Originally posted March 20, 2008
Easter has always been about new life, and about believing in
things not easily seen. For my kids, it's also about
The Easter my son Noah was four, he unwrapped his chocolate
bunny and closed his eyes. Like a cigar aficionado, he
smelled its length, deeply inhaling the heady scent of confection
perfection. "It's good," he volunteered after a few bites,
"but I like the bunny with the hole in it, Mommy."
"The hollow one?" I inquired, making mental notes.
"Yeah. It tastes better," he explained.
Otherwise, everything else in his basket met with his
satisfaction. The jelly beans rocked, and the blue Peeps
Noah was also pleased that the Easter Bunny had left his and his
baby sister Holly's baskets by the front door, which, so far, he's
done every year. Mine had always been hidden by the
Easter Bunny, when I was a child. Every year, my husband and
I debate the merits of hiding versus leaving them in plain view by
the door. He says it's sadistic to make the kids work for
"But it was so much fun," I always argue, explaining
how exhilarating it was to anticipate the discovery of my basket,
hidden in a new place every year. Sometimes it was in the
dishwasher or the oven, and sometimes that nervy bunny would sneak
it under my bed as I slept. It was especially thrilling to discover
a basket meant for my sister or one of my brothers, and tease them
that I knew where it was. I credited the Easter Bunny with a
sense of adventure and a creative imagination that always delighted
us. One year that clever Bunny even left a trail of unraveled
yarn, which wended its way throughout the house, leading us to the
jackpot. Very cool bunny.
I learned the truth about the Easter Bunny one Easter Eve when I
was about nine, when my visiting cousins, sister and I were
supposed to be slumbering together in my loft bedroom. Unable
to sleep, I abandoned my sleeping bag and walked downstairs to my
parents' bedroom, expecting to find comfort or a glass of
water. Instead, I found an uncanny frenzy of overtired and
giddy parents, aunts and uncles, clumsily assembling a potpourri of
Easter baskets. Smoking was still all the rage, so the
room sported a haze that lent a surreal quality to my
discovery: chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies, fake green
grass and jelly beans were sprawled all over my parents' bed.
The adults were oblivious to my presence as I stood in the doorway
in my flannel nightgown. I just backed out quietly, not
making a sound, my mind a whirl of questions.
I recall the impulse to run upstairs and wake everyone up to
tell them what I'd seen. I was 'in the know,' after all, and
was delighted at the prospect of being seen as all-knowing before
my sister and cousins.
But I never did.
I doubt I withheld my mind-blowing discovery out of compassion
for my younger relatives. I think I was just too shocked to
speak about it, and remember feeling lonely with my
discovery. I'm not sure, but I'll bet this
was the beginning of the end for me: Santa Claus and the
Tooth Fairy probably retreated into that smoky haze, right along
with the Easter Bunny.
Now that I'm a parent, Easter is definitely still about
chocolate, but I'm a believer all over again, too.
"See his footprints, Mommy? I see two claws and big bunny
prints," Noah breathlessly intoned on that Easter morning when he
was four. I made my way over to the window to have a
look. Sidewalk, grass, trees, and the early morning goings-on
of the resident squirrels and birds clamoring for their
breakfasts. The usual. Everything as it should be.
"Yes baby, I see them," I said.
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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