Last week in Tuscany, we’d wrap up a full day of working around 6 or 7, eat an amazing Italian meal, and open a bottle of wine or two as we settled into the evening. And even then, like so many other proud mamas, I found myself telling one of my favorite stories about my girls.
To understand it, you have to understand them a bit. My eldest, J., is a very linear thinker like her daddy. She sees what it practical and efficient, the shortest route between A and Z. Mostly it seems like there is little room for magic.
My little one, M., well, she pretty much lives with the fairies. Her world is filled with stories and possibilities fueled by her powerful imagination. I like to think she’s more like her mama.
So about a year ago, when they were just 5 and 4, a dear friend was getting married on Easter Saturday out on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We decided to just go ahead and make an adventure out of it. We splurged on a two-bedroom suite, packed the car full of the Easter basket surprises, and just went with it.
Both girls laughed and danced and giggled the night away. Before we knew it, it was 9 o’clock, which for us might as well have been 2 a.m. By the time we got back to the hotel, everyone was exhausted.
Suddenly J. looks right at me and says, “How is the Easter bunny going to know that we’re here?”
Desperate to get them to bed, I did what we all do. I lied.
“I left him a note.”
Her little mind was whirring at a million miles an hour. I could practically feel it. Every scintilla of her five-year-old self was focused on the Easter Bunny now. And so the barrage of questions began.
“How will he get in the room. He doesn’t have a key.”
“There’s no such things as magic. Are you going to wait up for him?”
“What if he doesn’t come for hours and you fall asleep?”
All the while, M.’s eyes grew wider and wider. She suddenly burst out in tears. “I don’t want da Easteh bunny in my woom!”
I looked at Husband for back-up. He shrugged. So then I do what we so rarely do. I told the truth.
“All right girls, here’s the thing. I’m the Easter Bunny.”
J. could hardly control her enthusiasm. “So you’re the one that got me the [list of toys I don’t even remember getting her] last year?”
“Wow! Thanks, Mom!”
So far so good. Right? So then I check in with M. Her eyes are still wide, but the fear has been replaced with something I can’t quite pinpoint.
“Mama,” she said quietly, “You aw da Easteh Bunny?”
“Yes, buggy. I am.”
She nodded, her eyes still wide. That’s when she looks right at me at says, eyes still wide open, “But how do you get all da eggs to all da little childwen?”
One child heard that I was the Easter Bunny and immediately believed that there was no magic.
One child heard that I was the Easter Bunny and immediately believed that I was magic.
Of course there is nothing better or worse about either one, it just made me think how much easier it is for us to believe that the amazing answers are the least likely ones.
It made me think how often we ground ourselves in rationality and logic and reason, instead of potential and possibilities.
It made me wonder, just a little bit, what the world would look like if all dared to see the world through the eyes of the child who thought it was more like her mother was magic than to believe that magic didn’t exist at all.