When I come home from work, I am usually greeted with choruses from both children.
"Mom! Geoff spilled milk all over the kitchen and didn't clean it up and I had to!"
"Mom! Jessica sat on me!"
"Mom! Geoff keeps letting the dog lick him in the mouth and that is disgusting!"
"Mom! Jessica sat on me AND poked me with pencils!"
"Mom! MOM! MOM!!!"
Today it was different. Today I came home to absolute silence.
Jess was working in her room and I could hear Geoff playing with the out of tune First Act guitar that Jess got for Christmas when she was 10. It only has 5 strings because, well, one of them broke and I don't know how to replace it. He still plays it, and sings, and writes songs... I suppose tuning it would be a good idea.
After about 15 minutes, Geoff calls out to me and has a question. So I go into his room and see him. He doesn't look happy. Geoff very rarely makes eye contact, but he was looking right at me and was very earnest when he asked "Mom, if you hid a basket of candy in the house for me, would you say it was from you or that it was from the Easter Bunny?"
Oh God. No.
"Why do you ask, honey?" questioned I.
"Jessica told me that you're the Easter Bunny. I don't believe her."
"Please wait here a second," replied I, heading in the girl's direction to speak loudly with her.
I honestly thought by now Geoff would have figured it out. See, the boy is 10. And he still believes in all of these things. Easter Bunny, Santa, Tooth Fairy... Jesus. Wait, I believe in the last one too, so before you get sarcastic on me, let it be known. I don't think Jesus is a myth, or like the Great Pumpkin. So let's just put that one aside.
I like that Geoff still believes these things, even at his older age. But right now, today, this afternoon, after rushing home from an insane day at work to deal with all the stuff I need to do to get us out the door for my aunt's funeral tomorrow, I didn't want to have to face him and try and explain that yes, I am indeed said Easter Bunny.
I ripped into Jess, and asked what she was thinking.
She said that he was bothering her all day about Easter Baskets and how he'd be found if we were at a hotel this weekend. He wouldn't leave her alone and she snapped.
She just yelled at him, and told him. He didn't believe her, and she said "Fine. Ask mom when she comes home!"
I wanted to throttle her. I know Geoff can be annoying, but one does not need to blow up his childhood in one fell swoop.
Returning to his bedroom, where he sat waiting for an answer, I filled him in. I told him that yes, I am The Easter Bunny. And I asked him if he could figure out who ELSE I was.
Okay, yes -- who else?
"A parent to more than one child?"
Obviously you're missing the connection, kid.
"If I play the role of Easter Bunny, who else do you think I play the role of? How about Santa and Tooth Fairy?" (but not Jesus).
"That's not possible!" He went on a tirade about how it was literally impossible for me to be all those things, and for him to not know it.
Funny how it's not possible for me to be Santa and The Easter Bunny, but it is possible for Santa to fly around the world in a magic sleigh and deliver toys to children on all the continents on the planet. Or for a rabbit to hop around and deliver baskets to children all over the globe. Or a little fairy to fly in at night and replace hidden teeth with some cold hard cash.
These things make more sense to him than me being the person that gives him the presents, the chocolate, or the quarter.
All these years I fooled him by writing differently. That's what he based his belief on. He knows what my handwriting looks like, so I would write in block letters or fancy script when I left presents "from" the entities.
I didn't realize tricking someone could be that easy. Who knew?
We talked for about 20 minutes about how parents everywhere do this, and that it is part of the role we play.
We trick because we love. We want them to believe in a little magic in an otherwise brutal world. And that I was sorry if he was hurt by my lies.
I asked him if he was mad at me, and he said he wasn't, but he STILL doesn't quite accept or believe that this is true.
I do not believe that I satisfied him in giving him my answers to his questions. I do not believe my explanations were clear as to why we do this. I really think that he is going to hold onto this for some time.
He is in his room right now singing a song that he wrote about the Easter Bunny. And I know he is not singing about me, but that mythical being, that lop eared doofus that hides eggs. That lie, that ruse, that trick, that little part of his childhood which is now lost and gone forever.
Bye Geoff's childhood. Been good knowing you. Here we go onto adolescence, and all that that implies.