Justin had been saying for months that it was time. “He’s going to get made fun of at school.” “He probably already knows.” etc. Josh had asked me at Christmas time if Santa was real… I had replied, “Well there is a secret about Santa, but I think Dad wants to be there for you to hear it, we’ll ask him later…” He never brought it up again, and I didn’t have the heart to. You see, I love imagining things. Fablehaven, The Land of Stories, A Wrinkle in Time, Harry Potter all top my list of favorite books. Who’s to say fairies aren’t real…. you can’t really truly know they aren’t right? Josh has always been a fellow fantasy lover. The day I had to explain to him that Star Wars wasn’t real… well it was a sad day for both of us. So I managed to avoid the talk at Christmas time. I was really saved by his best friend pointing at a life size light display of Santa and saying, “Hey my Dad served a mission with that guy.” After that I thought I was pretty safe in the friend department. I wanted my kids to be able to hang on to fairyland for as long as possible, he’s only 8… you only get to believe with your whole soul for a small fraction of your life. It makes life magical. But… when Josh spied Anna’s present from the Easter Bunny while we were unpacking the car in Moab, Justin finally convinced me it was time. There was no store to go to for a replacement after all. I quietly mourned while Justin rolled his eyes. After we got the kids settled in the tent for the night we grabbed Josh out of the tent and told him we needed to chat. He looked a little worried. Josh and I settled into the van (so the other two wouldn’t hear) while Justin finished up some stuff. Josh looked a little worried. “Don’t worry. You’re not in trouble I said.” Relief washed over his face. Then he looked at me with a serious expression on his freckled face and said, “Is this about the Easter Bunny?”
Not really surprised I replied, “Why do you think it’s about the Easter Bunny?”
“Well I get the whole Santa Claus thing. I mean I’ve even seen his sleigh with my own eyes at night. There are all these stories about him. Tons of people have seen him… I get that. But the whole Easter Bunny thing has always just seemed so weird to me. I mean, he’s a big rabbit. Where would he live? What really is his purpose?”
Right then Justin got in the van. I warned him with my eyes to let me talk.
“You’re right Josh it is about the Easter Bunny.” And I told him the truth, but only about the Easter Bunny. He took it well, and is excited to help make the magic next year. He also solemnly swore not to ever tell anyone… that is up to each kids parents. We went over strategies for not lying, but not ruining the secret, in case any of his friends ask him if he believes in the Easter Bunny..But Santa, he can keep his magic for a little while longer. When I explained what had happened, Justin just looked at my tear filled eyes and rolled his.
Much to Anna’s delight she found an answer to the note she had written to the Easter Bunny on Easter morning. As she told Josh all about it (the Easter Bunny lives in Hawaii… who knew?) he gave me a conspiratorial smile over her head. I guess it’s not too bad having a bigger kid.
This morning I found Anna bawling hysterically in the garage. All the furniture in her fairy house had been knocked down. In between sobs she choked out, “It’s the leprechaun! He found it on St. Patrick’s Day and he keeps ruining it!” She could barely keep the rage out of her voice. We moved the fairy house…. and fairyland lives on.