"So, Trout, did you tell your mother about your revelation? About the Easter Bunny, at my house?" asked my MIL, sitting at my kitchen table yesterday, in front of, oh, everyone in the house, and completely out of the blue. "Whisper it to her."
"Wha?" Trout and I both said, simultaneously.
"You know," she replied, "about why the Easter Bunny doesn't come to my house, and why the Tooth Fairy doesn't either."
Alarm bells were dinging in my brain like an insistent telephone that doesn't stop until answered. Trout knows the truth about the Tooth Fairy, but has never made the expected connection between the Tooth Fairy and Santa and the Easter Bunny. My head spun back and forth as my eyes shot daggers at my MIL and I looked quizzically at Trout to see what she'd say and do. Fortunately, she was distracted by the marshmallow peeps she was eating and arguing with her sister about something, so I carefully asked her to go in the other room to talk to my FIL, which she did while also indicating that in her lovely, blessed airheadedness she was confused by what the heck my MIL was talking about.
"Trout doesn't know about the Easter Bunny," I spat out.
"Yes, she does, FishyGirl," my MIL responded, "she told me. Honest."
Somehow I doubted that. "I am absolutely without a doubt certain that as of last night she believed in the Easter Bunny. What exactly did she tell you?"
"Honest, FishyGirl, I wouldn't lie about this."
"What. Exactly. Did. She. Tell. You?!"
"Well, we talked. The last time she was at my house, you know, about the Tooth Fairy and how she doesn't come to my house because I don't have any parents and it's her parents..."
"Did she ever mention the Easter Bunny specifically? Yes, she knows about the Tooth Fairy, but she hasn't made the leap to Santa and the Easter Bunny yet, and I fully intend to keep it that way as long as possible. Why on earth would you bring that up, anyway? Why would you do that, especially with all the little kids around? Why would you talk about that now?"
"Oh. I didn't know."
At that point I was so angry I was on the verge of saying something I shouldn't, so I excused myself upstairs for a while to calm down, brain furiously working on the damage control that I was sure I was going to have to do.
Later on, Trout was up in her room, playing her cd player too loud and dancing around, and I went in to talk to her.
"Trout, honey, is there anything you want to talk about? Anything you want to ask me?"
"What about what Nana was talking about earlier? What did you and she talk about about the Easter Bunny?"
"Well, I know why the Easter Bunny doesn't go to her house."
Disappointment began to well up in my heart. This world doesn't have enough magic, and little girls need time to be little girls. This world has Bratz. This world has the Spears girls. This world has a war that has gone on too long. This world has far too much of life intruding on the innocence of kids. I want my daughter to have plenty of time to have magic, to have fairies and Easter Bunnies and Santa and wishes come true. To believe she can grow up to be a princess/brain surgeon/artist, if she wants to.
"Why is that, honey?"
"Well, it's not because she doesn't have any parents. It's because she's not Catholic!" she stated with confidence. I chuckled. Then we had a nice talk about how Christians are Christians and that the Easter Bunny visits those who aren't Catholic, too. Bless her little, sweet, innocent heart.
It was a whole lot easier to forgive my MIL once I knew that my little girl still has her magic.
You may wonder why the whole believing thing is so important to me, especially since we are religious and do celebrate the real reason for these holidays. I guess it's because my mother, for whatever reason, sat me down when I was 9 and told me the truth about Santa and the Easter Bunny, and then gave me the birds and the bees sex talk. I was absolutely devastated about the first, and that made me more horrified about the second, I think, and I didn't pay that much attention frankly. I have no idea why she decided I needed to be told - I am perfectly happy to have my children believe as long as they like. I will certainly tell them the truth if they ask me about it directly, but I have no intention of stripping them of any fun and magic before it's necessary, and I do intend to ask that they preserve the magic for their siblings.
If you celebrate it, I hope you had a marvelous Easter, and if you're Catholic, I hope you survived the crowds at Mass with your faith and forgiving spirit intact.