It’s a few days from Easter. We’re in the car. Wife’s driving, I’m passengering, boys are in the back strapped into their seats. Our usual seating arrangement. My youngest, my four-year-old, is in a babbling mood, and on this occasion the subject of his babblings is Easter and all the eggs and candy that the Easter Bunny is going to leave for him.
“Fake!” declares his brother, two years his senior. “Fake! Fake!” And so on and so forth.
I turn around in my seat, give him a look. “Stop it.”
The babbling goes on unabated, as if he hadn’t even heard what his older brother just said. Not one to be silenced when he knows the truth’s on his side, my eldest lays out his case again. “Fake! He’s! Not! Real!”
I swing around to him again, actually getting kind of mad now, and again I tell him to stop. I say it like I mean it, which in that moment, I do, I really want him to just shut his noisehole with regards to the existence of giant magical rabbits with a penchant for hiding hardboiled or in some cases plastic eggs, if he could do that for me, that would be just nifty.
The kid just smiles back at me and mouths the word…FAKE!
And that’s when it hit me – What the shit am I doing? Why am I getting so pissed off at my kid over this? I don’t particularly care about Easter. It sneaks up on me “Oh it’s this weekend?” every single year. My wife and I aren’t religious. I believe in God about as much as I do the Easter Bunny or goldfish leaving Lincoln Logs in my sock drawer. While we did do the whole Santa Claus bit, we never actually introduced them to the concept of the Easter Bunny, at least not as a nocturnal gift-leaving entity. They picked that up elsewhere. In the youngest kid’s case, “elsewhere” included his big brother, the very same one that was now joyfully declaring the whole Easter Bunny thing to be an adult-perpetrated fraud.
When I stopped to think about it, I was actually pretty pleased with my kid for his skepticism. So why was I so eager to keep him from tampering with the wool over his brother’s eyes? He was offering him the red pill and I was slapping it out of his hand. Eh, something about wanting the little guy to believe in magic just a little longer? Not ready to see him reach that milestone yet? My baby boy isn’t a baby anymore? Blah blah blah, etcetera etcetera? Yes, probably all that stuff, stuff I don’t spend a lot of time dwelling on, but that’s clearly there bubbling under the surface, as evidenced by my kneejerk reaction to my eldest’s assertion that, in fact, ain’t no damn rabbit coming in the night.
Christmas should be interesting.
Picture Source, based on a Google image search for "ain't no damn easter bunny."