Friday, March 30, 2012

The Disconcerting Look of the Big Eyed Bunny

    Many a child has been traumatized by the big eyed bunny who represents Easter and is known to sneak around our yards at night, depositing eggs filled with tiny candies and golden coins.  As good moms, we thrust our children upon this wily creature, somehow forgetting that even we would veer away from the false lure of chocolaty goodness if it was brought to us by an over sized mutant rabbit with craziness in his eyes.  Because fun is the name of the game,  many a community leader has donned this heavy headed costume that instantly blocks their vision and demands absolute silence.  Unable to speak words of comfort to intuitive toddlers who instinctively know this is absurd, these bobble headed creatures approach our children like walking zombies and we all smile at the great fun that is taking place.   The young man in this photo is now seventeen years old and I've seen this same look on his face throughout the years.  It is a look that says, "What the hell are you thinking?"

    I saw the same expression on his face on his first day of Kindergarten. There were toy trucks, tinker toys, and a giant dog at home, so why was he in this strange place, with me pinning the number "4" on him and placing him at a table with three big eyed girls with giant bows in their hair?  In the same fashion as that bunny from the past, they spoke no words to him.  They just stared with big eyes and bobbly bows.  He clutched his box of crayons and gave me the same "Save me from the Easter Bunny" stare.  

Even the baby knew something wasn't right
    As years moved by,  I saw this look again as I placed him on Santa's lap, on the lap of a crazy uncle, right before a series of vaccines, and when we brought home a new baby. It's a look of uncertainty, mixed with trust for the one who put you in this situation.  It screams, "Are you really doing this to me?"
   This grave look of concern can be given or received.  A young girl, who is much like another daughter of mine, was recently at church practicing her role in the Passion Play, a very emotional production about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is the real meaning of the Easter holiday and has nothing to do with big eyed bunnies.  Because children are blessed and have not forgotten how to have fun in all that they do, she was overcome with joy (and good cheer leading skills) and learned the hard lesson that one should not cheer the Arkansas Fight Song during Passion Play Practice.  I'm certain she was on the receiving end of the Easter Bunny stare with the attached message, "What the heck are you thinking, girl?"   I know God smiled down from heaven because He knows kids are kids.  But moms and dads are good at sending this look across an entire congregation of on-lookers, making even the most joyful child settle down and get back to their lines or tending of sheep.

     As parents, many of us brought this look with us into adulthood and have honed this stare into a true skill.  One eye is clenched tighter than the other and one eyebrow creeps higher on our brow as we attempt to send telepathic messages to our loved ones.  I can look across an entire gymnasium full of people and my children instantly know what this look means.  They put their cell phones down, tuck their fight songs in their pocket and pay full attention.  My mother claims she can give this look from three states away and we instantly sense we are on the receiving end of the Easter bunny stare.  An immediate reassessment of our situation is conducted and we jump back on the right track.  

  As I look back at the pictures of my children with celebrated bunnies, Santas and situations of uncertainty, I see past the looks of concern, and take pleasure in the fact that their trust in me was greater than their fear of a deranged bunny, bearded stranger or series of recommended vaccinations.  Trust is built from birth and can get us through the most concerning of times.   It allows us to face the unknown with a certainty that good things are headed our way. 

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