Today is the last day of school. And while most of me is wondering what the heck I'm going to do with these kids all day long for 3 months, the good-mom side of me is looking forward to having my kids back. When they start school- first grade anyway- they spend more waking time with other adults and children than they do in your own home. I've realized the last few years that my influence is now competing with the influence of other children and other adults that play a big part in their lives. So as I look forward to the next few months, I'm excited to be able to have breakfast with them instead of rushing them out the door. I'm exicted to not worry about lunch money, notes from school, homework, dance lessons, choir practice, etc. I'm excited to not have to rush around at night trying to get them in bed so we can do the whole thing over again the next day. Most of all I'm grateful that I have good kids and that my influence still matters to them- at least for the next few years anyway.
Today, my 8-year old (the oldest of 5 kids) tells me that she is wondering why the candy that the Easter bunny put in her Easter basket is the same we had in the pantry. I looked at her sweet innocent face and realized that she knew.... she knew the secret that we were keeping from her about the Easter bunny. She said, "You and dad are the Easter bunny, huh?" I nodded because I was absolutely speechless. She then said, "Same with Santa?" My eyes filled with tears and nodded again. Her eyes filled with tears and I told her why I was crying. I told her that I was sad that my little girl was growing up. She seemed to be fine with the realization that we had in fact "lied" to her all these years and she was excited to be let in on an adult secret. She said she couldn't wait for Christmas so she could help surprise the younger kids. I also explained to her while a fat man in a red suit doesn't' exist, the spirit of Santa Claus is very much alive. Then we proceeded to talk about a love note the neighbor boy gave her and her crush on him. My life as a mother changed in this one small but monumental conversation. I hope that I handled the situation in the right way- that I talked and listened to her with respect and with love- that this memory in her mind will always be a positive one and maybe a turning point in which I became more than just a physical presence in her life - I hope I became a confidant, a friend, a mentor- someone who more fully represents the word mother. And if couldn't have happened at a more perfect time. What a wonderful gift for Mother's Day.