About the Easter Bunny: “It’s big and pink, and of course it’s real,” said younger brother Kenny.
“How do you know, you’ve never seen it?” Ryan countered over his bowl of buttered ronis.
“And you’ve never seen your pet dragons. They’re invisible. So…maybe the Easter Bunny is too – you just can’t see him.”
We’d had similar discussions around the dinner table; the last one about the existence of tooth fairies.
Ryan was quiet a moment, chewing with his mouth open in that way I hate, but thought it would go over well, at the moment, to tell him to shut his mouth.
“I think it’s Mom who writes those notes,” he said.
“Shut your mouth when you’re chewing.”
The notes are carefully scrawled on tiny bits of paper to identify their Easter baskets. A scrawl I carefully try to disguise as not my own.
Ryan is eight. I don’t remember how old I was when I stopped believing in the fantastical of Easter Bunnies, Santa, and tooth fairies. But I don’t remember wanting to disprove their existence, either.
So I asked him, ” Why do you want to not believe?”
Kenny too, looked at him. Waiting for a poignant answer.
We didn’t get one.
Ryan started to cry. He ran up to his room and slammed his door.
When he was younger, Ryan was adept at lying. At stealing loose change off Daddy’s desk and making up wild stories about how it had just “appeared” in his pockets. Like the Batman toggles he’d steal from the bins at Stride Rite.
And every time he stole, I would give him the speech about how not only shouldn’t we steal, but we should never lie.
At the risk of having to tell him the truth now, about my own lying about Santa, the tooth fairy, and the Easter bunny, I didn’t follow him upstairs – didn’t want him to have his doubts about the fantastical. Not yet. Not before life would have to become all too real, too soon, anyway. As it already had, with lonely moments on the school playground and cruel comments other children can make too naturally.
Kenny picked thoughtfully at his ronis. “Well, if the Easter Bunny isn’t pink, he at least has to be very big to carry all those baskets. I mean, It’s not like he has a sleigh….”