Volume 73, Number 52 | April 28 - May 4, 2004

The Easter Bunny, and other rites of parental passage

By Jenny Klion

I think I’m turning into a grinch. For the first time since Judy’s infancy, I find I’m no longer interested in prolonging certain childhood myths — the Easter Bunny being one of them — thanks in large part to the crazed energy surrounding “The Passion of The Christ” (a film I’ve not even seen). Sure, Judy’s growing up and questioning her belief system (maybe), so passing through this delicate moment might be ripe for the taking. (She insists she’s too old for the annual St. Luke’s Easter egg hunt.) But recent, rampant and frankly frightening “Fear Factor: Jesus”-type sensibilities finally helped nail my resolve to break the heart-wrenching news to Judy: there is no such thing as the Easter Bunny. Waaah!

Soon after I’d made that revelatory decision, however, and declared my intentions to anyone who would listen, one of my work superiors suggested I chill out a bit. “What’s a coupla chocolate eggs, J.?” he joked. “You think too much.” I quickly nodded and returned to my desk, where I determined that this dude was right — I shouldn’t let my own quasi-political feelings interfere with Judy’s right to celebrate. (Later, mind you, when I asked his child what he thought about the Easter Bunny, the boy turned to me and declared, “I don’t believe in any of the holiday animals.”) Nevertheless, I put myself back on the Easter track — what else was I going to do with that beautiful chocolate chick I bought at Lilac weeks before?

But as the days passed by, with no festive gifts accumulating in our communal closet, Judy must have sensed my growing discomfort with the whole shebang. “Momma,” she prodded as she pulled me towards a toy store window soon after. “Don’t you think the Easter Bunny is real?”

“Well, Judy,” I sweated. “I do believe in magic. I do. I do. But, maybe I’m beginning to wonder about the Easter Bunny….”

As if that was the craziest thing she’d ever heard, she responded, “Then who makes all those eggs and chocolates — duh — and brings me my Easter basket every year, no matter where I am? Oooh, look at that!” she cried, quickly turning her attention to a cheesy pink, plastic Easter basket in a nearby Duane Reade window.

Aaargh! Besides nixing that tacky basket in the bud, I really didn’t have an answer for her. I weakly deferred to her daddy with a quick phone call, and lo and behold: He didn’t have a problem buying her that cheesy pink, plastic bunny basket. Seemed I was off the hook at last.

Later however, I broke down and decorated a sorry little Easter bag for my precious girl, put that Lilac chocolate chick inside it, along with four fluffy yellow chicks, some fake red grass and a bunch of jelly beans, most of which I ate myself. I packed the whole thing in her overnight bag, and sent her off to stay with her more cooperative parent.

The next day, Easter Sunday, Judy (post a visit from her beloved Easter Bunny) and I reconvened at the Minskoff Theater with my mother and her boyfriend, Bub, for a matinee performance of “Fiddler on the Roof,” followed by a somewhat thematically confusing meal at a huge pork barbeque restaurant (my mother’s choice). Overall, I never did solve the puzzle of what to tell Judy about the Easter Bunny, though I have an entire year to work it out. On the other hand, maybe I do think too much.

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