Donna Smaldone
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Tuesday / December 06 / 2011

When enchantment is threatened

But… how can the Easter Bunny REALLY get to every single house in just one night?”, she inquired, enunciating every single word, her chocolate eyes peering at me from beneath a furrowed brow.

She sat cross-legged beside me on the bed and gazed just beyond me, pondering this question of life. Her Shirley Temple curls tumbled across her forehead as she turned her head toward me with a perplexed expression, pleading for some clarity.

My baby sister, circa 1980

My baby sister, Debbie (circa 1980)

My baby sister was approaching eight years old and the magic of Easter wasn’t lost on her. However, the magic of the Easter Bunny was quickly losing ground.

Being the dutiful big sister, forever in love with this baby girl, I assured her there was indeed an Easter Bunny – and concocted a plan to prove it.

As Debbie helped Mom in the kitchen, I went to work.

Moments later, I tore down the stairs into the kitchen with a contagious excitement.

“Come quickly!”, I begged Debbie, helping her on with her snow boots [yes, we had snow at Easter!!]

We approached the snow-covered lawn with sharp-eyed attentiveness.

“LOOK!”, I exclaimed, as Debbie’s eyes took in the marks in the snow, her jaw opening as widely as her eyes.

“Are those… tracks!?”, she implored.

“They MUST be!”, I remarked, suggesting we follow where they lead.

When we reached the mailbox, Debbie squealed, jumping up and down, grinning from ear to ear as she recognized her name on the envelope. The letter was personalized. And was signed, “The Easter Bunny“.

At least one more year, I thought to myself as a smile enveloped my face. At least one more year.

Fast-forward to Christmas 2011. Baby Sister now has two babes of her own, and recently posted the following on Facebook about her eldest, Lainey, who is approaching eight years old:  “This may be the last year for the big man in the red suit around here… so far Lainey’s told me, “but how does he REALLY get to all those houses? I’m not sure I believe that… well, maybe he has helpers.” Then tonight, she tripped me up with, “I thought Santa Claus WAS actually Saint Nicholas” when I said Santa was based on St. Nicholas…. uh oh… I really hope she holds on for at least this one more Christmas!!!”

Why is it so important to keep the magic alive when the enchantment is threatened? Why do we want so desperately to keep the allure flourishing?

Allow me to suggest it’s the gift of family, a love which cannot otherwise be explained. I call it good “Mama”-ing.

Hold on, Lainey, sweet love. At least for one more year.

11 responses to “When enchantment is threatened”

  1. Julie says:

    My almost 15 yr old daughter still protested last Christmas Eve when I still made her go to bed before the presents went under the tree (“But MOM! I KNOW it is YOU!!!)… but, it was really a feeble protest….. even though she “knows”… she still enjoys that magical moment on Christmas morning seeing the pile of gifts under the tree and the stockings so full that they can’t even hang on their hooks. It is difficult to keep the magic alive… kids on the bus are saying “Santa isn’t real!!” But somehow, we manage to sooth the tears and convince the young ones that magic is still possible. Let them believe… help them believe!!! Crumbs on the cookie plate with drips of milk on the table… and notes on the back of the Christmas lists that the kids pinned to their stockings… (all in capital letters of course, so they can’t decipher my penmanship!) Childhood will be over soon enough, stretch it out for as long as you can!!! <3 Julie

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you for sharing, Julie. I feel like I’m there with you and your babes.

      There is always magic in the air, for children of ALL ages (glad I’m included in that). Now let’s remember to breathe it in!

      Love,
      Donna

  2. Elaine Racette says:

    I remember that day as if it were yesterday. What a loving and nurturing sister you were and still are. I love you with all my heart, Donna.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Awww… I knew you’d remember that story, Momma! You’re the best Mom, and I love you with all my heart!

      Love,
      Donna

  3. Debbie says:

    <3 I remember it too!! You are the BEST big sister and I see so many of your admirable traits in my Lainey Bear with Caroline. Love you so much!!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      awwww… I love that! I also find it so interesting that your baby girl is going through her questioning phase at the same age you did! <3 I love you, Baby Sissy!

      Love,
      Donna

  4. Carrie says:

    Your post brings back a memory for me…
    At the time, my son was elementary school age. One Christmas season, I was tucking him in bed and saying good night, when he asked me if Santa was real. He said some of the kids at school were saying he was not real. I quickly ran the options through my head trying decide what was the best thing to do. …..if the kids at school didn’t believe anymore, and he still did, they would tease him…. if I tell him….. the “enchantment” will be over. I didn’t want the reality of either of the choices. Hoping to save him pain, I chose to tell him….. he immediately started crying, he was so disappointed. I felt terrible and thought… what have I done, he will never believe me again! Geezz that “Mama” stuff can be really hard sometimes.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Indeed, Carrie, that “Mama” stuff can be hard! There is no manual! And I agree, it’s hard to find a real “win” in the world of enchantment – but one thing is for certain, our children know we adore them, and for that – I commend you!

      Love,
      Donna

  5. Julie says:

    My response to my young children when they questioned whether or not Santa was real because of kids talking… was that, if those other kids don’t believe… Santa will not bring them gifts… If YOU believe… he will bring gifts to you. 🙂 It is so hard to decide when to break it to them!!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      You’re right, Julie, it is difficult to determine “when” is the best time. I think for each parent and for each child, it varies. My advice… go with your heart!

      Love,
      Donna

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