Does Perpetuating The Easter Bunny’s Existence Make Me A Liar?

A Cute Little Bunny With Some Eggs
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In two short days yet another holiday/occasion with a mythical being attached to it will be upon me. I can’t help but wonder who’s bright idea it was back in the day to make up these magical beings…the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Leprechauns…. What were they thinking? How did they weave the stories behind them that have gotten millions of adults and children to believe in them and keep them going?

I know my opinion probably is not one of the most popular in the world, but I really wish these imaginary beings didn’t exist. Yes, I love to see the joy on my children’s faces as they come down the stairs to find the presents under the tree, an Easter basket overflowing with candy or a crisp dollar bill under their pillows. The wonder of believing in the magic of these wonderful gift-bearing creatures brings happiness? Right?

The thing is their existence always puts me in an awkward quandary. Inevitably, my little one will start with the questions. “How does the Easter Bunny get in our house? How does he carry the basket? Where does he get all the eggs?” I struggle to answer her questions. At least with Santa the “stories” go way back and the layers of mythology are deep. So answers to her questions are more readily on the tip of my tongue. I’ll admit I’m a pretty bad liar especially on the fly.

My oldest daughter was the first to figure out that I was the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. I remember her asking me, “Mommy are you the Easter Bunny?”

“What do you think?” I replied.

She solemnly nodded her head.

“Are you disappointed?” I asked.

“No,” she said. “I’m relieved. It kind of creeped me out thinking about that bunny being in our house.”

She made sense. If Santa and the Easter Bunny can get into our house while she slept, what prevented the bad guys and monsters from getting in too? My daughter has always had a hard time falling asleep – afraid someone could get in. I assured her monsters, vampires, warewolves, etc. are made up and didn’t existence. In her mind, if the Easter Bunny could get in so could the wicked witch.

A couple of days later, she asked if I were Santa too. By the end of the week she knew the secret of the Tooth Fairy as well. I told her not to tell her friends or the other kids so as not to spoil the secret for them. She agreed. However, a week or so later my sister called to tell me my daughter had spilled the beans to her cousins.

“Sorry,” I told my sis. “She asked and I couldn’t lie any more.”

That said my youngest is still a believer. It will be a relief when she too figures it all out. I know it won’t be long as she’s a smart one. What worries me though, is that she’ll then jump to the conclusion that Jesus and God aren’t real either. After all you can’t see them either. You are just expected to have faith and believe in their existence, just as when we are children we are called to believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny only to find out they are not real. That are parents were duping us all along.  But I do have faith in God, in answered prayers, in miracles. Its just that these other ‘fake’ beings seem to muddy everything. Sure I can be the Easter Bunny, Santa and the Tooth Fairy, but I am definitely not up the part of God. I want my children to believe the things I tell them and so perpetuating the existence of these magical beings is hard for me. I want them to trust me.

It’s a little late now though to go against the grain. I went along with the ‘crowd’ and played the part this long. I believed in the Easter Bunny as a child and I still have faith in God; I feel His presence every time I look into my child’s eyes. I know my children will have that faith too. I will make sure of it.

What do you think? Is the Easter Bunny a bad rabbit?

Anxiety Amuck

As I cleared the pile of junk mail cluttering our dining room table, I salvaged a scrap of paper and set it aside for safe-keeping. No, I’m not a hoarder, although sometimes I do feel buried alive among the toys, clothes and shoes that litter the floors of my home.  As soon as I pick things up, it seems something (or someone) else sneaks behind me and puts something else in its place like quick sand.

But back to the all important scrap of paper. On it my nine year-old daughter had scribbled the lyrics to a Christmas song she had written. I smile to myself as I read her neat handwriting and phonetically spelled words. Her song is about having a “wonderful time.”  I take the scrap upstairs and put it in my keepsake box with the other songs, stories and poems she has written. She loves to write and she loves to read me what she has written. Pride and love fill me as I listen to her and watch her face light up as she reads something she has written aloud. She asks me if I like what she has written and of course I do. She is aspiring and I want to help her get there. I admire her creativity and openness. Her kindness and empathy.

She reminds me a lot of myself at that age. I still have a box of old stories and poems that I wrote when I was a kid. We both like to be liked and are hurt easily. Criticism can cripple us; even if it is not meant to. As I have got older I have learned to take criticisms as avenues for growth and not take it to heart. After all, it is my right to agree or disagree with it. It is just someone else’s opinion. They don’t have to like me, nor I them. I am worth more than one person’s opinion. My daughter has not learned these lessons yet and worries — a lot. This is another trait she got from me.

Nature or nurture? I am not sure. Was she born with propensity toward worry and anxiety or does she emulate what she sees? I have struggled with worry, anxiety and panic for most of my life. I empathize with the stomach aches and  racing heart. I know what it feels like to have some unknown heaviness pressing down on your chest threatening to cut off your breath. I intimately know about the restless indecision and unrelenting “what if’s” that make you want to jump out of your skin and run as far and as fast as you gave. I understand the waves of nausea, hot and cold flashes and the urge to pull the covers over your head and sleep. Sleep to escape. Sleep in the hope that tomorrow, you’ll feel OK again, but fear prevents you from actually sleeping, because what if you’re not?

