the day I knew I was a grown-up

I was ten or eleven years old and lived with my (divorced) single mom and my younger brother (who would have been seven-ish) and my sister (who would have been around five).

I knew the truth about the Easter bunny. And Santa Claus. And the Tooth Fairy.

In fact, I’m pretty sure I had known it for a few years by then because I was well-versed in the Easter routine: after the ‘little kids’ went to bed there was the super fun chore of hiding frilly baskets full of that rustly Easter-grass crap and candy, and making trails of candy to make them easy to find (thus eliminating any Easter morning frustration for the youngest child). And lastly, hiding any evidence (i.e. packaging) of the elaborate holiday ruse.

I woke up with the sunrise on this particular Easter morning. My brother and sister were still asleep.
My mom was also sleeping.

I tiptoed around from room to room, checking. I had to be sure because I wanted to sneak some early morning candy before breakfast(and before anybody was awake to tell me “no”).

My mom was actually snoring. She had been out the night before and I didn’t want to wake her up because she got home kind of late. Like, super late. Even after I had fallen asleep, which was like at ten at night. That’s almost midnight!

I slowly sneaked down the stairs, being sure to walk on the edges of the steps to avoid any tell-tale creaks.

There were no candy trails to be found.

Hmm.

I began a fruitless search behind couches and under blankets. Nothing. My state of alarm rose as I searched behind the T.V. I even looked in the kitchen cupboards and inside the fridge.

Still nothing. I couldn’t believe how good of a hider my mom was!

I looked in the microwave, in the toilet tank, and then just stood in the middle of the living room, scanning the landscape with my eyes, searching for any obvious signs of camouflaged candy.

It then dawned on me that the unthinkable had happened: Mom had forgotten Easter!

I scurried back up the stairs into her room.

“Mom,” I whispered.

No response.

“Maaaahhhhm”

“Hm?”

“Maaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhm”

“Hm? Whaa?”

“Maaahm, the Easter bunny never came”

It took a few seconds for this fact to dawn on her. “Uuuugh”

I realized that “maaahm” had had a few cocktails the night before and I could see in the pallor of her face that she was not feeling so hot.

“I can do it…if you want”

“Oh, hun. Thanks. Stuff’s in the cupboard above the fridge.” And she went back to sleep.

It was up to me to be the unsung hero of our home. But I had to hurry because the kids were going to be up soon.

I valiantly climbed onto the kitchen counter and pulled out dollar store baskets and packages of that retarded Easter grass. (Seriously, what is that stuff?) There were bags of tiny chocolate eggs and three large profiles of white-chocolate Easter bunnies. Hollow, each with just one pink sugar eye glaring out of the gaudy packaging.

Ew, white chocolate.

I threw everything together, found some amazing hiding places, (Under the kitchen table? GENIUS!) and saved Easter.

I went back to bed, shifting the covers noisily enough to wake the other kids up, and lay under the covers listening.

“It’s EASTERRRRRR! THE EASTER BUNNY CAME!”
“CANDYYYYY!”

At the time I was so proud of myself and felt like the ultimate child that every parent would be proud to call their own. Today, looking back, I feel scandalized. What a traumatic moment that should have been.

But it wasn’t. And honestly I’m still kind of proud of my ten year old self. Good job, me!

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