I had my chance yesterday to say goodbye to the Easter bunny forever, and I’m not sure why I didn’t take it.
We were in the car on the way back from visiting friends when Oliver asked me if I would buy him the movie we watched at their house.
“Maybe the Easter bunny will bring it,” was my response.
“But isn’t the Easter bunny just you and Dad?” the 9-year-old asked.
There it was – my golden opportunity to break the chains that have bound me on two major holidays every year for the past nine. If the bunny went, Santa would surely be history as well. So what do I say?
“Annabelle’s asleep,” Oliver said, as if goading me to confess the truth, that we’ve been, well, lying to him about the existence of an Easter bunny all of his life.
I looked back and saw 6-year-old Annabelle’s head bobbing back and forth and her eyes fluttering, but, overhearing the conversation, she awakened.
“Some people don’t believe in the Easter bunny,” she said.
“Yeah, well, some people don’t believe in anything,” was my response.
In a way I don’t know why I didn’t just confess right then. I’ve always been a little conflicted about the whole Santa Claus/Easter bunny thing for several reasons. One is that, technically, it is a lie, and I remember feeling betrayed and let down when I found out there was no Santa Claus. Two is that kids may come to the conclusion that if Santa is made up, then maybe so is God, and if there is no God, then life is just hard until you die and that’s beyond depressing. And the third reason is that having to be Santa and the Easter bunny is a major responsibility during an already hectic occasion.
Once my kids stop believing in Santa, I can flat out tell them that we’re not getting this or that for Christmas because it’s too expensive. I can stop feeling obligated to buy candy and toys they really don’t need because “it’s Easter.” I can stop standing in long lines with a cart full of crazy, colorful stuff when what I really want to do is sit at home with a cup of tea.
Or can I?
Once my kids figure out that the Wizard of Oz is really just an old man behind a curtain, will they still expect me to make holidays special by planning all the food and festivities? Because it’s kind of exhausting and there’s a part of me that fantasizes about having an “experience holiday” at some resort where everyone opens maybe one gift and I don’t prepare a meal for 48 hours.
But I guess I’m not ready for that yet. I guess I want just one more year to be the Easter bunny. I have this really cute idea for their baskets this year.
A few years ago, after spending way too much time thinking about the ethical dilemma of whether or not to propagate the Santa Claus lie, I came to the conclusion that there is a Santa Claus. It’s just not one person. You often hear of people giving to charity, paying it forward, of Angel trees and such.
The pragmatist in me still says there’s too much commercialism in American holidays. It takes away the meaning and ultimately creates a certain amount of misery. But the paradox of being a pessimistic type is that I NEED fun more than the average person. I need to force myself to create some sort of magic for someone else because I won’t do it for myself.
There’s a line I love from the Counting Crows song “Mr. Jones”:
“Believe in me. Help me believe in anything. I want to be someone who believes.”
A few weeks ago, Annabelle told me “the Leprechaun” brought her friend some gold coins, filled with chocolate. The Leprechaun didn’t stop at our house.
“I think maybe it wasn’t the Leprechaun who brought her the coins,” she told me. “I think maybe it was her Nana.”
“Maybe,” I said. “Maybe the Leprechaun didn’t come here because he knows you’re not supposed to eat much chocolate. He might tell the Easter bunny not to bring chocolate.
Annabelle thought for a moment before she responded.
“He wouldn’t do that.”