Whelp…. my son is on to us (my husband and I). We will never be able to make him jump into bed again with threats of hearing sleigh bells on Christmas Eve…
I was reading my new “Parenting Beyond Belief” book… laying on the loveseat this morning with a cup of coffee, while my 2 sons were across the room watching cartoons. Or so, I thought!
I happened to be on the chapter about Holidays and Celebrations. There was a part called “To Easter Bunny or Not to Easter Bunny” (which was by, and can be found on “Agnostic Mom’s Blog” here)… and, as I’m peacefully reading, I suddenly hear my 10 year old say – “What’s that you’re reading about the Easter Bunny? HmmmmmMMMMMmmm??”. He was smiling and looked like the cat who ate the canary…
He caught me off-guard. Mostly because I thought he already was well aware that there wasn’t an Easter Bunny… he’s 10!
But it quickly dawned on me that he never really flat out asked or announced his disbelief. I just assumed he was going along for the sake of his little brother still. I smiled at him… and he smiled back. He looked like he was proud of himself – not upset. He started chanting, “There is no Easter Bunny! There is no Easter bunny!”.
I sort of shot a glance to him and eyeballed towards his little brother (who just turned 5), and told him to “ssssh”. Then, I called him into the other room so we could talk privately.
Me: “First of all… the book I’m reading was talking about all different holidays and celebrations and beliefs and religions… and how some people believe one thing… and others believe something else.”
DS1: “OoooooOOOOOOoooh. …. But, IS there an Easter Bunny???? hmmmm???” (smiling)
Me: “what do you think?”
(I thought – wow… what good timing that I was JUST reading about this and different approaches to handle it! Of course, if I HADN’T been reading it, this wouldn’t be happening, because he wouldn’t have seen it! LOL)
DS1: “Nooooooo. I don’t think the Easter bunny is real” (laughing)
Me: “Well then, it sounds like you already knew then. And, yes… you are right. You didn’t really still think there was a bunny bringing you eggs and candy anymore did you?”
DS1: “Noooo. (more laughing). So what about Santa? Is HE real??”
Me: again, “Well? What do you think?”
DS1: “No. There’s no way he could go all the way around the world in one night! (more laughing)
Me: “Well then…. Again… it sounds like you already knew. So you aren’t surprised if I tell you that you are right again, right?”
DS1: “Ah HAA! I KNEW it!!!” (big grin)
Me – surprised: “So you still thought maybe there were?”
DS1: “Well.. I KNEW the Easter Bunny wasn’t real for sure… and I was 99% sure about Santa but wanted to make sure just in case”
Me: “Well… you know… the SPIRIT of Christmas and Santa is real – about giving to others and all”
DS1: “oh yeah…. Sure… but, there’s not a guy who flys around. The presents come from you and Dad.”
Me: “right. But it was fun to pretend and believe in magic for a while, wasn’t it?
Me: “so, do you think you can not tell your little brother just yet and we’ll wait til he asks? I think he likes to pretend too”
DS1: “I already tried to tell him last year that Santa wasn’t real – but he got mad and hit me”. (laughing)
Me: laughing back… “See? He doesn’t want to know yet. Let’s wait. He’ll know soon enough”.
I pause… studying his face briefly. He doesn’t LOOK upset. Still.. I can’t help but worry. It’s my job as a mother – to worry. I find myself wondering if he’s going to be damaged for life now and gingerly ask,
“So… what do you think about all this now that you know for sure?”
DS1 paused… and, blurted out, “I can’t believe when I’m a grown up I’m going to have to spend all that money on my kids!!”…
We both laughed hard… and I gave him a big hug…. I told him he didn’t HAVE to spend anything… you give because you want to… and that he didn’t HAVE to have kids… (to which he said “YAY!” ;)… but, I continued.. “But, you know… your father and I love you and your brother very much… and you are worth every penny.”….
All in all… I think it went very well… I see no visible scars.
I know there’s a lot of controversy on this. My Christian friends struggle with it too. I always thought, my being NOT religious, made it easier to pretent because I wasn’t worried about sending the wrong message of the holidays not being religious enough.
I seriously don’t remember being upset myself when I figured it all out. I don’t even remember when I actually DID figure it all out. I think I was like him, where I knew for a long time… but, went along for a while anyway.. just to make sure.. and because it was fun. When my next son wants to know the truth… we will tell him… but for now… I don’t think it is hurting him at all to have a little magic in his life.
Of course, I could be wrong. Someday – they might hate me for it… and I’ll loose my mother of the year award – again. 😉