This is an archived article that was published on in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Even though my boys are men with scary facial hair now, I still make them hunt for Easter eggs that the (alleged) Easter Bunny hides in our backyard.

Why do they go along with it?

Answer: Because sometimes I can still make those man-boys very, very afraid of me. Which is awesome!

And let me tell you, when those man-boys feel the fear, they hop to and say yes ma'am to the old materfamilias — even when she makes them hunt for Easter eggs, which (as it turns out) she also made them dye in her kitchen the night before.

Anyway, it's very entertaining to watch my guys schlep around the backyard in their enormous basketball shoes with the untied shoelaces, dragging their childhood baskets behind them. And although I might not say it to their faces, I appreciate what good sports they are on Easter morning. In fact, they're way better sports than my brothers and I were when our mother made us do the same thing.

It's true. My mother forced her grown-up children to hunt for Easter eggs, too. I remember the year she made us go on a scavenger hunt to find our baskets. She literally planted clues all over the valley: We found them at friends' houses, the downtown library, the football stadium and the fish hatchery.

Yes! The fish hatchery!

Just so you're very clear on this point, our mother was the kind of woman who made her young drive out to the fish hatchery on Springville Road to hunt for clues. I can still remember how my one brother commandeered the entire backseat for himself, hung his endless legs out the window and muttered, "Our mother is a maniac" as we drove from place to place.

We found our Easter baskets in the end, although I can't remember exactly where. Knowing my mother, she probably had them with her at home all along. Hahahahaha!

OK. I'm pretty sure that sometime during that insane transcontinental scavenger hunt, I made a sacred vow never to torture my own children in a similar manner. I probably pulled over somewhere along Springville Road, shook my fist at the skies just like Scarlett O'Hara, and said, "As God is my witness, I'll never go to a fish hatchery again! And I won't make my kids go there, either!"

However ...

You know how it is. At some point you look in the mirror and realize that, in some ways at least, you've turned into your parents. Example? My mom loves holiday traditions, and so do I — even the ones we've all outgrown.

The thing about holiday traditions is this: They give you a reference point. You see your bearded boys poking around a rosebush on Easter morning, searching for eggs and suddenly you see them beardless again — preschoolers racing around in those one-piece flame-retardant pajamas with the feet, hoping to score all the good stuff before their brothers did.

You enjoyed watching them at the time. Who can resist the sight of little boys with baskets going ninja on each other?

But the memory of it all now — fragile as blown glass — feels even more precious.

Ann Cannon can be reached at or