LIVE, NOT JUST EXIST

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…” Henry David Thoreau

Hunting for eggs, 2005.

I miss Easter egg hunts. I do. I miss hiding all the chocolate eggs in strange places in the garden and hoping the kids will find them before they melt. I miss the joy on their faces as they find a brightly-coloured egg and anticipate the taste of sweet, soft chocolate, as they suck the soft filling out of Cadbury’s Creme Eggs because it tastes better that way. I miss hiding treats and writing verses to lead the kids to their treasure. And, I will probably wish I hadn’t said it, but…I kind of, sort of miss the scrunched up wrappings that never quite make it to the bin (but only a bit). I admit the last one is strange, but the thing is, the Fab Four are no longer interested in Easter hunts; it was an effort just getting them out of bed for pikelets and hot cross buns this year.

Those scrunched up wrappers represented childhood, which each of the Fab Four are rapidly leaving behind. And mess. Spoiled kids who can’t walk to the bin. Too much chocolate. But, you get my meaning? The excitement there once was about the season has faded and probably won’t re-emerge until grandchildren arrive and, heaven knows, I am not ready for that yet.

Of course, I know that Easter has much more significance than a hunt in the garden – if you think about it, there was a hunt in the garden and that too had a joyous outcome. Just writing that leads my thoughts in a host of other directions…focus, focus. But, what really struck me this year was the complete absence of “wonder” from the Fab Four. Do you know what I mean? Bear doesn’t even remember that I used to make rabbit prints leading from his bedroom; Music Man had to think about the time I wrote riddles to help the Fab Four find their chocolate bunnies. And it’s not just about Easter…I want to see the kids “live deep” and “suck the marrow” out of life, just as they once did and I’m having to face up to that fact that I might not see this for a long time.
Miss Attitude still has it in her at times. I took her to the circus at the weekend and she laughed so hard I’m surprised we weren’t booted out. A little girl in front just stared – she’d probably never seen anyone get so excited. And I didn’t have the heart to squash that exuberance, to stop Miss Attitude from living deep at that moment, which is exactly what she was doing. But that wonder is diminishing as she approaches her teens…it’s sad. Because sooner or later, you realise that if you don’t live deliberately, as Thoreau so beautifully puts it, you might find that you have not lived.
The Fab Four will have to figure this out for themselves, just as I have, albeit slowly. I want to live life, not just exist in life. Starting now.