Sometimes the Story is in What You Don’t See

“Mommy, I won’t be shy. I’ll talk to the bunny, and smile, and take my picture,” Anna assured me as we drove to the local park for the annual Easter egg hunt and photo opp with the Easter bunny. Anna has been working on coming out of her shell (all on her own) and is proud of her new-found ability to greet new people. (To be honest, I’m perfectly fine with her shyness, which often comes out as rude behavior. She once told a strange man in Orscheln’s, “Get away from me scary guy!” That’s my girl. :-)

We stood in line for around half an hour, and she was an absolute doll. She waited patiently, swinging her basket with pastel plastic eggs inside, and admonishing me for encouraging her to eat a piece of candy. “Mommy, we have to wait until we see the bunny!” She turned to the people behind us (who we didn’t know), and proudly exclaimed, “I got to come see the Easter Bunny because I ate good!” (This was true. We threatened cancelling the trip to the park unless she ate her pancakes. I’m not sure if we would have actually followed through with this.)

As we approached the stage, Anna appeared calm, relaxed, and ready to meet the fur-clad woman in the middle of the bandshell. I handed the fluffiest baby known to man (Erica) off to my husband and stood in front of stage with camera in hand. I made sure all the settings were right, and was poised to take a fabulous photo of my girls with friendliest-looking Easter bunny I’ve ever seen. What a great photo this would be, and I could even post it on Facebook to show all of my friends that we’re a normal, happy, healthy family. (Oh admit it, you know you think this too.)

I looked up from the camera to see my husband pointing down at me. He had Erica in one arm, but where was Anna? I felt a tug on my jacket, and there she was, cuddled at my side. “Anna, don’t you want a picture with the bunny?” She shook her head no, and seemed ashamed that she’d chickened out at the last minute. “It’s ok,” I replied. “We’ll just get a picture with the bunny and baby sister.” And so we did.

The photo of Erica and the bunny is cute in its own right (thanks to the expression on my sweet baby’s face), but when I look at the photo I see what’s not there. My mostly sweet, sometimes shy toddler who just wasn’t quite ready to come out of her shell.

Bunny, baby and no big sister.

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