Warning! This post contains adult content!
One Spring afternoon, when my daughter was in 3rd grade, she came stomping off the bus from school. She would not tell me what had happened until we got home, specifically not until we were in her bedroom with the door closed. I was deeply concerned that something unthinkable had happened to her. She sat on the edge of her bed and said, “Mom, you have to tell me the truth. Do you promise?” I was not feeling too calm by this point, and agreed immediately. What was this about? She looked me straight in the eyes and asked, “Is the Easter Bunny real?” Gulp. I was relieved for just a fraction of a second. Then, with my mind swirling rapidly around the reality of what was happening, I asked her why she was asking. She said, “Tell me the truth.” I took a big, deep breath and started to, as gently as I could, explain that it wasn't really possible for a big bunny to hop around from house to house leaving candy and presents for all the kids…so, parents had to help the bunny out. She told me a friend from school had said there was no Easter Bunny, so she needed to know for sure. It was a difficult talk, but I could tell she was relieved to know the truth. She was also a little disappointed, I think, that she had ever believed it, since once she thought about it, she could see how ridiculous it was. But, she agreed not to tell her little brother, which I was happy about since he was still pretty young. I think she asked about Santa next, but Santa is off the discussion table, if you will. John and I worked very hard to keep the magic and excitement of Santa “real” to the best of our ability. Santa would buy gifts we, as parents, certainly never would. We even made sure Santa gave just about the same things to all the kids when we spent Christmas with the cousins. It was a bit tricky some years, but I loved the excitement on Christmas morning when the kids would say, “Whoa! Look what Santa brought me!” This year, I'm hearing a lot about about the Elf on the Shelf. I missed this Christmas tradition, both as a child and with my own children. I recently learned what it was about and thought it was an interesting idea. Although, it seems, not everyone is embracing this Elf, according to what I've read in several blogs and seen on Facebook. I don't think I would add it to our traditions, if I had it to do over again. But, I'm not going to judge other parents, who want it as one of their traditions. I love a little magic at Christmas. In our house, I still say, “You have to Believe to receive!”