Thursday, March 31, 2011
Peter Pan Lives at My House
Shortly after Christmas, he questioned me as to how I think Santa pulls off his big gig. I told him I didn't know, but I was sure he had a lot of help. I thought, perhaps now is the time for "that" conversation. I turned down the car radio and asked, "How do you think he does it? Have any of your friends said anything? Like...maybe mom or dad put out the presents?" He looked at me with shock and a little amusement. "There's NO WAY Dad could be Santa! Where would he make the presents? If he were, I would be in charge of the reindeer!!!!" I turned the radio back up. This was not the time for "that" conversation!
Fast forward to the Easter season. I had just been to the store and picked up some things to fill baskets. I left them in the trunk of my car and promptly forgot about them. The youngest happened upon them! (He's got to be putting 2 and 2 together...) Again in the car, I turn down the radio. "E, you know I put those things in the baskets, right?" E, "Yeah...." Still not seemingly putting 2 and 2 together I blurt out, "E, there is no Easter Bunny." He looked at me and his bottom lip started to quiver, big crocodile tears rolled down his face. Oh my gosh, WHAT have I done?! "Really?" He asked. "Then what about the Tooth Fairy and Santa?" Knowing that he did NOT want to hear it, and not being ready for more drama myself, I said, "Well that's different! They are people. And the Easter Bunny is an animal!" (Don't judge!!!) For the next 10 minutes, he sat silently, with tears rolling down his face. "What about the bunny tracks we saw at Aunties house?" He finally asked. Realizing what a mistake I had made, loving his innocence, and my heart breaking for him, I answered "I don't know how the prints got there." (Parents in my sisters neighborhood strategically place chalk bunny prints along the sidewalks.) "I've learned from this" he said "not to make the same mistake with my kids. I'm not telling them anything!" Once home, he lay down on the couch and told me he'd like to forget this day ever happened.
Dad saved the day. "I told you he wasn't ready!" he said to me. This from a man who will never admit to knowing the real identity of Santa. He smoothed things over that evening while I was at work. Explaining to E. that mom does put some things in the basket (not all). But he (dad) does believe. E. seemed willing to accept Dads explanation. Critics may say that entertaining these fantasies isn't healthy. Really? The rest of us seemed to turn out okay. It's the desire for simpler, carefree, childhood days that we yearn for. He will know the truth soon enough. I'm sure he has his inklings. For now, I will let him enjoy his childhood. He'll have plenty of time to deal with grown up issues. He's not quite ready to give it up just yet, and who can blame him?