Violet believes in the Easter Bunny. Not in the ironic wink-wink roll-your-eyes but eat the chocolate anyway kind of way, but really and truly. It’s so cute I can barely stand it.
Last night I was confused about why she went to sleep so easily until Richard told me that he had informed her the Easter Bunny wouldn’t come to visit unless she went to bed without a fuss. We had already prepared her for his arrival, and the events of the following day that would involve painting Easter eggs and other fun things.
At six o’clock in the morning, my alarm went off and I got up and distributed chocolates outside in all the flower beds and pots, and some on the patio furniture. Richard and I agreed that it was weird to let chocolates sit outside all night. What if the earwigs got them?
At 7:08 Violet came into our room with a sad face.
“Happy Easter!” I said. “What’s wrong?”
“The Easter Bunny didn’t come.”
“Yes he did.”
“I looked outside, there’s nothing there,” she said.
“Well, I know he came because he gave me a special poem to tell you. You want to hear it?” Violet crawled into bed with me and I told her what the bunny had said to me during the night. “‘If you want to find your Easter treats, look in all the plants and seats. Find a special one if you are able, up upon a broken table.'”
“That’s what he said?” She asked.
“Yeah, weird, huh? Should we go outside and see?”
She was already half way across the room. We grabbed a bag and headed out to the garden where she gasped to see brightly colored tin foil-wrapped chocolate eggs all over the place. The wonder in her eyes was so genuine it made me want to cry. But that would have been weird.
“Why didn’t he put any chocolates in the grassy part?” She asked.
“Well, I think he knows that Jackson poops there.”
“Oh yeah. Right. And how come he didn’t put any by the apple tree?”
“Well, maybe he didn’t think of that.”
“And how come he only gives chocolates? What about other kinds of candy?”
“Hmm. I think Daddy told him that you really like chocolate. Isn’t that true?”
“Yeah, that’s true.”
When we had gathered all the goodies, she was thoughtful.
“How did you hear him say that poem to you when the doors were locked? How did he get inside?”
Damn! Richard and I had gone overboard the night before explaining how we would keep Jackson inside all night so he didn’t scare the Easter Bunny. Then he’s suddenly going to come inside to give me a message? Hard to believe.
“Oh, you know what? I actually didn’t see him. He just whispered the poem to me from the window above our bed.”
“He was outside talking to you from the window?”
She nodded and we went inside. I was struck with the realization that I never had this kind of magical thinking as a kid. I had to call my mom to ask, and she confirmed that I did not ever, in fact, believe in the Easter Bunny. Maybe this was because I had an older future-athiest sister? Or maybe because my dad can’t keep a secret to save his life? I’m not sure.
But I do know that over the last few years I have discovered a form of magical thinking myself. When I was very low and depressed, raging with post-partem depression and generally wondering what to do with the next stage of my life, I had a nervous breakthrough, not to be confused with a nervous breakdown, which I’ve also had. I needed a miracle to pull myself out into the world of positivity again. And coincidentally, it was positive thinking that got me there.
Not to get all Californian on your asses, but turning my frown upside down (and a lot of life coaching and meditation) changed my life and got me feeling like a purposeful human being again. And because of this transformation, I’m now a lot ‘softer’ on people of faith. I used to be a hard-ass non-believer in any kind of hocus pocus, but lately I’m of the mind that people have the right to believe what they need to believe in order to get through the day, whether that’s Jesus-related or just an imagining of the universe as a positive place to be. Don’t get me wrong, I still pretend not to be home when Jehovah’s Witnesses knock on our door, and the Pope can kiss my pro-choice ass, but let’s just say the experience of existential angst humbled me, and put me in awe of the concrete results I got from practicing daily gratitude.
The idea that Violet’s imagination is so pure and willing to include a fictional poetic rabbit distributing candy is absolutely amazing to me. Now I understand all those sappy movies where the parents are trying to keep their children’s belief in Santa Claus intact. It’s so much more than just a tradition – it’s a pure state of imagination that will soon be lost forever.
A few hours later, Violet was stuffing her face with her millionth chocolate of the day. Her little brows knitted and she looked up at me.
“Mom, how come you didn’t get me anything for Easter?”