Once upon a time, I was in charge of marketing for shopping centers. What does that mean? Well if you asked my 4 year old daughter at the time, she’d say I worked in the bathroom at the mall. She was partly right since my office was next to the food court restrooms and I did make sure housekeeping kept them clean. In truth, I managed all things marketing, event and communications related for numerous malls including my first and my favorite, Columbiana Centre in Columbia SC. That’s where the bunny incident took place. What bunny incident? Oh I’ll tell ya.
It was a Saturday and I was at the mall early for our annual Breakfast with the Easter Bunny. I’d brought my young daughter with me so she could enjoy all the bunny fun. Having a mom in charge of the mall gave her a little strut too which was hilarious. So when it came time to go check on things “backstage” at the Easter bunny set, she was all too keen to go with me. She dropped her bunny craft immediately and grabbed my hand as we stepped into one of the back corridors on our way to fluff the bunny’s flower covered bench in Belk Court.
That’s when things went wrong. You might already be thinking, “Bad idea mom. Back hallway? During bunny season? Rookie mistake.” And you’d be right.
As we turned the corner, me doing my best mall manager walk and she bouncing gleefully in her spring dress, we were met face to face with the Bunny. Yep, the Bunny himself was walking back from his carrot break in anticipation of meeting 100+ kids and parents. At that moment, he chose to …ever so carefully and ever so memorably…remove his head.
In his defense, he had something to tell me, the bunny’s boss, but was not thinking about the little girl beside me. Wait. Where’d she go?
She was running full speed back up the hallway to the safety of the food court.
You can imagine the fear coursing through the veins of this wide-eyed little girl. I felt awful that day. She trusted me to lead her to do something fun and things had turned ugly fast. I explained the truth behind what she’d seen dispelling the mystery behind the bunny. It was just a guy in a costume that needed to speak to mommy. That truth eased her fear. Then I gave her a verse to repeat when she felt afraid because not only did God not want her to be scared, Easter was not about bunnies and eggs anyway. It was about celebrating what Jesus did for us on the cross so we could live forever with Him. And if He could face His fears, she could too.
“Thank you, Mommy. I’m not afraid anymore. But can you tell the bunny to leave my basket on the porch? He still ain’t comin’ inside my house,” she said in her best bossy preschooler tone.
Good call, girl. And then I resigned myself to a bit more explaining and baskets probably placed on the porch for years to come.