Okay, okay, I didn’t exactly KILL the Easter Bunny, but I did dispel the myth. No, that’s not exactly right either. My boys still BELIEVE in the Easter Bunny, they just no longer have delusions about who fills their Easter baskets or who hides the eggs.
But let me back up. My boys are 8 years old, 5 years old, and 19 months old. For the last couple of years I’ve been noticing that the holidays aren’t has FUN as they used to be, and they definitely haven’t been as fun as they SHOULD be. Part of it is because it feels like so much work, but mostly it’s because I feel like I’m LYING. I know, I know. Some people will call me a party pooper for not wanting to carry on the child-hood delight of the Easter Bunny (or Santa Claus for that matter). Some might even call me selfish. I never told my children about the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus to begin with, but through friends, relatives, and the media they caught on along the way…much to my chagrin. Maybe I am a party pooper. Maybe I’m even selfish. Whatever. All I know is that the holidays have been making me CRABBY, and I haven’t been enjoying them, which my very perceptive children have definitely been picking up on. The sneaking to the store to get candy, trying to guess what they want and wanting to ensure that no one is disappointed, and most of all trying to “keep things even” between my boys and my niece who comes every holiday. (My niece’s Easter Bunny has always been a little more extravagant than our Easter Bunny and trying to keep up with that has…well…sucked ass.)
This year, as Easter loomed closer, I could feel myself starting to stress out about it and frankly, I decided I just didn’t want to DO THAT anymore! I don’t WANT to be a martyr just to keep up the appearances of fictional holiday characters. So, last week I came clean to my boys about the Easter Bunny.
I started slowly and organically when we were already doing something together (I didn’t want to make it a big deal by “sitting them down to talk to them about it”) and asked them what their favorite things about Easter were. My 8 year old said “coloring and finding the eggs,” and my 5 year old said “Candy!” and my 19 month old said “Ba-da-goo-gah.” (Yeah, my 19 month old doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Easter yet.) Then I said, “Do you guys care who hides the eggs or who fills your basket?”
(This is where my little tale takes a surprising turn.)
My 8 year old said “Mama, we already know that you fill our Easter baskets and Papa hides the eggs!” I was surprised and delighted to hear it, though to make sure I said “You know it’s not the Easter bunny?” and they said “YES!” assuring me that there ARE Easter bunnies (plural) but they are mainly just ornamental.
Whew, that was a relief! I went on to tell them why were having this conversation. We talked about how their cousin’s Easter basket will probably be different than theirs, and I told them I didn’t like feeling I was lying, or making sure they weren’t disappointed. And I told them that this conversation had to be a secret because their cousin (and friends) still think it’s the Easter Bunny who does all the magic. They got it. They really did, and without blinking an eye-lash.
And then I made it fun. I asked them to each choose 3 kinds of candy they would like in their Easter Baskets and boy, did they LOVE that!
The rest of the Easter preparations went smoothly. I let them know when I had to go to the store by myself to get the candy, I let them know when I had to go upstairs by myself to fill their baskets, and after Easter was all said and done I was able to show them (and share with them) all the left-over candy we had.
Other than a few slips about “Papa” hiding the eggs and thanking “Mama” for the toys in their basket in front of their cousin, Easter went off without a hitch. Sure there was no bunny, but there was a much happier Mama. And I think that’s what my kids want anyway ~ a happier Mama who actually ENJOYS the holidays with them.
Now, to assassinate Santa Claus….