I t is hard to believe it, but February has quickly crept its way onto our calendars and along with it, one of society’s most controversial holidays; one that brings inspiration to some but despair to others, a day that has the power to change the outcome of the days and months to follow.
Yes, I’m kidding. I mean I love Groundhog Day. Actually, here is a fun fact — up until about a couple of years ago, I thought that Groundhog Day was super legitimate. I was completely convinced that the fate of our seasons lay in the timid little paws of Sir Mr. Groundhog and if he saw his shadow, spring would not arrive at its usual time, leaving us all plagued with 6 more weeks of winter. Which, by the way, good old’ Punxsutawney Phil didn’t go crawling back into his hole on this glorious February 2 of the year of our Lord 2013, so by legend I’d say we are right on track!
Upon realizing that this legend was, in fact, a legend, and not reality, I really began to wonder why it was that I had not fallen privy to this information sooner. Because, I know, I know, you all are shaking your heads and laughing at me after hearing this admittance. Was I really just this gullible, or was it something else? Of course, not wanting to believe the former, I realized what it was. The groundhog story is a legend; a fairy tale of sorts. And fairy tales are just my forte. Still to this day, fairy tales are my favorite books, my favorite movies and my favorite stories. There is just something about being transformed into a different time and a different place that is just fascinating. Everything is so new, everything so beautiful. All you have to do is believe, and believe I did. That would be why I was 17 years old and still believed that the Groundhog Phil decided the seasons. And since I’m admitting here anyways, Phil wasn’t my only shocker to find was a phony.
**DISCLAIMER** this is a spoiler alert: If you are underage or just so happen to still receive your Christmas presents via a sled driven by Santa Claus, Please do not read any further.**
I believed in Santa Claus until the fourth grade, when I questioned how elves could make a parakeet and saw the cage box in the bed of my dad’s truck.
I didn’t stop believing in the tooth fairy until I didn’t have any more teeth to give. I even decided to test my luck with Miss Thang a few years back and put my bagged wisdom teeth under the pillow for her. The result was just me waking up to a bag full of wisdom teeth and immediate regret of that decision.
The Easter Bunny was a pretty fun one, however. It was about the time I was learning to write cursive in school, and I decided I would be super awesome and write the Easter Bunny a long essay about the true meaning of Easter. I basically gave a three point sermon and walked this bunny through the plan of salvation in my essay that I left him/her on Easter. But it gets better — I woke up the next morning, so pleased with my accomplishment of standing up to the Easter Bunny by telling him that he is NOT the reason we celebrate, that I could hardly wait to see if he had messaged me back. And he had! I found his response written in black sharpie on a balloon that was sitting on the kitchen table. It said “I know.” Well, thanks Easter Bunny.
I have come to terms with my gullible nature and that at times I have been a bit naive, but I think I would trade believing — with the possibility of being wrong — over not believing and missing out on the joy of it all any day. I learned some pretty amazing lessons from these fictional friends as a kid. Santa taught me that I was loved, that I could trust and that I had someone looking out for me at all times. The tooth fairy taught me to always be hopeful and that sometimes our pain can be transformed into something that can benefit us and the people around us. The Easter Bunny taught me perseverance (he also taught me how some people might be hesitant to hear about the Lord). And the Groundhog taught me about courage; that I should never run scared from the mark I can leave on the world.
And though they were just stories, the truth about them, the lessons learned, and the imagination they demanded, will engrave a little bit of themselves in our hearts forever.