The other day I was thinking about bunnies; it isn’t important why, but after a few steps “down the bunny trail” I ended up here:
When I was a child (probably 10ish), I entered a “Color the Easter Bunny” contest at a local department store. From the time I was a toddler, a coloring book and crayons were my parents’ essential tools for keeping me quiet and occupied. I loved to color; I would start at the beginning of a coloring book and color every page. Later on I branched out into color-by-numbers. By the time I entered the bunny contest, I had a technique and a style: I would outline over the picture with the appropriate color for each “section” and very carefully and evenly color the sections. (God forbid I should go outside the lines!)
I spent hours on the Easter bunny for the coloring contest; I was confident that I would win. On the day the results were to be displayed, my parents took me to the store. I was shocked and disappointed that not only was my bunny not displayed, the winning bunnies were what I called “scribbled bunnies,” where the coloring went out of the lines. The Horror!
My parents (bless them) asked to see the manager. After all these years I don’t remember the exact words of the exchange, but I do remember that the manager was unsmiling and unfriendly; he clearly did not want to be dealing with something so “trivial.” He listened to my father’s case regarding my bunny and said that they thought it was “too good” and they suspected a parent had done it. Totally ignoring me, he looked into my father’s face and basically accused us of “cheating.” My patient and affable father affirmed my honesty and talent, but it was clearly a lost cause. I mumbled quietly, “I want it back.” My father related my request. “No, you can’t have it back; that’s the rules,” said the manager. He was done with this discussion; he turned around and walked away.
I felt overwhelmed with the unfairness of it all. My parents recognized that a crying child would shortly be added to the scene so they hustled me out and promised me an ice cream. (Kids are fickle…the tears melted with the ice cream.) Yet for many years this story represented an illustration of the adage, “Life is unfair” for me, and I took away from it the idea that sometimes you can work hard or even be the best and still not win. More recently, however, I began to look at it another way. My parents were supportive and fought for me; they could have treated it like the trivial thing it was…but they didn’t. That memory has now become a wonderful and amazing demonstration of my parents’ love for me. What a lucky little girl I was!