LEX CANIS THE Lee Berlin Kyle Killam Andrea Brown
Hunting for Fairness Lessons From My Least Favorite Birthday
would take the place of our Easter baskets. In short, my mom placed far too much faith in my egg-hunting abilities. Remember, I was a chubby kid, and this Easter egg hunt took place on a Montana ranch. I knew the territory better than any of the other kids, but with so much ground to cover, speed was the name of the game. No matter how hard I pleaded with her ahead of time, my mom wouldn’t give up where she hid the good stuff. I had to watch in horror as kids from my brother’s class found handfuls of peanut butter cups and marshmallow peeps, while I was left clutching an empty basket. I cringe to remember it, but there’s a distinct moment in my mind when I snapped. I was chugging along, desperate to find at least one egg — one sweet merciful plastic container of candy — when I saw her. A girl from Kirby’s class had sprinted ahead of me and found the crown jewel: a cream-filled chocolate egg. “Put that down!” I demanded. “You’re on our property, and that’s my egg!” The funny thing is that I don’t remember if she gave it to me or not. I remember my bellowing demand, and the tongue-lashing my mother gave me for it afterward, but I couldn’t tell you if I actually got the dang egg! Looking back, I’m not proud of that moment for a lot of reasons, but I am grateful for the lessons it has taught me since.
open up our home and give away our candy. “There’s no we about it,” my mom shot back, quick as a whip. She had bought the candy, she had planned the hunt, and she wanted our guests to have a good time. It wasn’t fair if she gave me special treatment, and I certainly wasn’t going to get away with demanding candy from others.
I was too young to see it at first, but my mother was teaching me a valuable lesson about justice. Just because I was the brother of the birthday boy didn’t mean I got to sidestep the rules. To this day, when I think of fairness, I think back to my brother Kirby’s birthday party, and the herculean efforts of my mom to make sure everyone got a chance to succeed. “I had to watch in horror as kids from my brother’s class found handfuls of peanut butter cups and marshmallow peeps, while I was left clutching an empty basket.”
Left to right: Clint Berlin, Lee Berlin, Kirby Berlin
My brother Kirby’s birthday is this month, and I wish him all the best! I’m not proud to admit it, but when we were kids, this day was often a great source of consternation for me. Being born on April 6, Kirby frequently shared his birthday with my favorite migratory holiday, Easter. You’d think having the Easter Bunny visit on the same day you get to eat birthday cake would be a dream come true for us kids. The truth is that it was anything but. As I’ve mentioned in the past, my mom loves to go all out when it comes to holidays. Whenever Kirby’s special day overlapped with Jesus’ resurrection, she’d invite all our friends over to the ranch for an elaborate Easter egg hunt. Reasoning that there were plenty of candy-filled plastic eggs to go around, our mother ruled that this event
See, I’d argued with my mother after that exchange. I wanted to know why we had to
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