Happy Easter, Mister Bunny
By Audrey W.
It was the evening before Easter Sunday and paramedic Roy DeSoto found himself wishing he didn’t have to pull duty the following morning so that he could spend the holiday with his family. But the father knew it was part of the job and had made the most of their time together the day before.
An afternoon of hard boiling eggs and then coloring them with the kids; a ham dinner with all the fixings; reading two books about the holiday to his children, one telling about Jesus and the other the Easter Bunny; and soon he’d help his wife, Joanne, prepare the baskets for young Chris and Jennifer to find in the morning.
Expecting the two kids to be anxious to go to bed so the Easter Bunny could come, Roy walked into the kitchen where he could hear them talking to their mother. Both were in their pajamas as expected, but he was surprised to see Jennifer’s Easter basket sitting on the table, a few goodies stuffed inside.
“What’s up?” Roy asked, not sure what to make of the situation. Had Jennifer and Chris stopped believing? At ages seven and nine, he hoped not.
“Oh, Jenny just wanted to get a few things together for the Easter Bunny,” Joanne explained with a wink. “She didn’t want him to feel left out if no one else thought to give him an Easter basket.”
Roy walked over to the table and looked inside the wicker container. There was a toy chickie that chirped when its wing was squeezed slightly, a little stuffed bear, and a plastic egg with paper rabbit ears taped to it at the top. A bunny face was drawn on the front of it. He recognized the toys as things Jennifer had gotten as gifts the year before.
“This is for the Easter Bunny?”
“Uh huh, an’ I even put jelly beans in the egg,” Jennifer replied. “An’ I wrote ‘im a note. Jus so he knows it’s for him. And so he knows not ta take my basket.”
The father took the note from her, and read it to himself. Dear Mister Easter Bunny, here are some presents for you. I hope you have a fun day. Your friend, Jennifer DeSoto. PS Please jus take the toys and not my basket.
Roy glanced at Chris before handing the note back to his daughter. The boy didn’t look very enthused.
“Don’t you want your name on here, too?”
“Nah, it’s dumb,” Christopher answered.
“Chris DeSoto,” Joanne began in a firm voice, “What did I tell you earlier?”
The boy sighed. “It’s not dumb, it’s nice.”
“That’s right. It’s a thoughtful gesture and I don’t want to hear you putting your sister’s idea down.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He looked up at his dad and shrugged.
Roy couldn’t help but smile. His son was learning early in life that it wasn’t a good idea to tell a girl he didn’t like her ideas, even if it was just his mom and sister for now.
“Well, I think it’s very thoughtful and I’m sure the bunny is gonna be surprised.”
“Yes, he is,” Joanne agreed. “Now how about you two get to bed so he can come later to get this surprise?”
As the four of them started up the steps leading to the bedrooms, Chris looked back toward the kitchen, then mumbled, “I sure hope he doesn’t give her some of my candy since I didn’t sign the note.”
“You want to go back and put your name on it?” Roy asked.
Determined not to go along with what he’d called dumb, the boy shook his head. “Nah.”
Roy smiled again, as he knew pride was talking now. The family continued up the stairs, and soon Jennifer and Christopher were tucked in their beds.
After an hour’s time to give the kids a chance to fall asleep, Joanne and Roy got out the goodies they’d bought and took them into the kitchen where they would prepare the Easter baskets.
“What about Jen’s? It’s full of Easter Bunny presents.”
“Let’s put that stuff in a bag and you can take it with you to the station in the morning.”
“Sure. I guess it’s a good thing I am going to work. Otherwise, I’d have to try to hide the stuff in the garage, and she might find it.”
The two parents went to work on the baskets after emptying Jennifer’s into a plastic bag. Roy then took it out to his car while Joanne put the baskets in front each child’s seat at the table and went upstairs.
Once Roy joined her, the two lay close to each other in bed. “You’ll have to tell me how it goes tomorrow.”
“Don’t worry. You’ll get a full report from them, I’m sure.”
“You’ve got a good point.”
“Did you ever think of making a basket up for the Easter Bunny when you were a kid?” Joanne asked.
“No, can’t say that I did. You?”
“Huh uh. Wonder where we went right with Jen?”
Roy laughed. “Don’t try to figure it out. You’ll be up all night.”
“Now you’ve got a good point. G’night.”
“Night.” Roy closed his eyes, content with the time he’d spent with his family. His holiday memories were already made.
The following morning, Roy arrived at work ready to pull another holiday duty. He started to get out of his car when he remembered the bag of bunny gifts on the back seat. He lifted it out and carried it into the building. Once inside, DeSoto placed the bag on the floor of his locker and opened it. He read the note from Jennifer again, then picked up and handled each toy, popping open the plastic egg and eating a couple of the jelly beans.
Roy then wrapped the gifts back up in the bag and began to get into uniform, his eyes still on the sack. Having the bunny gifts with him was like having a part of his kids there as well. Jennifer, because it was her idea; Chris, because his reluctance to participate and then doubts about his choices later somehow made him more a part of it. In any event, just knowing he had the bunny gifts close at hand gave the father a sense of being with his family for Easter.
After a couple of morning runs, Roy was on the telephone to see how things at home had gone. Each child rattled off with excitement about what they had gotten for Easter. Then Jennifer calmed down and remarked, “I hope the Easter Bunny is havin’ as much fun with his stuff from me.”
Roy thought about the gifts in his locker. “I’m sure he is, Jen. I’m sure he is.”
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