I don’t take my kids to see the Easter Bunny, but it’s probably not for the reason you think. It’s not that I want to save my child from being horrified at an adult stranger in a rabbit costume (which, seriously, I find to be the stuff of nightmares), or because I was traumatized by the Easter Bunny as a child. It’s not because I’m an Easter purist who believes that the focus of Easter should be only on the resurrection of Christ, and that all commercial aspects of Easter are an abomination. I keep my kids away from the Easter Bunny because I want to keep the magic alive, and I’m afraid taking photos with an obviously fake and creepy bunny-person might start to plant doubt in their minds.
It is the same reason I don’t take my kids to sit with Santa at the mall. There’s something about meeting your idols that takes away the magic; that starts to chip away at the grand illusion you’ve spent so much time building up. I think the best part about these magical holidays is the imagination and creativity they evoke in my children. The fantasy they create in their minds around these mythical holiday icons is far more potent when they aren’t sitting on the Easter Bunny’s lap with the wheels of their minds churning ever closer to the sobering truth.
There is nothing like the joy of Easter morning in our home: their excitement as they wake to a house full of hidden eggs and imagine the Easter Bunny sneaking round in the dark early hours of morning. The shrieks of pure joy as they come bounding down the stairs to take stock of what the Bunny's brought them.
My childhood was starting to move away from me. It was the first time magic was plucked from my life, and I was unable to conjure it back.
I was 7 when I found out that the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist, and a part of me changed that day. I remember the exact moment: I was at a holiday camp in England with my family and my aunt made an offhand comment about the Easter Bunny not being real. Her daughter, my cousin, was a year younger and already knew the truth, so she assumed I did as well. The look on my face must have gave me away, because she immediately asked if I'd known beforehand. I didn’t want to seem childish, so I lied and said yes, of course I knew.
I cried a bit later, when no one was around. It wasn’t because the Easter Bunny was some huge part of my life, or that anything tangibly changed about the holiday for me. It was because, in a way I couldn’t yet articulate, my childhood was starting to move away from me. It was the first time magic was plucked from my life, and I was unable to conjure it back. Perhaps, in some sense, I knew other things were to follow: leprechauns and pots of gold, Santa Claus and his reindeer, the Tooth Fairy, all fairies, Peter Pan, my stubborn belief that I would someday fly if I ran and jumped fast enough into the air.
I want them to stay up late, wondering where the Easter Bunny will hide eggs as they drift off to sleep. I want them to believe.
I know that my babies will experience that moment someday, when the first bit of magic is stolen from them. Sometimes, it takes only the smallest truth to weaken the infrastructure of fairytales and bring them crumbling to the ground. So for my part, I'll do my best to build a moat around their castle of myths, to let them believe as long as they're able to.
There is nothing like the joy of Easter morning in our home: their excitement as they wake to a house full of hidden eggs and imagine the Easter Bunny sneaking round in the dark early hours of morning. The shrieks of pure joy as they come bounding down the stairs to take stock of what the Bunny's brought them. I love to watch them rush to look out the door, hoping to catch a glimpse of the mythic creature they "just missed." Their smiles at the thought of such magic — their hope and wholehearted belief — is worth the white lie that keeps their belief alive. And I'd tell it to them over and over and over again in order to preserve that feeling just a little bit longer.
Childhood is steeped in magic for such a short time. I don’t want to endanger that time for a cheap mall photo that will end up at the bottom of a keepsake box for years to come. It’s not worth the risk of ruining even this small and seemingly insignificant part of their childhood. I'd much rather spin tales of the Easter Bunny that will keep their imaginations running wild. I want them to stay up late, wondering where the Easter Bunny will hide eggs as they drift off to sleep. I want them to believe.
I know they'll grow up someday, just not today.