Mom, are you the Easter Bunny?
As parents, we want our children to live in a world of dreams and make-believe. But at what point is it time for them to know the truth?
I got caught this Easter. The truth has been revealed.
The day after Easter 2012, will be a date to remember in the Holtzhafer household. My 9-year-old son and I were enjoying some quiet time at the dinner table as my husband was doing a puzzle with my 4-year-old in the other room.
Out of the blue he says to me, “Mom, are you the Easter Bunny?”
Words can’t describe what I felt at that moment. It was so sudden and such an intense moment that I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry. I actually did a little of both, and I think he did too.
He could see by my uncontrolled facial expression that he was onto me, so he continued.
“The other night, when I got up to use the bathroom, I saw you putting those plastic eggs on the stairs,” he admitted.
I started to feel tingly and my eyes began to water. What do I say? Now’s the moment!
I knew he had seen me walking up the stairs that night. I knew he had seen the eggs earlier than I had anticipated (a tradition we’ve had for years). But on that Easter Eve I thought I had played things off pretty well. I simply told him the Easter Bunny had arrived early and wasn’t it exciting?!
Guess that didn’t work out for me.
He said he had come to realize that a 6-foot bunny couldn’t possibly be visiting children all over the world. He admitted that he had been thinking about it for some time, actually.
After seeing the movie “We Bought A Zoo” he couldn’t let go of a line he heard when one of the characters refers to a 7-year-old “still believing” in the Easter Bunny. Stupid movie! Since that moment, he had been thinking about things. The early eggs on the steps were the final clue.
That’s when things got worse.
“Mom, does this mean there’s no Santa either?” he gasped. Again, our smiles and eyes met each other’s, both filled with the realization that his “beliefs” were about to change forever.
“What do you think?” I said in response, hoping I wouldn’t actually be the one to break his little heart. Hoping this time hadn’t actually come.
Then something strange happened. I could see a sort of relief come over his body. He literally relaxed his shoulders and looked at me with smiling eyes. I asked him what he was feeling and if he was OK with this news.
“I feel RELIEF!” he gushed. “Now I know that no one is ACTUALLY watching me!”
It was a comical response and one I had not expected. I had played out this scenario time and again, always with it resulting in tears and disappointment…my child calling me a liar and running out of the room in despair.
Yet here we were, laughing and experiencing a moment I’ll never forget.
He suddenly had many questions…“You mean you BUY all the presents? Where do you get the money? Do you have another bank account? Where do you hide it all? You take it to Grandma’s, don’t you?!”
He was in disbelief that his parents could conduct such a secret mission for so many years without him catching on. I guess we’re pretty good.
I explained that his younger brother has the right to his innocent beliefs, just as he has had. He nodded in agreement and swore he’d never tell another soul - not friends, not cousins, not his brother.
Now he, too, has an important secret to keep.
At the end of our unforgettable discussion he made me feel even better when he admitted, “I’m glad I know because now when I have kids I won’t be waiting for Santa to show up with their presents.” Good point.