My daughter M, almost eight years old, has a passion for fantasy. She adores fairy tales, Harry Potter, Final Fantasy, and anything with magic and wonder. She’s always approached holidays with that same wonder.
This year, we were dying Easter eggs the day before Easter. Little A was chattering excitedly about what the Easter bunny might bring (she was hoping for bubbles and a soccer ball.) M rolled one of her eggs in glitter, saying she hoped for candy, and then said, “Its seems strange to me that a rabbit, which has no thumbs, can get inside a house and pick up eggs, when I do have thumbs and I can barely keep the eggs on the table. I mean, even if it’s a magic, pink sparkly rabbit, it still wouldn’t have thumbs. It makes no sense.” She glanced back over her shoulder and added, “Is it you?”
(I have no idea why the rabbit would be pink and sparkly. That was M’s interpretation)
“Well,” I replied, “do you really want to know?”
“Yes,” M said firmly. “I want to know.”
So, I took her upstairs away from Little A, and told her, “You’re right. It’s a game we play with little kids. It’s us.”
M laughed and said, “HA. I knew it was you.”
So, she took it better than I thought. I told her she’d still get the treats, and come Christmas time, she and I will go out together and she can choose what to put in Little A’s stocking, and stay up late and eat the cookies. My parents did this when I figured out Santa; we filled everyone’s stockings in pairs and then stayed up late to eat cookies and watch our favorite Christmas movies, Die Hard and Lethal Weapon. M is too young for the movies yet, but we can do cookies and something fun.
M was great the next day, holding Little A’s hand and helping her look for eggs, while occasionally throwing a conspiratorial wink at us over her shoulder.
Later, my husband said, “This weekend made me realize just how much M has grown up. It’s like…an era ended. She’s such a cool person, but it’s weird to think that the little girl is disappearing.”
It’s true. Yesterday, while Little A played with dolls, M worked on some science experiments, growing bacteria colonies in agar. She worked on coloring mandalas for friends, read a book and worked on a very intricate Harry Potter RPG she’s designed with her friends. She’s so amazing, but definitely, the baby is gone, and I’m starting to see shades of the adult she’ll become.
In ten years, she’ll be heading for college. I know ten years is a long time, but the first eight went so fast. Everyone said it would, but I didn’t realize how much.