Like so many children, I believed. Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, Mr. Rogers ... all of them. And then, in the beginning of spring, a little blonde fire rocket in the third grade named Jennifer stole them all from my dreams. I remember it like yesterday. I was so innocent, minding my own business on the playground ... then like a thief in the night she crawled up behind me on the weird metal monkey bar octagon thingie that breaks hundreds of body parts and leaves bruised crotches in it's wake, daily. "The Easter Bunny isn't real," she said, flipping her stupid blonde hair aside. "What do you mean the Easter Bunny isn't real?" I asked, starting to make a fist like this little beeznatch just told me I was adopted. "Santa isn't either. My mom told me so." "Well, my mom said they're real and she wouldn't lie to me!" I said slapping her across the face. Maybe I didn't - I don't know, the rage has made my memory a little fuzzy. "She did too lie to you!" And off she went, with a stupid smug look on her stupid smug face off to destroy another child's dreams. I sat there on top of the weird metal octagon thingie and tried to ingest what she just said while simultaneously trying not to fall off to my death. Suddenly, as I sat there teetering, the memories came flooding to my mind and the reality of my parent's betrayal came in crystal clear. Like the time Santa gave me a stuffed pig I saw on sale at JC Penney. I told my mom that the elves couldn't have made the pig for me because I just saw it on clearance. Also, why does Santa's handwriting look like her handwriting? Calm and collected, she told me Santa had credit at department stores and in his busyness, asked her to make labels for the presents. And I was all like, "Ok, cool," and skipped off. She was good. Real good. Or the time the Tooth Fairy placed my tooth money under the wrong pillow. I called down to my mom in a hot panic, "The Tooth Fairy forgot me!" "No she didn't, honey - what pillow are you looking under?" "My pillow." "The one on the right or left side?" "The right one." "Look on the left side." "I did!" "Look under the second pillow on the left side." "Oh here it is! Thanks mom!" Looking back now, I can't believe I was such a fool. Then, Easter. Around the same time the previous year, I had found a stash of candy in my parent's closet. "Jackpot," I thought to myself at the time, not putting the pieces together. The same candy I stole in the closet was the same candy in my basket Easter morning. It was at that memory my world started to crumble. How could I believe a giant rabbit would break in to my home to crap hard boiled eggs all over the place and then leave a basket of goodies? I mean, how is this logical? I know I was a child, but honestly Anna - put your freaking thinking cap on! I waited impatiently for school to end so I could confront my mom on the years upon years of lies and deception. She seemed busy and distracted for most of the day, so I waited until she was engrossed in her favorite TV show, Dallas. "Mom?" "Yes, honey?" "Is the Easter Bunny real?" She paused. "Why are you asking?" "My friend Jennifer (I used the term "friend" loosely) told me he wasn't." My mom sat quietly, one eye watching Dallas. "No honey, he isn't real." I already knew it was true, but hearing it come from her mouth made all the blood rush from my face. "So," I said calmly, methodically, "I guess Santa isn't real ... the Tooth Fairy isn't real ... Jesus isn't real ..." "No, no, no! Jesus is real ... Jesus is very real. It's the Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth fairy - they aren't. Jesus is ... got it? We can talk more about it after Dallas." I crossed my arms and looked off in to the distance. I wasn't even sure if she was my real mother. My childhood was built on a house of lies, after-all ... I sulked all the way up to my sister's bedroom, who is much older than I am. "Jennifer at school told me the Easter Bunny isn't real," I told her, collapsing on her bed. My sister, still wanting me to keep the dream alive, encouraged me that he was very real and to stop being ridiculous. I narrowed my eyes. So, my sister was a bald-faced liar too. "Don't waste your time, mom already told me." I watched my sister's eyes as she searched for a response. "Well, maybe they're not actually real, but it's more fun to pretend they are so you might as well." I propped myself up on my elbows. I guess I was young enough to squeeze in a couple more years of ignorant bliss. Besides, I couldn't be THAT mad at my parents for lying to me about the Easter Bunny and all the other characters in my childhood. It was fun to believe. And, if I'm being honest, it was also a bit of a relief. I mean, the whole Tooth Fairy thing is a little creepy, right? Here I am keeping all my body parts under the covers so the monster under my bed doesn't grap one of them and now I have to fall asleep so some fairy can sneak in through my window? What if her wings start flapping and slapping my face while she's trying to lift my pillow? No, no - it's best she not actually exist and my parents just pay for my teeth outright. I did quickly discover that candy left by my mom after I went to bed wasn't as dazzling as a giant rabbit, but it tasted the same, so over-all I was cool with it. Even so, I still probably had at least two good years of believing had Jennifer not royally screwed that up for me. So if you're reading this Jennifer, you owe me an apology. I'll accept an entire box of those large Reece's Peanut Butter Eggs as an olive branch. Thanks.
Anna Lind Thomas is the Founder/Head Writer & Designer at HaHas for HooHas. Learn more about Anna in the About Us.