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My life as the Easter Bunny

My life as the Easter Bunny

Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 8:00 pm
By: By Lisa Smartt

Strolling through a mall a few weeks ago, I was stopped dead in my tracks. Powerful memories came flooding through my mind as I watched a 3-year-old girl physically assault the Easter Bunny. I know. You think a 3-year-old girl doesn’t possess the physical strength to do harm. You could never be more wrong. I’m glad I’m alive to tell the tale. The bunny tale.
It was the spring of 1995. My husband and I were happily living in 480 square feet of cinder block heaven, otherwise known as married student housing at Stephen F. Austin State University. We had just gotten approved by our adoption agency and were excitedly making plans for our first child’s arrival, even though we weren’t sure when he or she would arrive. As most of you know, it doesn’t take a lot of money to raise a child well. It takes moral character. It takes tenacity, hard work, persistence. But, money? Contrary to what you may have heard, no. But an adoption is different. Adoptions do require money. A lot of money.  
We were pinching our pennies. Family members and friends were donating toward our adoption costs. That’s when the local mall manager approached us with an offer too good to be true. $1,000 cold hard cash. Unless she expected us to rob a bank or scam old ladies, we were in.  
The mission was simple. During a three-week period Phil and I would be the Easter Bunny and photographer at the mall. The pictures I take are always out of focus, so Phil would take pictures and I was left, well, with the bunny suit. When it comes to being the Easter Bunny, there are hard and fast rules, friend. The Easter Bunny doesn’t speak. Ever. He doesn’t eat the free chocolate candy (well, not much of it). And above all? Above all, the Easter Bunny is not allowed to assault small children. I mean, how hard could this be?
I learned a lot in the spring of 1995. Not about children. Not about bunnies and not about free chocolate. I learned a lot about parents. The following scenario was repeated over and over again.
A small child would scream, gasp, and kick as the parent approached me. Phil, desiring to protect his young wife, would often say something like, “Well, looks like this might not be the day for a picture, Ma’am. Maybe when she gets a little older she won’t be afraid.”
But, no. The parent would throw the horrified toddler in my lap like a shot put. “Here, Suzie. Sit in the bunny’s lap and get your picture made.”
Guess what? Scared toddlers scream at a decibel that would scare Stephen King. Oh, and that free chocolate candy? It was smeared into my pastel bunny tie while chubby toddler claws tried to rip the heart out of my chest. All the while, the parent would be saying, “Suzie, quit! Suzie, straighten up! That bunny’s gonna get you!”
But see, that’s the problem. The bunny wasn’t allowed to “get” Suzie. I didn’t even want to “get” Suzie. I just wanted the parent to “get” Suzie out of my lap and go home. I wanted someone to hand me some free chocolate.
Phil and I made $1,000 in the spring of ’95. It wasn’t easy. But the beautiful baby boy we adopted the next January? Oh, he was so worth it.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website, She may be contacted at

Published in The Messenger 4.10.13


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