Growing up I rarely lied to my parents. Sure, every once in a while I would say I was going to the movies and instead I would be drinking beer at a bonfire on The Causeway and sometimes I skipped class and failed to mention it, but I usually just told them things they didn’t want to hear.
I still do.
Part of it is that I am an honest person and I try not to do things that I wouldn’t tell people about.
More of it is that I am too lazy to remember my lies and cover up is taxing.
So – if I didn’t lie to my parents why do I constantly find myself lying to my children?
I always told myself that I wouldn’t lie to my kids, and as an oversharer I have already told them how babies are made and about caesarian sections and miscarriage and suicide and all sorts of inappropriate things. I have told them why I don’t believe in creationism. I have told them about my D in pre-algebra. I told them that I got a bus referral for yelling out the window (I was totally framed). We’ve discussed exorcism and how ghosts and aliens are probably real but house elves are fictional. I told them the literal meaning of the word “shit” and why calling somebody a douchebag isn’t nice. I told them who would be taking care of them if their father and I both die. I even told them what N.W.A stood for.
I don’t mean to say that we don’t have any secrets. They don’t know my pin number or where I stash the good candy. They don’t know I used to smoke cigarettes.
But one time Claudia asked me how far a man had to put his penis in a woman’s vagina to make a baby and I answered it as honestly as I could.
(You are welcome other kids on the bus.)
So why am I repeatedly forced to lie to them and cover up about stupid shit like the Easter Bunny?
The Tooth Fairy. Santa Claus. Fucking Leprechauns.
Why must I sneak around and hide plastic eggs? Why do I have to go to four stores to search for Easter baskets?
I don’t even believe in the resurrection. Why do I have to be liar about it?
Oh right. Because of the other kids in the neighborhood.
Or, because, like the lady in the craft store told me “Because it so wonderful when they find out the truth and they don’t know you know they know and they think they have something on you.”
Yes, deception is so charming, lady.
I hate craft stores.
And I hate lying to my children.
So what is the age of enlightenment? Six? Eight? Ten? Give it up. They are almost seven. Can I tell them now?
Because honestly, if I have to make up another story about Santa and time travel or have another long drawn discussion about how big the tooth fairy is (she was just stalling so she didn’t have to go to sleep), if I have to explain how the leprechaun isn’t going to trash him bedroom if he doesn’t QUICK! use the box that all of the operas are in while we paint behind the shelf to make a trap and console him while he cries because he knows leprechauns are real because the toilet water was green in kindergarten, I might snap.