I’ve got to admit, I’m a sucker for holidays!
Easter is fast approaching. Less than 2 days away. I realize Easter is about so much more than the baskets, the chocolate bunnies, and the dyed eggs. This is why we have been reading the various children’s Easter books we have here in our house. The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Parade. The Easter Story. Curious George’s Happy Easter. We will go to church on Sunday. Yes, right now, we are that family. The Easter and Christmas family that only attends church on those two days. We weren’t always that family. However, this is where we find ourselves currently.
Although I realize Easter’s meaning is a very valuable one, having nothing to do with the Easter Bunny. I will share that I still get super excited about being the Easter Bunny!
I spent last night at the store. Picking out candy and some little trinkets for my children. Lou got a pair of wedge sandals, a fancy lip gloss, a jump rope thingamabob, and some of her favorite candy. Coco got a baseball magazine, some gum he loves, the same jump rope thingamabob as his sister, and some of his favorite candy. I will hide all their eggs Saturday night. I cannot wait! Coco’s eggs are all sports; Lou’s eggs are all different colors. Some of their eggs will contain coins, some candy, and one or two will have dollar bills. It is so much fun to watch them search the home for their eggs!! Although, some of the fun and excitement is gone. Perhaps not gone, but definitely different, this year.
I get the “Mother of the Year” Award. Not really. About 10 days before Christmas, yes, just four short months ago, I left my Christmas Gift List up on my computer screen. Coco and Lou had stayed at a friend’s house overnight. Sunday morning I woke up and decided to wrap some Christmas presents. However, I had to know what presents to wrap which way. You see, Santa doesn’t just use any wrapping paper. He uses wrapping paper that has him on it. In years passed, I’ve always printed off my Christmas Gift List and checked off items as I wrapped them. This year, the printer was out of ink. The Gift List did not get printed. I told myself, just leave the list up on the screen and refer to it, wrap the presents, then close down the document. No harm, no foul. JUST DON’T FORGET TO CLOSE DOWN THE DOCUMENT!! I told myself this, in my head, over and over and over again. Yet, it didn’t matter, I forgot. Want to hear the craziest thing? I have the document password protected so if the kids were to find it they wouldn’t be able to open it. Lots of good that does when you leave it up on your computer for anyone to read. Augh!
My first sign that something was off was when I heard my son, with an uneasiness in his voice, say, “Mom???!!!!” I was sitting eating lunch, and knew, from the direction of his voice, that he was sitting at the computer. Yep, I am a Santa spoiler. I ran over to the computer and sure enough there was the Christmas gift list. Items from Santa. Items from Us. Items from his Sister. Items for his Stocking. All there in black and white. Really!?! Did I really just do this to my 10 year old son?!
I immediately brought him upstairs to my bedroom. It’s bad enough that I ruined Santa for my 10 year old. I couldn’t stand to have the same thing happen for my 6 year old. We got in my room and I closed the door behind us. We sat down on my bed and he was white as a ghost, with eyes as big as baseballs. He looks at me and says, “Mom, what was that?” I wasn’t quick enough on my feet with a good answer or excuse. You know, a plausible answer to keep the lie alive. So, the honest one came out. I told him Santa isn’t real. Well, that he is, but, that Santa is Me. I told him how wonderful it is to pick out presents for him. The glory I get from seeing the pleasure on his face when he opens up something he really wanted, thinking Santa was the giver, however, that it was really me. My Coco cried. Hard. Yep, you guessed it, that meant I cried also. Hard.
I asked him what he was most upset about. He told me that one I’d lied to him all these years. Yes, my 10 year old said that. And two, that means the whole thing is stupid. He even said to me, “Mom, so every year when we get our picture taken with Santa, we are really just sitting on some strange old man’s lap?!” I almost chuckled. Yet, the seriousness in his voice, and the displeasure on his face told me this was no laughing, nor chuckling, matter. I had to tell him yes. He thinks that is just crazy, weird. And you know, he may actually be right!
I begged my Coco not to tell his sister. To allow the magic to stay for her. At first, he told me he couldn’t. He said there was no way he could fake or lie to her. Coco then asked me to leave him alone. He asked me to leave my own bedroom, so he could console himself and be alone. That is what I did. Coco stayed in my room for two hours. I reentered at about the half way mark, to check on him. He had yet another question for me. “Mom, if Santa isn’t real, does that mean there is no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy?” Yes, bud, that is what it means.
Coco ended up deciding that he would not tell Lou that Santa isn’t real. That he would put on a stoic face and keep the magic alive for her. He said to me, “Mom, I don’t want to ruin it for her.” What a wonderful big brother he is!!
You know the worse part of the whole thing? My son, my 10 year old Coco, he is so mature and responsible for his age. Always wanting to be aware and involved in adult issues. Preferring, most often, to converse with adults. Super responsible about his homework. Makes great decisions at school. It was as if the magic of Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, it was part of what kept him young. Innocent. A Child. In committing my mistake, I feel like I took what was left of him being Young, Innocent, and a Child. It doesn’t feel good. Not in the least.
I find us at our first holiday, with the magic, since Christmas. I wonder how things will be different for my son this year. If he will still have fun searching for his eggs. Dying them. Finding his basket. If it will be difficult for him to pretend for little Lou. I do know, just as he did at Christmas time, that he will smile a big smile for me with each item he gets. As he now knows that it is my heart that chose to get him the things he loves and wants. On Christmas morning, after opening up his Santa gifts, he came over to me and whispered, “Hey, Mom, you make a really good Santa.” He gave me a big smile and hug and walked away.
I guess, eventually, we all stop believing in all things magical. I just wish I could have kept him little, and believing, for awhile longer.
Happy Easter Everyone!
Originally written 3Apr15