(This is a guest post by Caralee Burton. Caralee is a very important person in Las Catalinas - teacher of popular boot camp classes on Paseo del Mar, mother of three adorable children and wife of our sales exec Tom Burton. Thanks Caralee!)
I can vividly picture myself attempting to sprint from my car, with one kid on my hip, the other by the hand, and their Easter baskets wildly flailing about me. We were trying to make the line up for the traditional egg hunt held in our community, which really wasn't a hunt at all. At best it could be described as Easter egg 'herding', simply comprised of laying hundreds of eggs across an open field, confining the children to that area, and then turning them loose to gather as many eggs as they could. They swept across the field like a vacuum, leaving nothing behind to even suggest that bright candy filled eggs had once laid there (except for a bunch of teary eyed kids who lacked the competitive 'spirit'). In some communities the traditional activity was cancelled, due to the injuries suffered by children who had been trampled on, falling under the stampede of hungry and insanely driven children. The parents were no better, spurring their kids on as if they were at the championship track meet, hurry, hurry, go-go-go!!! It's no wonder that the thought conjures within me feelings of acute stress and anxiety.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, celebrating Easter on the beach at Las Catalinas was an experience equally as whimsical as the idea of a large fluffy bunny delivering chocolate eggs and gifts to children while they slumber. The kid's park at Las Catalinas, where the egg hunt was held, could be a stand alone piece of art. The sandy floor, shady treed canopy, hand built miniature house, tree trunk balance beams laden with hand carvings of sea creatures, climbing turtle rock, rope swing, and monkey bars bring real meaning to the term 'jungle gym'. The park was designed with pure ingenuity. One could venture to say it simply grew there. I hid the eggs and entertained the thought that the sole purpose of the park was to be the most brilliant egg hunting spot ever! We gave the kids the go ahead, but the egg rampage was no where to be found. Sure kids ran with enthusiasm, racing for the eggs, but they actually had to look for them and even climb for them. There were no crying children left behind, and the few kids that did get more shared with the little ones. It was magical. While the parents snapped photos, chatted, and laughed at the scene, there was no inkling of stress written on anyone's face, especially mine.
After the hunt everyone headed over to enjoy a delicious brunch, ocean side. In place of my usually 24 hours of food preparation, table setting, and cooking extravaganza, which I only partially enjoy (and that's the part when it's over) was a plentiful spread of sweet and savory. As we delighted in the flavors of the groups combined efforts, with the perfect combination of sun and breeze on our backs, one of our friends said, I have to just stop for a moment, and look around, and I am amazed this is how I get to spend Easter. Everyone echoed his sentiment. At Las Catalinas, our traditional family Easter portrait with everyone in collars and curls was replaced with candid shots in a dress code that was up for grabs. My daughter, to everyone's surprise, was making one of her semi-annual appearances in a dress, while my son ran around shirtless. The complete contentment that we experienced in the exquisite setting, surrounded by friends, far outshone what anyone was wearing. As the morning faded into the afternoon, the paddle boards hit the water. With the calm, clear conditions it was no surprise to see a grown up with 3 kids piled on the back of the board, or a 9 year old paddling on his own. The day came together like sprinkles on a frosted cupcake. No egg hunt stress, no time in the kitchen, no battle with the curling iron to my girl's blonde locks, only the sun and sea and a wonderful Easter. It was indeed a perfect holiday, a perfect any-day for that matter.
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