The Easter Bunny used to hop through our six-room ranch back in the ’60s and ’70s, when my three children were young, just as he once did in the early ’50s in the six-family tenement where my brother and I lived when we were kids.
Easter morning my brother and I would race through five railroad-style rooms on the hunt for our baskets. We would discover solid milk chocolate bunnies that were so thick we had to scrape off bits of chocolate with our brand new permanent front teeth. Our baskets held chocolate-covered marshmallow crosses and hollow milk chocolate eggs with a peep hole that revealed a holy scene of kneeling figures made of formed colored sugar. Was it a sin to eat them? Too late — we knew we’d be sitting in the confessional to repent because their sweet bodies were already melting in our mouths.
Our bunny was a right smart bunny rabbit who trailed us from the inner city to suburbia one town over the year we moved into a six-room cape. That right smart bunny didn’t need a change of address form from the postal service or GPS.
As children, my brother and I embraced our belief in the Easter Bunny and were in awe of the Tooth Fairy who would leave a precious quarter under our pillows we could hardly wait to exchange the next day for wax lips at the corner store.
I wonder were those childhood traditions passed down to my brother and me holdovers from our parents’ own childhood? Or picked up somewhere along their way to parenthood? They are both gone, and as much as I do know about their growing up years, sadly I know nothing of their interaction with either the Easter Bunny or the tooth fairy.
Perhaps wishing I had thought to ask about the childhood “make believe” my parents’ experienced when I had the chance, seems a bit silly. Yet, how often we go to extremes to learn more about our past only to realize it was there for the asking all along.
Make believe. Do we, or don’t we?
Often parents will over think it all and begin to contemplate whether too much make believe is perhaps not the avenue to pursue for the well being of their offspring.
My brother and I continued the tradition we learned from our parents. We hid Easter baskets when our own children were very young and, as mine got older, a more sophisticated bunny hid plastic eggs filled with jelly beans. As Easters passed, the day still brought confections into the house and whether they arrived there via an Easter Bunny was not so much in question as long as there was a variety of cream-filled eggs and milk chocolate covered anything, no matter what the shape.
The doors to our house remained open to candy bearing bunnies and cash-carrying tooth fairies as long as believing still existed. The soot that clung to the sides of our chimney’s bricks never hindered the red-suited man from sliding down each Christmas. The children who grew into adulthood in our house are none the worse for having believed. Or at least, I don’t think they are.
We all too soon grow up to be what we consider responsible, sophisticated adults. Yet how fortunate are those who carry that make-believe from childhood that stimulated their imaginations and brought them into a world of adventures they alone discovered.
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