Early one Easter morning, my older son crawled into my warm bed with my husband and me. He was about four years old at the time.
“Mom,” he said, waking me. “I found my Easter egg basket and Dan’s too.”
I snapped awake and started to say “Happy Easter,” but he stopped me with quite a serious expression.
Out tumbled a gush of words: “You know what I think? I think the Easter Bunny didn’t come at all, and I think you went to the store and bought all our favorite candy and that green stuff for grass, and you hid all the wrappers, and you figured out where you could hide our baskets, and you hid mine in one place, and you found an easy place to hide Dan’s ‘cause he’s little, and then you went to bed, and I woke up and found them.”
The time had come, several years earlier than I would have guessed. I had always felt conflicted about the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and all the other lies many of us tell our children. I decided that I would tell my kids the truth when they asked.
So I looked straight into my smart, earnest, rational son’s eyes and nodded. “Yes.”
My smart, earnest, rational son’s reaction?
He burst out crying, shouting, “You’ve been lying to me for years!”
Awkward descriptions of tradition and the magic of childhood did little to cheer him up.
When his sobs subsided, he asked, “So if you’re the Easter Bunny, does that mean that Daddy is Santa Claus?”
My resolve to respect his rationality and meet frank questions with the truth had weakened significantly.
“Let’s save Santa Claus for another talk.”
I hugged him and told him not to tell his little brother. The conspiracy continued.
[At least I wasn’t like any of these parents: Misbehaving Parents Ruin Easter Egg Hunt]