As I sit here pathetically staring down a bag of Reeses Pieces, silently debating whether or not to break into the Easter candy meant for my kids’ baskets tomorrow morning, I start giggling to myself, reflecting on the afternoon I had today. We did it again. We got excited! We stood in line. Our turn came. We freaked out. We left.
Same thing, different holiday.
I know there are a number of you out there who pride yourselves on the beautiful Easter and Christmas dresses that your children don every year. You’re the same people who have a lineup of annual 8x10s displaying your smiling angels next to our holiday mascots adorning your entryway. Your kids enjoy rabbits and bearded men who bring them gifts and candy, and why shouldn’t they? It’s tradition. It’s cute. And they’re kids. That’s what they’re for…to remind us all to believe in a little magic and negate the “reality” of a rabbit hopping solo around the world delivering baskets full of cocoa product or a jolly fellow with a flying sleigh who lives in the coldest part of the world with his plump wife, magical reindeer, and evidently no child labor laws. It’s what’s supposed to be. It’s adorable. And it is not in the cards for my children. They hate them. They fear them. And they’re completely satisfied hearing OF them rather than sitting BY them.
It’s one of those things where I kind of secretly wish I had that lineup of photos, or maybe even one with them crying while Santa holds them with a look of anguish and dispair. I would even take one of those! But since day one, I haven’t been able to put my child through it when I knew they just really didn’t want to do it. I’ll get them close, and as soon as the hesitation sets in, I say, “OK, forget it. No big deal. Wave goodbye now.” I smile, and it’s fine, but deep down, MAN it woud be cute to get one adorable picture of my babies together with the Northtown Mall bunny, who sports Harry Potter glasses and the cutest pastel blue corduroy vest I’ve ever seen on a rodent.
These were my thoughts today as I spoke with the super kind *bunny attendant (*probably not her real title). She asked me if I had filled out my photo purchase form yet while we were still in line. I told her I probably didn’t need a pen, and that she could trust me on this one. She tried to coax Coen to the front of the line with a snowglobe and I showed him the cool Easter coloring books the bunny was giving to kids who smiled nicely, to no avail. She tried asking Coen if he liked the Packers (thanks to his super-Eastery-sweatpants he selected for himself this morning) and he responded, but she said she couldn’t hear him and he’d have to come closer. He responded louder and she said she still couldn’t hear him and he’d have to come closer. This went on until I was almost embarrassed by my child’s volume so I told her, “He’s 3 1/2, but he’s no dummy. You’re probably not going to win this one.” Strike One. Finally it was our turn. I carried Mabel up to him and those tears started immediately. Wailing, horrible “I’m-going-to-get-kidnapped” tears. Strike Two. As I was nearing my end, I calmly asked Coen if he wanted to tell the Easter bunny what candy he likes or if he wanted to give him a high five. He actually had tears welling in his eyes as he slinked silently towards the exit, butt against the white picket fence, literally as far as he could get from that furry white lap within the perimeters to which he was currently bound. Poor kid. I took that as Strike Three and told the lady to just forget it.
I wasn’t frustrated. I wasn’t upset. I wasn’t surprised. I was mostly amused (and only minorly envious of the crazy lady behind me who basically had her kid in his satin baptism outfit sitting in a wooden Easter basket holding a stuffed lamb smiling reverently at the camera lady).
As I sit here tonight (ok, I opened the Reeses Pieces) cutting out rabbit footprints from construction paper and writing clues in my best bunny penmanship that will lead them to their shamefully overloaded Easter baskets, I know we have our own traditions. No two kids are the same and there’s not a darn thing we can do about it. I’ve been blessed with two rascals who despise holiday icons, and I’m going to have to make myself ok with that. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it technically saves me money.
And who knows? Maybe someday we’ll get there and I will get that picture I’ve always dreamed of. But for now, I’ll have to take pride in my kid shouting, “I want Skittles!” from the top of his lungs at a minimum of 50 yards from the Easter Bunny. I am absolutely positive the bunny didn’t hear him, but I can rest assured that he’s definitely going to find Skittles in his basket tomorrow. Ahhhhhh…magic.