Sunday, April 1, 2018

What Happened When My Kids Grew Out of the Easter Bunny

It's midnight, the night before Easter breakfast. Our annual nettle picking is done; half of the nettles already put up in the freezer and dehydrator. The special home-made, paleo, sugar-free eggs my kids require are waiting in the pantry. The paleo version of our Easter morning bread and various other goodies are waiting in various stages of preparedness for me to finish them tomorrow morning. I'll have all the time in the world, then, since no adults will be hiding eggs tomorrow, for the first time in fifteen years. And I prepared very little of this loveliness, myself.

We're a secular family, and these special foods, the family togetherness, and watching the children delight in their egg-hunt are the ways we celebrate this time of new life and the warmth returning. I used to spend days running myself ragged trying to get it all ready - without regret, but definitely with a certain amount of stress.

But my kids are teens, now. They declared they don't want to hunt for eggs, while all the grownups stand around and watch. It feels contrived, and I can see their point. Still, I ignored them at first, because I couldn't fathom that kind of overhaul of my tradition! But they persisted. They've known for years that the Easter Bunny wasn't out there, and that I was just keeping up the charade for my own entertainment. Just like with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, I always suggested that it was better not to look for faults, lest the magic disappear. Eventually I let them in on the secret: that there is as much joy in being the magic as there is in receiving it. I said one day they could become the magic too. I guess that day has come.

So I told my kids some hard but beautiful truths, today: I told them that I have a secret stash of egg-wrapping foils, that I am very sad about not getting to watch them hunt for eggs this year, and lastly, that it's as often their doting Opa who hides the eggs as it is me. They slurped up this information with excitement, and began planning their Easter. They spent all day inventing various flavours of paleo Easter eggs, and cleaning up after themselves! Then they spent all evening helping to clean the dining room in preparation for the big family gathering we'll have there, in the morning. They went to bed at eleven and excitedly coordinated their alarm-setting to facilitate their decorating plans for the morning. My kids have taken over Easter! And it's wonderful. I can't wait to see what the morning brings.

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