I am no longer the Easter Bunny. In December of 2011, I quit the Magical Being business after 18 years.
My husband is a secular Jew. He never understood the parallel Pagan/Christian holiday track nor did he harbor a desire to learn the Magical Being trade. It was a solo venture that started out with tremendous enthusiasm and ended with lame excuses why the tooth fairy missed another pick-up.
Over the years, there have been many all-nighters of stocking stuffing, basket making and midnight tooth harvesting. When my first child, Leo, was born I didn’t give it a thought and suited up. About age 5, my young scientist began asking questions about the magical beings who entered our home and left presents, candy and money.
“Are they real?” he would ask.
At first I squirmed and said yes. Then came the Socratic dialogue circle of me answering with “What do you think?” to his “I don’t know, what do you think?”
This went on for about a year until I came clean and revealed the woman behind the Santa suit. Leo did not take it well. He didn’t care that the Magical Beings were not real, he had that already figured that out. He cared that I lied.
He really cared.
It was at that moment I put down my glass of Kool-Aid and thought about what I was doing. His brother Eli was a toddler at the time so I was at the fork in the road. Do I continue along with my Magical Being identity or bag the whole thing?
I went about restoring Leo’s trust and re-packaging the Magical Beings as symbols of wonderment and generosity. My secret desire was to make all holidays extensions of Thanksgiving. I wanted the Magical Beings to become magical turkeys. I wasn’t going to lie, instead I would be even more vague and confusing in all my responses to the inevitable questions.
I don’t know why I didn’t just stop then.
I’m not a club joiner. It’s not characteristic of me to hold on to the status quo but there was darn little for me to replace it with. Lacking a Martha Stewart gene, a religious affiliation or grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins in town, it was hard to fashion my own traditions. So I stuck with Magical-Beings-Lite.
The enthusiasm for all things holiday, except for Thanksgiving, was draining from me. Eli, a contrary skeptic from the beginning, never bought the stories. As long as there were filled stockings, chocolate eggs and a couple of bucks under his pillow he was good to go.
It wasn’t until two years later when my twin girls, Georgia and Lila, were born that I put down the Kool-Aid for good.
Their first Christmas came around and my inner feminist could not serve up my daughters the notion that an old fat white guy came down the chimney and gave them presents because they were GOOD. No way!
Here’s the rub. The girls really wanted to believe in Magical Beings. They wanted the whole package and were not very interested in magical turkeys.
I reluctantly returned to my less than half-hearted status quo path and my feminist anti-consumerism soap box. Not easy rails to straddle. I was going to have to take it slow for the girls.
Every year I dismantled a little more of what I didn’t like and kept the traditions that matched my world view. I added more gatherings with friends, travel instead of stuff and service work. I bought less, way less.
Finally, to my delight, I began hearing the Magical Being push back from the girls. For years there had been rumors at school that the the whole thing was parent run. I jumped on it and spilled the beans. They didn’t care. They had been listening to my holiday rants since they were little so they were not surprised.
I think they always knew it was me and that the magic is, and was, that I love them.