Easter was bittersweet for me this year. Oh, there was the usual fun. DS and I dyed eggs, stuffed ourselves full of Peeps, visited the local farm to hunt down plastic eggs filled with candy and pigged out on Sunday dinner. And as we were watching HOP, he turns to me with his big brown eyes full of doubt and says, "Mom, is there really such thing as the Easter Bunny? Or do you just hide the eggs when I'm asleep?"
I was taken aback. I mean, I knew this day was coming. He's seven years old, most of his friends no longer believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny. Most claim to await visits from the Tooth Fairy for obvious financial reasons, but it's just lip service. DS has stretched out, lost his baby fat, has all his permanent teeth in the front. Yes, I knew this day was coming, but I dreaded it.
"What do you think?" I ask him. It's a deflection, I know. But I can't just blurt out the truth and stick a fork in the magic. I can't because I'm not ready.
This year's been full of things like that. I wasn't ready for him to say, "See ya, Mom." as he darted off from the school parking lot when only a couple years ago he'd ask me to walk him to class and beg for more hugs and kisses before I left.
I wasn't ready for Legos and sports posters to replace teddy bears and choo choo train wall decals. I wasn't ready for him to wolf down ten chicken nuggets instead of just four--though he still wants the Happy Meal toy so there's that comfort.
It seems like I blinked and Thomas the Train books were out, Diary of a Wimpy Kid in. And somewhere along the way Chuck E Cheese became too babyish. We'll be having a laser tag birthday party this year.
It's all going so fast. I flash back to the seven pound four ounce newborn who squirmed in my arms. He's four feet eight inches, seventy-five pounds now.
I ruffle his hair and kiss the top of his head, awaiting his conclusion. With a sly look out of the corner of his eye, he nods and murmurs, "It's the Easter Bunny."
I can tell he doesn't mean it, that he doubts his own words. I know he speaks softly because he's trying to deceive both of us and he's uncomfortable doing it. And I know he's fudging the truth because he knows I'm not ready.
But he's begun the process of packing away childish things...it's a warning shot across the bow. Manhood is coming. And I have to get myself ready whether I want to or not.