Ah Easter, my favourite holiday after Christmas, my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Canada Day.
Easter used to be higher in the ranks until the year the Easter Bunny forgot to come. I was 10 and had my usual routine planned. I’d run out to the living room before the clock struck 5am and promptly eat two of the four bunnies the Easter Bunny had left. I started this tradition when I was five. And while my mom assured me year after year that it was one bunny per family member, I was adamant it was two for me and two for Brother. This particular year though, it was none for anybody.
I got to the living room expecting to see a glut of chocolates and toys, but it was bleak—nothing but the usual boring furniture. I ran to my mom and dad’s room. In a panic, I yell-whispered, “Mom, Mom! WAKE UP! MOM! The Easter Bunny forgot to come!” In a monotone stupor, without even opening her eyes, she said, “Look under my bed.”
Slowly, I dug through the crinkly shopping bag under her bed. In there, I found a Bart Simpson t-shirt, a Slinky, and four chocolate bunnies. By the time I had gotten to the receipt, I had come to the realization that Mom was the Easter Bunny. In order to tame my grief, I sat on their bedroom floor and started eating my two bunnies.
When Mom finally properly woke up for the day, I confronted her. She informed me that the Easter Bunny wasn’t real and that Easter was really about Jesus. I started to cry. Through my tears I told her she was confused. Easter was the Easter Bunny’s birthday and we got to eat chocolate replicas of him in his honour. It was at this time Mom realized two things:
1. Her almost 11 year old daughter still earnestly believed in the Easter Bunny.
2. Her almost 11 year old daughter didn’t realize Easter was about Jesus.
How could it be that a child of almost 11 still believed in a giant bunny who hops around delivering treats? How could it also be that this same child missed every reference to Jesus, the crucifixion, resurrection, Good Friday, Lent and so on? In a grand effort to soften the blow, Mom improvised an impressive tale. She started rambling on about how it’s not that the Bunny doesn’t exist…he’s alive in spirit…he lives in our hearts like Santa and the Tooth Fairy. (This also crushed me). The Easter Bunny…Fluffy, she called him, represents new life because bunnies are so fertile…and spring, and Easter are all about birth and rebirth, hope and renewal. She gingerly wrapped things up assuring me there was room for both Jesus and Fluffy at Easter time. This finally turned my sobs into little gasps and then eventually, regular breaths.
A few weeks later, Mom started teaching Sunday School and Brother and I were enrolled full time. I was quickly caught up to speed on the whole Jesus story, but I couldn’t help but wonder when they were going to get to the Fluffy story. As the weeks and months went by, I decided to do a little research of my own.
First I looked in The Book of Jonah. I thought, perhaps, Fluffy met up with that hungry whale after he barfed up Jonah, but everywhere I looked, I couldn’t find that part of the story. Next I decided to try around that burning bush, but the only thing I found in there was an angel of God…no rabbit. And then I thought, “Ah ha! I’ve got it! The Ark! Surely to God, God made room for Fluffy on The Ark!” It turns out, no. Fluffy didn’t make the cut.
Humph…I guess he must be in The Dead Sea Scrolls or something, because to this day, I cannot find The Gospel According to Fluffy anywhere.
What’s the moral to this whole story? I dunno…probably nothing…but here’s a little advice: If you’re going to break the news to your kid that the Easter Bunny and his counterparts aren’t ‘real’, you’d better have some Kleenex and a damn good story ready to back yourself up otherwise, you’ll have a thirty something year old child using a blog as therapy due to her traumatic childhood.