the bunny

by humanmama on September 17, 2013

Okay, I think enough time has passed between the incident and now that I can feel comfortable telling you the story of the bunny. Or, as I like to refer to it: The Worst Birthday Present you can Give to a 7-Year-Old is a Dead Rabbit, parts 1 and 2.

(This could also be called: The One where AJ Reminds us that we Really Can Get Over Anything with Enough Time and Cupcakes.)

It was the very beginning of summer. And, since her birthday finally fell on a Saturday, Helena’s birthday day and birthday party fell on the very same day. All that Helena had asked for, this birthday, was a bunny rabbit. She had had a kind-of rough Christmas, and I really, really wanted to give her something she remembered and loved, since we were doing okay financially now and could afford something special. (Note: I know encouraging consumerism is wrong, but it’s definitely the thing that drives those Christmas economic numbers, right?!) So the day before her birthday I was looking on Craigslist and found a bunny for sale. It wasn’t close to our house, but I thought, I’ll just drive out and take a look. I won’t actually buy the bunny.

For those of you who aren’t parents? You actually think that this might be possible. And I tried to believe it myself. But when I saw him I knew it: It was over. The bunny was ours. And the thing was frickin’ adorable.

So we brought him home, kept him hidden until the morning, and at 7am sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOUUUU! And behind us was the cage, the cage holding the bunny.The cage of dreams. She was so happy.

As I said, this was the very day of her party, too, and for her party we had a special “Camp Helena” theme which required us to set up our big tents in the living room and also required having 7 other little girls sleeping over at our house. So it was craziness. From 7am until 3pm we ran around cleaning, setting up, and occasionally checking on THE BUNNY. and at about 3:30, I ran upstairs to say “put the bunny down! He needs a rest!” when I noticed that he, um, wasn’t–how shall we say?–moving. At all. He was being held but not actually, say, living the dream. Or living at all. I calmly said, “girls, please go downstairs while I check on the bunny.”

Nah, I didn’t. I softly yelled “IS HE DEAD?!” And then quickly realized I needed to remain calm. “What,” said my daughters, “what mommy? Is the bunny–” “Go downstairs and please send daddy up here. The bunny might be sick.” And that was my last second of calm for about 10 minutes.

Carpenter got upstairs and I screamed obscenities under my breath that involved the phrase “the bunny is dead” and “I think I gave it mouth to mouth” while no actual sound escaped my lips. (There were a lot of swear words mixed in. Silent ones, of course.) we looked the situation over. We decided there was nothing to be done. We had killed him with our love. He was loved to death. I cleaned up the cage and vacuumed the room immediately. it was as if the bunny was merely a dream.

We went downstairs and told the kids, “sometimes… Bunnies are older than we think… They are very fragile animals…” And, luckily, the 7th birthday party was a couple of hours away. Although we had lost a friend and potential family member, we allowed the kids to be swept up in the excitement of the party. “More cupcakes, honey?!” is not a phrase I’ve used a lot, but if that means getting over a major disaster, I’m willing to forego my normal healthy vs. junk food rules. And possibly anything else I stood for. Just to erase the image of a bunny….lying there….

So the summer passed. And the tragedy was averted. But just the other day Helena was being the best big sister ever, and I told her so.
“You are great, you know that?”
“Thanks, mom.”
“You really are. Thank you for helping me.”
“Now you really owe me a bunny, right?”


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Susan September 17, 2013 at 5:11 pm

This is a story that will be told for the rest of Helena’s life! Too funny! (A tad sad?)


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