Here Comes Peter Cottontail
Sunday, April 12, 2009

This might be our last year that the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus come to visit.

My sweet, Curly Girl is 11. She’ll be 12, at the end of the year. She’s the one of my daughters who has embraced childhood the longest, still quite content in her little-girl world. Barbies and Polly Pockets figure big in her life. And she would rather be out in the backyard, lakeside, catching frogs in her bare feet and dirty t-shirt than anywhere else in the whole world. She has no interest in clothes, make up, boys, (except for the Jonas Brothers), or anything else that girls on the edge of teenage life find intriguing. This picture defines her- sticky juice mustache and all.

Last Christmas, she came to me so sweetly earnest with her soft doe eyes, begging me to cement her waning faith. She informed me she was the only one left in her class who believed in Santa. She said, “I know he’s real, Mommy. (This is what she still calls me, the sweetest part of her holding on to that little girl) I told everybody, there’s no way my mom would go to all that trouble.”

My kids know me well.

But, not that well.

I have always gone to all the trouble. They just don’t see it, the little and big things.

In the order of big things, Christmas and Easter have always been full of sparkle and magic and mysterious creatures who leave surprises, moments that will forever stay etched in their memories.

I don’t get much sleep the night before a holiday. At Christmas, I’m too busy wrapping the multitude of Santa presents and stashing them under the tree. I’m stuffing stockings with special treats, bought specifically for the stocking owner. I’m sticking my Hubby’s Sasquatch hiking boot in the ash of the fireplace and leaving a trail of Santa prints, a Santa path, to the tree and back. I’m eating reindeer carrots, Santa cookies, and dumping Santa milk down the drain. (I hate milk.) I’m cutting Santa beard hair from one of my Santa figurines, dipping it ever so slightly in the milk residue and attaching it to the rim of the milk glass. “Look Kids, Santa must be shedding!” I’m writing a full-page letter in mysterious, block handwriting in response to my Curly Girls’ letter for Santa with her dozens of curious questions about the North Pole and Santa life. I’m lining my lips in cherry red lipstick and wearily tiptoeing up the stairs into their rooms, for the final touch, a big cherry red kiss on their cheek, a souvenir of Mrs. Claus, who always comes along for the ride.

I can see why she still believes. I’ve made it so for her, for all my little girls.

For me, I want them to remember the magic of believing, the wonders of Santa and the Easter Bunny, the sweet things that make up memories. Who knows, maybe they’ll look back someday and realize their mom was there all the time, going to all of that trouble.

I thought I’d be sad. I thought it would ruin me, having no one left who believes in magical happenings of the very best kind.

But, I’m really not. I’m tired.

I’m feeling relieved, if truth be told. It’s been a lot of work. I kind of can’t wait to hand them their Easter baskets on Easter morning and have them hide their own eggs, (they’ll never give up the egg hunt. I know these kids.), instead of me setting my alarm for 5:00 AM, so that our eggs aren’t out all night, rotting in the tropical weather. I’m tired of hiding those stinkin’ eggs, half-bleary with sleep, while detailing in handwritten notes where each egg is hidden.

I started the note taking, the year we forgot an egg and found it by its smell a couple weeks later.

Maybe that way we can focus on the real meaning of the holiday and get to Sunrise Service for once, on time.

But, until next year, I will relish bringing the magic into my still-trying-so-hard-to- believe little girl’s eyes.

Here’s my True Story, my favorite getting ready for a holiday story. It was the night before Easter, the kids were still small enough to be out of their mind with excitement. We had a hard time settling them down for the night and an even harder time getting them to drift off to dreams of the Easter Bunny. We sat in front of the TV, waiting them out. It was midnight, before I could sneak away to stuff Easter Baskets without the threat of any of them wandering in and having their dreams dashed.

Hubby had tried to stay awake with me, but, by this time, he was sawing logs on the couch. As I pulled out all the chocolate bunnies, eggs, and scrumptious treats I had stashed away, I realized with horror that everything was a melted gob of chocolaty goo. Bunnies were now runny, brown slabs of mess. The eggs were all congealed, their shiny foil paper, melted off.

Nothing was salvageable.

The week before, in my haste to cram more into my day, I thought the bags of newly purchased Easter fun would be fine for just a few errand stops. I’ve since learned that Easter candy in the car and tropical temperatures do not mix.

I rushed out to my snoring Hubby in a panic, waking him to show him the melted contraband.

Like the good man he is, he jumped off the couch, still bleary from sleep. He was in his old, tired shorts, the one he uses for bed. He slipped on a t-shirt and baseball hat and headed up to the store to save Easter for us. It was 1:00 am.

He came back a while later with bags and bags of goodies, a lot tired and a little sheepish.

He said he filled the cart with whatever struck his eye in the Easter Aisle and made his way up to the cashier, thankfully at the 24-hour grocery store near our house.

A young man rang up his purchase. Hubby said the kid was a little too chipper for being stuck in a minimum wage job at 1:00 AM on Easter Morning. The innocent cashier’s first mistake.

Now, usually The Hubby is an affable guy. Much to his teenagers’ horror, he’s the kind of guy who makes friends with strangers on the street, striking up conversations with everyone he comes across.

Usually.

Usually, he hasn’t been roused from a snoring sleep in the middle of the night by his panicked wife to go buy Easter treats for his children.

The cashier, in his chippery way, said to my Hubby as he rung him up, “Looks like the Hippety Hoppy Easter Bunny forgot to get his candy. That’s not good!”

Hubby said it was the sing-songy way the kid said it that did him in.

Hubby said he glared at the cheery cashier for an uncomfortable second before he wished him a Happy Easter by saying, “How bout I Hippety-Hop all over your ass.”

I think the cashier wasn’t very chipper after that.

Happy Easter to All. May the Easter Bunny always live in your Heart and may you get an overflowing basket of those delicious Malt Ball Eggs. Not melted, of course.

Today’s Must Have Download: “Julia” by the Beatles. “Her hair of floating sky is shimmering, glimmering, in the sun. Julia, Julia, morning moon touch me. So, I sing a song of love, Julia.” For My Curly Girl.





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