"Mom, tell me honestly." She said as she turned off the vacuum. She has a thing for cleaning. I don't make her do it. When she has down time during the day and starts to feel like she might want to stir up some trouble she starts cleaning. Yeah, I know.
I'm thinking, Uh-oh... she's been vacuuming in for a while (she even took off the cushions and did the inside of the furniture. I KNOW!), this must be serious. I hope it's not what I'm thinking... it is going to be what I'm thinking... quick... should I tell her, and if so how... quick Jami, THINK!
"Is the Easter Bunny real, or who is doing that? Is it you?"
THINK! Poker face! Get it together, Woman!
"Well, what do YOU think Sophie? Do you want to believe or do you not want to believe? Because you know what happens when you don't believe..."
Nice, that will buy me another couple seconds to decide if I'm going to lie straight to her sweet, freckled face and keep her little a little longer.
"I don't know, I just want you to tell me. Tell me the truth, please."
What am I supposed to DO?
"You want to know the truth?"
Shoot. [Insert nervous giggle]
I feel like my face is made of Jell-o and it's jiggling out of control, I can't make it do anything, and I think I'm starting to lose feeling in my legs.
Should I tell her, is she going to cry? Am I going to cry? Yes and most definitely YES.
"Because I feel like it's not real."
"Well, the Easter Bunny is real. But I am the one who puts the candy out."
Did I just say that out loud? I think she's confused. Good, that will buy me some more time to back out of this and keep her innocent. [Insert a momentary black-out]
"So YOU are the Easter Bunny?" I hear her say as I regain consciousness. She's smiling with her face, but frowning with her eyes, so I have no idea what's going on.
Do you remember that show from the 80's where the girl put her two index fingers together and it paused time? WHAT WAS THAT SHOW? I'll figure that out later, but in this moment I was wishing for that skill. So I could get my act together and handle this in a manner that won't scar her for life.
"I put the candy and everything out, but technically I'm not the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny is sort of an idea that parents help bring to life for their kids."
My giggles fade into tears.
I was just looking at her, not even seeing her in the moment, it was like I was watching the little baby version of her growing up and up and up, and out of my reach like a balloon that somehow slipped away.
"I KNEW IT!" ...and tears for her too. She sort of stomped away to a spot where I couldn't see her.
"This is a big deal, Sophie. Come here, we can talk about it."
For the next hour she asked a ba-jillion questions surrounded by long pauses. She admitted that she wished she hadn't found out, but she decided she was glad to know the truth. She was happy most of all to know that E.B. would still be showing up, and that she'd still have a fun surprise waiting for her on Easter morning.
So do I have advice for you, if this day is in your future? I'm no expert, but I highly recommend having a plan in place before your face turns to Jell-o and you're touching your finger tips together trying to pause time. What will you say when your little sweet one asks for the whole truth and noting but the truth? Are they ready to hear it? Are you ready to tell it?
This one was a little tough on all of us, I have to tell you. One less innocent childhood sparkle in her eyes, but in its place is a mark of maturity. She stands a little taller in the world.
And my personal favorite: she's gained an understanding that she can count on us to tell her the truth.