“I can’t wait until later!” my eight-year-old said this morning. We were in the middle of getting ready for Easter mass.
“Why, what’s later?” I asked, fixing his tie.
“We get to have all that Easter candy!”
Of all the childhood lies we’ve decided to tell our kids, the Easter Bunny is where we drew the line. Santa Claus. Check. Tooth Fairy. Check. Easter Bunny. Nope.
I’m not sure why we never really embraced the Easter Bunny. Maybe it’s because I’ve always found those giant Easter bunny costumes slightly psychotic looking with their plastic Stepford smiles. Santa is so ingrained in both religious and secular culture that there was really no way to avoid playing along, though I do think the Santa gig is almost up. Just the other day, we were watching TV when one of the characters alluded to the fact that Santa wasn’t real. One of the boys turned to me and asked me what it meant. I don’t remember my exact response, only that I managed to quickly divert his attention to something else and he seemed to forget about it. I would have preferred that we not have done the whole Tooth Fairy thing, but the boys were the last among their friends to lose that first tooth. By the time it was their turn, they had heard all about the Tooth Fairy from their friends.
The Easter Bunny was different. We never really talked about the Easter Bunny as if it were a real thing. And when we had our first Easter egg hunts in the backyard, we never pretended that it was the Easter Bunny’s doing. I never hid the fact that it was me doing all the egg hiding. In fact, for the last couple years, the boys have actually watched me stuff the plastic eggs with candy, knowing I would hide them in the backyard.
I guess it was because I never made a big deal out of Easter that I suggested, somewhat off-handedly, that we skip the egg hunt this year. I was pulling out the bags of candy when I brought up the idea to the boys. “You can still have all the candy,” I offered.
The boys were horrified by this idea. They really wanted to have an egg hunt. In fact, they wanted to have the egg hunt so much that they helped me fill all the eggs. Later, as they finished up lunch, I headed outside to hide the eggs, trying to find new places they might overlook. When I finished, the boys were already waiting at the door with their baskets.
It took them less than five minutes to find all the eggs. And even though they knew exactly what was in the eggs, I heard each of them celebrate whenever they cracked one open and discovered its contents.
But in the end, it wasn’t about the candy, after all. It was about those five minutes of childhood, hunting for eggs.
This post is part of the “Slice of Life” series, organized by the teachers at Two Writing Teachers, whose goal is to give teachers a place to write and reflect. This March, more than 300 teachers have committed to daily writing. If you’d like to read more “slices” (from other teachers and even some students), visit twowritingteachers.wordpress.com/challenges.