On Easter Sunday, one hour before we were going to an Easter Egg Hunt where I was asked to bring candy and eggs, my 9-year-old daughter, Delicious D, and I walked into Target.
In some ways she is wise beyond her years and in others her innocence is illuminous.
“Mommy I don’t understand. Tell me the truth”!
“The Easter Bunny is NOT real, is he?!
“There are eggs, baskets and candy everywhere! Do they think kids think the Easter Bunny actually shops? She continued…
“Ella told me Santa Claus is not real either. And Mom, I know you are the Tooth Fairy! She exclaimed, emphatically.
For whatever reason I couldn’t help but break into laughter - truth be told it was nervous laughter…
Did she really think the Easter Bunny was real? And did she forget we are Jewish? Even after years of Daddy telling her he himself wrapped her presents did she really think that a heavy set older man in a red suit along with funny looking small green people delivered them with a red nosed reindeer leading the way on a sleigh?
Quickly, I realized this was no laughing matter as Delicious D’s expressive large green eyes swelled and ginormous crocodile tears came streaming down landing atop her swollen cheek where her molars are growing in causing her great discomfort.
My baby girl will be 10-years-old this August and I will be 44. In the fall she will be a 5th grader and I will teeter the edge of 45. Wholly shit - talk about growing pains!
Along with Easter this past weekend we also celebrated Passover. I was sitting in my good friend’s back yard snacking on the delectable crispy latkes she made. Her husband and I were commiserating about work; the job I recently landed that went a-rye and a project of his that’s having its fair share of crap, too. As I looked to him for his sage advice, (he is a whole year older than me) he said, “You’ll find someone who will take care of you.”
“Take care of me?” What else did I expect him to say - he is a doting Jewish husband and father and my friend. This is the way we were raised - only years prior I opted for the road less traveled.
In the same moment their daughter, Ella, the "Santa Claus is not real", Ella ran into the backyard, sobbing hysterically.
“You can’t, you can’t, you can't give away my play-house”!
The playhouse built for her and her older brother was being disassembled and taken away in the morning.
Ella’s mom explained another family needed it more, especially because Ella and her brother never played in it, “I don’t care it’s been here, forever. Every day I go outside and see it and now I won’t see it anymore!”
Sometimes just knowing something is there or simply having a belief is all we need.
Delicious D and I stood somewhere between the empty candy aisle and the exit door as she searched my eyes for real answers. But as pragmatic as I am I wasn’t prepared to take away her innocence.
“Angelface, the truth lies in your heart - if you believe, than it’s true”. We left Target and made our way to the .99 Cent store before attending our Easter Egg Hunt.
Later that day I called my mom and shared the, “Growing Pains” story.
In doing so it became abundantly clear that it is me whose growing pains prevail. I am no sooner ready to have a 10-year-old than I am to giving up hope of having another baby and finding “the one”. Nevertheless, life happens… that baby ain’t going to!
As I tucked my little girl into bed that night she reached under her pillow to find a big blue egg filled with her favorite candy. She lunged out from under her covers, hugged me, then whispered and winked, “The Easter Bunny and I love you. Happy Passover, Mommy.