I made a fatal error at Christmas time. I miscalculated the popularity of ALL photo-op Santa Clauses (at the mall and at other local Christmas hot spots), and then refused to wait in hour long lines with my six month old. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, guilt inducing photos of children on Santa’s lap kept popping up on Facebook and Instagram. Why couldn’t we find the right Santa at the right time like all those other parents? It was looking like we’d failed to secure the obligatory baby on Santa’s lap photo….
Until: My Pop came to the rescue by breaking out a Santa Claus costume in the St. Nick of time! Here is Baby Zee with his great grand father, who is dressed up as Santa Claus, on Christmas Eve. I’m not sure Zee’s first one-on-one with Santa could have been any more perfect. Knowing my family does not have easy access to an Easter Bunny costume, I knew I had to get this one right! (What is it with all the pressure to have your kids photographed with costumed strangers?).
The online invitation for our neighborhood egg hunt was sure to mention that the Easter Bunny would be in attendance for photos. Expecting to wait in a block long Easter Bunny line, we arrived one hour early and were the very first family at the park. And there was no Easter Bunny in sight. Panic. Hushed curse words. How had I fumbled the Easter Bunny picture too?!?
If not for the half dozen volunteers leisurely tossing plastic eggs into the grass, I would’ve thought I had the date wrong and hightailed it to another of the city’s egg hunts. Philip calmed me with a string of “it’s going to be okays”, and we settled in on a park bench to wait for the bunny. As I sat there in the park with my family on Saturday morning, I realized that it didn’t really matter if the Easter Bunny showed his face or not. It would be a flawless memory to share with my son someday regardless.
For you, Zee: On the morning of your first Easter egg hunt, your dad made french toast for breakfast. We played and read books and then you took a morning nap. I paced back and forth in the kitchen when you slept for longer than normal not knowing if I should wake you up because I really wanted you to get to see the Easter Bunny at our neighborhood park. Your dad laughed at me when I decided to unload the dish washer because we both knew it would wake you up. And it did! We dressed you quickly. You wore a little blue polo shirt that matched your eyes, plaid shorts that looked like pants because you had short little legs and brown sandals that your Granna bought you. You’d never worn the sandals before, and you giggled when we put them on your feet. We hurried out the front door with your sun hat and Easter bucket, and as we buckled you into your stroller — we heard church bells ringing. It was April 19th, and the bells were ringing in downtown Oklahoma City to mark the anniversary of the bombing. Your dad and I walked the first block or so in silence as the bells rung. It was a beautiful morning. Warm sunshine filtered through the large barely blooming trees, the wind blew slightly and tulips blossomed in yards and along the sidewalk. I thought about how proud I am of our city, and how excited I am for you to grow up here. When we got to the park, we were the first ones there. We put you in a park swing (for the first time ever!). You loved it. When the Easter Bunny arrived, you loved him too. You tried to eat his ears, and then you sat on his lap without being scared. We laid out a blanket near the eggs, and sat together watching the neighborhood kids get their pictures taken and then watched as they all lined up to race for eggs. They let the babies get a one minute head start on the egg hunt. Your dad helped you grab one purple egg off of a tree branch. It was an ideal morning. You’re not likely to remember it, but it is a cherished memory of mine.