Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter! Mommy and Daddy Lied to You

How was your Easter?

I'm interrupting the book review schedule for a topic of some concern. Please, bear with me.

We did the Easter baskets and egg hunt on Saturday evening. Since we weren't joining any major family gathering on Sunday, it made since for Ollie to go with his mom to her family gathering.

But we wanted to have the fun of Easter baskets and the egg hunt. My mom obliged us by admiring the fixed bed in the boys' room (the one that she had already seen) while the hubby and I stashed plastic eggs in the living room, set out the baskets and made sure everything was out of the reach of the puppies.

When everything was ready, my husband opened the front door and called out, "Thanks, Easter Bunny! See you next year!"

At which point the kids came tumbling down the steps to check out their goodies.

As much fun as it was to watch their excited little bodies race through the living room, I felt a twinge of guilt.

We lied to them. Not a white lie to make them feel better like a Mommy's kiss makes it better. Or a lie of omission when you don't tell them the real reason about why you can't go to Disney World (it's too effing expense, kid. It has nothing to do with how long of a drive it is.)

No, this is the blatant, bold face lie that is told for Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and any other depositor of free goods. I hate doing it.

I do it because of peer pressure. How crappy would it be for my kids not participate in the day after sharing with their buddies? To return to school/day care and confess that the Easter Bunny didn't bring them anything? Truly awful, I believe.

Yet, what does it do to the parent/child relationship when the child discovers that all of those presents have been purchased by Mom and Dad? What did it do to you?

I remember what it did to my eight year old brain. I remembered thinking that I couldn't trust my parents. If they were lying about that, what else did they lie about? I don't recall any specifics, but I remember questioning other "facts" my parents told me.

I might have been the oddly precocious child, to apply this truth to more than the relevant situation. Other circumstances probably affected it as well. My father had passed away that October; I don't recall whether the revelation about Santa Claus came before or after that. But I do remember that the truth undermined my trust.

To compound the matter yesterday, Ollie, the seven year old, asked, "So what did the Easter Bunny look like?" I anticipated this question and had an answer sort of ready. Well, I didn't but one came anyway.

"He's really tall, with black and white fur and wears a bowtie."


At least he'll have a really good story to share about the Easter Bunny when he goes back to school. Even if I feel guilty.


Prime Looper said...

I feel the same way. I resolved to tell my daughter after her 8th birthday next month about santa, easter bunny, and tooth fairy. I'll let her make up her own mind about anything else with magical powers.

slpenney said...

I had two coworkers tell me the same thing, which then begs the question, why are we submitting to this pressure?

Adults should unite and stop. Then Hallmark would be out of business (snicker)