed around the grass, I seemed to always be a step behind. By the end, my basket was still empty.

My memory may be fuzzy, but I can remember being crushed. All of the other kids were enjoying candy, and in some cases the big prize baskets for lucky winners. And here I didn’t have anything.

The egg hunt organizers felt sorry for me, and gave me a few leftover eggs so I wouldn’t leave empty-handed. I got better at Easter egg hunts in the years that followed, but that one experience colored my apprehension each time I took part.

So I knew what Anthony was worried about. Even though I knew the organizers of the church egg hunt had rules to make sure all the kids came away as winners, I reassured him, telling him to just do his best and it would be great.

And it was. Once Anthony was in the egg hunt, he darted around like a champ, finding his 10 allotted eggs in some tricky places and running out with a smile on his face.

He proved he could do it. I hope he remembers that the next time something worries him — or even at the next Easter egg hunt.

Ryan Trares is a senior reporter and columnist for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].