Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How the Grinch Stole Easter

I feel like I don’t usually expect much out of Easter and therefore it expects very little out of me.  And since we expect so little from each other...I shouldn’t have been surprised that both of our low expectations were met this year.

First of all, I don’t know what in the hell was up with my kids.  All I know is that I didn’t wake up cranky, so this time I can’t possibly blame their mood on my own, as I usually do.  My mom tried to blame it on the donuts they ate later that morning, but I don’t think one donut per child has enough sugar in it to turn all 3 kids into a whiny, sulky herd for 12 hours.

I usually try and give my kids a few inexpensive, outdoor toys for their baskets since nice weather is (hopefully) around the corner.  I look at their Easter toys as more of a gift to me:  False hope that I’m giving them things that might occupy them and keep them from fighting with each other for about 5 minutes on a sunny day.

This year, as I was shopping for Easter, I had also been shopping for summer clothes for my kids.  So everything was lumped into several garbage-sized bags that I had hidden not-so-discreetly in the back of my mini-van.  This meant that on Easter Eve, I was rummaging around, trying to find the little things that I had bought my kids for their baskets.

Never again.

Anyway, the rabbit poop hit the fan then next morning as my kids were taking a look at what they had gotten and my 9-year-old daughter just about had a nervous breakdown because the Easter Bunny had apparently given her brother and sister a Pez dispenser and not her.  And that’s because E.B. didn’t notice that the Pez dispenser had gotten tangled up in a pair of $3 shorts somewhere in the Target bag.

Now...when one of my kids gets upset about something little, I look at it one of two ways:  Either I get irritated beyond reason because I know in my adult brain that in the grand scheme of things a candy holder with a creepy bunny head on it is really not that big of a deal.  There are times I want to shake them and say, “Your dad is gone...and this is what you’re upset about???”

It’s the bad little mom in me that wants to do that.

The good mom stands there and is so proud of the fact that she has done such a great job of keeping the lives of her children up and running so that they can just be kids and get upset about stupid stuff like a Pez dispenser. 

It’s a toss up on which mom shows up during any given situation.

But Easter morning, as I watched my daughter’s face go from partly cloudy to possible hurricane, I decided a change needed to happen.  I’m not in the business of raising children who focus on what they don’t have, rather than what they do. 

Mama don’t play that game. 

And if that’s the point we’ve gotten to...it may be time that my 9-year-old learns that the Easter Bunny (aka, Me) has a lot going on, mistakes can happen, and it’s time for her to give my little bunny ass a break.

(Now, if you don’t know the truth about the Easter Bunny...please do not continue reading.)

The truth is...I have been dreading this moment since she was born.  If you ask anyone in my immediate family, they’ll tell you that the day I found out about Santa and good ol’ E.B. was one of the most traumatic moments in my life (death of husband included).  Despite what my dad says...it was not when I was 25-years-old.  It was at an age when I should have been told anyway.  Rumors had been circling in my 3rd grade classroom right before winter break and I remember a friend of mine and I getting into a heated debate about Real vs. Not.  It wasn’t pretty.

(If there is a guy I went to elementary school with named Ryan out there reading this...I apologize.) 

My parents decided to tell me after that 3rd grade Christmas and...really...I had it coming.  We were driving home after spending the holidays in Louisiana and I remember that being one of the best Christmases I had ever had.  I had asked Santa for a teddy bear that was as big as I was and that’s exactly what I found under the tree.

As we drove home, I came to the conclusion that if Santa could bring me that...he could bring me anything.  So on December 27th, I began planning my Christmas list for the next year which, if I remember correctly, involved a professional ice-skating dress (even though I didn’t ice skate) and a cash register set-up similar to the one they had at the local grocery store, complete with scanner and stocked cash drawer.

After working on my list (out loud) for about 12 hours in the backseat of the family station wagon, I remember my parents slowly turning to look at each other in the car.  And then the truth came out.

I was so mortified at what they were saying that at the next stop, I angrily got my 9-year-old self out of the car, looked at them and shouted, “I guess the next thing you’re going to tell me is there’s no Tooth Fairy either!!!”

I was locked in the bathroom at the Conoco before I reality really set in.

There was no Tooth Fairy.

I haven’t yet talked about this day with my therapist, but as you can see...it will forever be implanted in my memory.  So as I sat down to tell my daughter about the Easter Bunny, I prepared myself for a similar scene.  Instead, she just gave me a hug and said, “I’m sorry I was so rude downstairs.”

Obviously she’s a little more aware of how the world works than I was at that age.  Either that or maybe Ryan gave her a call.

Once again, I went through a moment that was a helluva lot more traumatic for me than it was for my kid and the last few days...I’ve been feeling a little blue.  I think that it’s just that I’ve hit another parenting milestone alone and having to admit to my daughter that there isn’t as much magic in the world as she thought...it was kind of hard.

The only comfort I have about the fact that I had to do this alone is that if her father had seen the way she was carrying on about a Pez dispenser, I don’t think he would have been as delicate in his truth-telling as I had been.

Daddy didn’t play that either.

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© Catherine Tidd 2011


  1. OMG, you totally crack me up! I love reading your stuff. Always poignant but with great humor- thank you!

  2. Thanks Brooke! I always wonder if anyone else finds this stuff funny! :>)