We got lucky during our visit to the Easter Bunny this morning. Although personal cameras are not normally allowed and the photo packages tend to be pricey, we happened to appear on a morning when the professional camera equipment was not working. The ladies running the session were extremely accommodating and said that we could still let our children visit the Easter Bunny and take pictures with our own cameras instead, if we wanted to. I was thrilled! Despite not being any kind of photographer, I am delighted that I had the chance to capture many more moments of the visit—and for free!!

Eric and Katie said hello to the Easter Bunny. This was Eric’s first visit!

Katie wanted to wear one of her princess crowns this morning because she wanted to show it to the Easter Bunny. Longtime friends and readers will perhaps remember that the Easter Bunny is more of a big deal to Katie even than Santa Claus. She has loved him since the moment she laid eyes on him at 18 months old, when as we passed by him she asked me, unprompted, if she could sit on his lap that year. She talks about the Easter Bunny all year. Putting on her special crown this morning, she said, “I share all of my secrets with the Easter Bunny.” So sweet.

A hug for the Easter Bunny…while Eric takes thinks, “Hmmmm.” 😉

So this was a big moment. I saw Katie feeling the Easter Bunny’s eyes and wondered what she was doing. I thought it was an expression of more Easter Bunny love, but afterward she took my hand as we walked to Gymboree and observed quietly of her investigation, “The Easter Bunny’s eyes were made of fabric. He isn’t real.” My heartbeat vibrated to that delicate parental string: pride because she had used the scientific method to discover factual information about her world, and poignancy, because she was growing up right before my very eyes. Then I did what every parent does when she sees her child’s great love about to be crushed by reality: I fibbed my pants off, with a little tactful flair. “Oh,” I said, “he sure seems real to me! I love the Easter Bunny! It was fun to see him, wasn’t it?”

I am not sure at all that she bought any of that, because all the way home, she kept saying, “His eyes were made of filters.” (She helps Boppa around the house a lot, so I know she was connecting the netting of the eyes with the material of the pond filter). I tried, “Well, maybe that is the way the Easter Bunny’s eyes are, sweetie.” She advanced her working hypothesis, “I thought they would be more like people eyes.” I conceded: “Well, that is a bit of a mystery, isn’t it?”

She asked her daddy, too, when she got home, explaining the situation, “His eyes were like filters.” Bill got on board quickly, and said, “Maybe that is a strange Easter Bunny. Maybe that’s how they are.”

I know now our days spent with childhood’s most fantastic mysteries are numbered; yet then again, it is only when we reach the ability to grapple with more objective reality that our true sense of magic and delicate miracle can actually begin in full. Science is a discipline of profound wonder, an art that reveals how deeply awesome and beautiful our lives in this world really are, an art that can only lead to more astonishment, wonder, questioning, and appreciation. We cannot begin to apprehend true gratitude until we fully understand our own fragility.

And in the end, despite her questions in her head about his eyes, Katie kissed him with all the love in her child’s heart anyway. We make a choice to see the magic in the things that make us wonder.

Had the professional camera been working today, I never would have had the pictures that captured this important narrative in Katie’s development. I could have written it for her, as I am doing now, to read when she is older, yet for her to be able to one day see it in process is truly an unusual gift. We got lucky today: we got pictures not only of the Easter Bunny, but of a moment when Katie’s brain began to make choices, began to grapple with what she suspects to be true and what she hopes to be true.  In this life, it will be her questions that arise from this process that will matter the most to the woman she becomes.