Over the years I have learned many coping skills and have learned to keep the anxiety and panic at bay. My faith has given me that strength; continues to feed that strength. And still I worry about my daughter. I know I should give it to God and I try, but… The big “but.” I want to spare her from the pain, protect her and keep her safe. I don’t want to watch her go down the same path I did. I want to reassure her she is OK, not matter what. I teach her what I know when she starts to “freak out,” and it helps. She is seeing a counselor and created a worry box to put her worries in. She is making one for me as write this. She has a notebook where she writes down all the gifts God has given her that day – watching a funny movie, playing with her best friend… She re-reads her list of gifts when she starts to worry about something. The other day, she gave me a new notebook she got the other day from the treasure chest after one of her appointments. She told me I could use it to write my gifts from God in.

At the top of the list right after God’s grace, is her name and her sister’s name. I am truly blessed.

Dressed For…Me

Confidence and happiness radiate from the faces of my two beautiful (yes I am biased, but it is still true) daughters. I can’t help but smile and laugh when I am with them. We are getting ready for the day. First things first – deciding what to wear. My four-year-old can finally get herself dressed all by herself (when she wants to). She also likes to pick out her own outfits as well.  She comes into the kitchen as I am packing lunches. She is wearing a pair of  pastel rainbow striped pants, her hot pink and orange “Hello Kitty” t-shirt and the new brown suede boots I just bought her.”Don’t I like pretty?” she asks me as she twirls around to show me the complete outfit. It is quite an ensemble.”You look beautiful! I tell her. I could force her to back upstairs and put on something that remotely matches. In fact, if my husband were awake and saw what she had on, he would probably do just that, but I don’t.  She is so happy and proud of what she is wearing. She has a smile a mile wide! She feels good about herself. Who am I to wreck her happiness and force her to follow typical societal fashion norms. Maybe she will be the eccentric artist some day.

My nine-year-old is already a little more cautious about what she wears. She wants to fit in with her friends. I did too at that age. Part of fitting in is wearing the “right” clothes. She has on a black and teal glittery long-sleeved t-shirt that says “Dance, Dance, Dance” on it paired with a denim mini skirt and black leggings. She is wearing black suede boots and her hair pulled back in a pony tail. As she is putting her books and folders into her back pack and can’t help notice how grown up she looks these days. My little girl is gone. She catches me watching her.

‘What’s wrong Mommy?” she asks me. She looks down at what she is wearing. “Is something wrong with my outfit? Does this go together?” she immediately questions.

“Yes, yes. Nothing is wrong with your outfit,” I reassure her. At this age, her mother’s opinion of how she dresses and looks is still important to her. “You look great! I was just thinking how grown up you look.”
She beams.  I guess that was the right answer.

I look down at my own attire. I am still in my PJs. Appearances are something, but not everything I think to myself. I am always turning thoughts over and over in my head.  I want to be loved and respected for who I am on the inside. At 41 I am not going to look like the woman I did at 20. In fact, I really don’t want to be that woman again. I continue to think about appearances. My appearance – how I wear my hair, the clothes I put on each morning, the makeup I put on (or not) are all things I can control in a world of things were there is not much that I can control. I can’t control what happens as I drive to work or after I drop my children off at school. I can’t control how people treat me or what they think of my. But, I can control how I react to these uncontrollables. I can focus on what I can control and leave the rest to God.

And so out all that, I choose to wear the clothes that make me happy, that make me feel good and confident. If I think I look good in them, then I do. I am going to choose clothes like a four-year old – if don’t like an outfit or feel my best in an outfit I am not going to wear it anymore. I am going on a closet, clean out rampage and giving away all those clothes that make me feel less than beautiful. No longer will I buy something ho-hum, simply because it is on sale. So even if I have only three outfits left, at least I will feel good about wearing them (and I’ll have less laundry). I am going to dress  for me.

The Morning’s Musings About Heaven

My youngest daughter is four – actually four and a half. The way she thinks and makes connections amazes me. This morning as we were driving along on our way to pre-school, she starts naming the various people in her life and asking me if they will still be alive when she is grown up.

“Will Daddy still be alive when I’m grown up?” “Will my sister?”

I confirm, “yes,” hopefully these people will all still be a live when she is grown up.

“Will you still be alive?” she asks.

Again, I tell her that “yes” that I hope to be still alive when she is grown up. I don’t want to mislead her as of course, you never know. I remember hearing stories that once I asked my Grandma when I was about her age if she were going to die. My Grandma reassured me that she wasn’t. Yet, that was a promise she couldn’t keep forever as 23 years later she said goodbye to me and went to meet our Father in Heaven.

My daughter is quiet a few minutes and then she asked, “You mean you’ll still be alive unless God calls you to heaven.”

“That’s true,” I reply.

She continues on, her mind always coming up with new questions. “How will he call you to heaven?” she asks.

I wish I knew I think.  I tell her “Nobody knows how or when sweetie.”

“Will He tell you?” she asks.

“Maybe. I’m not sure,” I reply. “You don’t need to worry about being called to heaven right now though,” I say.

“OK” she responds.

She seems too young to be contemplating such heavy topics. It makes me uneasy. I’m not sure why this topic makes me uncomfortable, but it does. Mortality. We all know we are going to die someday, but no one, or at least I don’t, likes to talk about it too much. How do I answer her questions without making her worry? I continue to mull it over in my mind as we continue our drive.

“Bingo! Slug bug, yellow, no tap-backs,” she calls out to me from the backseat. I smile. Sure enough a yellow VW Beetle is parked along the side of the road.

She has already moved on to other things. I guess I will too.