The meal at Rue 57 had gone surprisingly well, certainly better than I had expected when we first squeezed around the table with the three kids, and the diners on either side glared at us openly. My last minute decision to overrule the host’s suggestion that the kids sit together on the banquette had been nothing short of genius. I’d squeezed in between Jack and Bella instead and they’d both snuggled into me to play hangman as we awaited our meal.
I didn’t realize that they would use our seating arrangement to trap me into a vicious attack.
We were all sitting in a contented food coma, waiting for the check after a delicious meal of juicy steak and crispy fries. I was absently listening to Jack and Bella chattering excitedly about what they would be ordering for dessert from room service back at the hotel. My mind was already racing ahead to how Steve and I would enjoy our big night in New York City once the babysitter had taken charge of our sugar charged troops.
I was so unprepared for Bella’s question that I burst out laughing, the only possible response after a nice glass of Cotes du Rhone.
“Mommy, is the Easter Bunny real or is it really you and Daddy hiding the eggs?“
“…” Mouth ajar, mind racing, I drew a complete blank.
“Mommy, did you hear me? Is there an Easter Bunny or is it just pretend?“
At this point, Jack chimes in from my right, getting his little face right in mine.
“Yeah mommy, tell us the truth. Is there an Easter Bunny or are you lying?“
“Of course there’s an Easter Bunny! Why do you ask?“
“Well, someone told me there isn’t.“
“Kate and Maddie. They said they found the eggs and chocolate in their apartment last year, and their parents told them it was all pretend.“
“Oh, I see. Well, that’s because they live in New York City. The Easter Bunny only comes to houses with gardens like ours. In apartments the mommies and daddies do it.“
Bella, my tough first grader smiled broadly, “Oh good. I knew I believed.“
Jack snuggled back into me and said, “Yeah. Me too. I can’t wait for the Easter Bunny to come to our garden. We’re so lucky we live in New Jersey and not New York City.“