This has been a big week in our household. It's been a week where I've quite literally watched my son shed his boyish innocence and walk through the door of adolescence.
I knew it was happening. He's 12 and it's been bound to happen sooner or later. But for the past year or so, he humored me by playing the Easter Bunny/Santa Claus/Tooth Fairy game. I had the sense that he saw the flaw in the logic of a tiny fairy flying around the world stealing teeth from under the pillows of sleeping children and leaving coins in return. I could see his brow furrow when he tried to process the logistics of a jolly old man covering the entire world in one night in a sleigh pulled by reindeer or a bunny that hid colored eggs for thousands of children in the span of one night. He's right- if you strip away the ceremony and folklore, these things just don't make any sense. But there really is a bit of magic in these stories and the traditions that go with them.
But let's face it. The rules of the game state that if you don't believe, you don't get the loot. And so he played along because he was caught between wanting to believe and realizing the physical impossibility of such things.
This year, we turned the page. As Easter approached, we went through the motions of coloring eggs, and I made the ceremonial mad dash through the store grabbing Easter basket stuffings. And as we colored eggs the other night, he announced that "I didn't have to hide eggs anymore and could just give him the basket on Easter morning because he knows how this works." As a parent, it was a bit crushing. The magic was gone.
And the very next day, he came home from school with one less tooth in his mouth. When he walked through the door and announced that he had lost his final baby tooth, he then asked if he could "just take a dollar from my wallet and hand me the tooth." Double whammy.
It's not that I wanted to raise a functioning adult who still believed in the magic of Santa, but it is a bit of a blow when you realize that the magic has officially left because you don't get to play that game again until you become a grandparent.
Although, I will say that there is an upside to this. 2014 will mark the first year that I get to sleep in on Easter morning and don't have to take careful notes detailing where the eggs are hidden for fear of finding one very ripe stray by smell several months later.