What am I seeing?
I blinked, rubbed my eyes and looked again.
The picture on my Instagram feed was blurry and awash in digital filters, but it made my nose twitch and my heart race.
Yup. That's a rabbit, alright. A cute little Lionhead bunny that looked exactly like unconditional love and overused steel wool. It's adorableness only magnified as it snuggled in underneath my daughter's chin during an afternoon play date two towns and several wifi networks away.
I knew I should never have helped start a 4-H group and this was proof. We hadn't even had our first official meeting yet and already The Other Leader's kids were posting pictures of their new menagerie member online.
That that wasn't all ...
“And we also got six chicks!” they gushed.
If I had pulled out a selfie stick, taken a picture and uploaded it to my Instagram account at that very moment, you would have seen a color-drained woman pulling out her hair in disbelief and rethinking all of her life choices.
You know … as if a picture without a sharpie-written protest sign taking up half the frame could have conveyed all of that.
My mind started roiling. I feared I might hyperventilate.
All of a sudden it seemed obvious what had happened: war has been declared on my sanity.
I quickly text my friend and 4-H co-leader. “What is this, an April Fool's joke?”
“Nope,” came the return text. “We stopped at Tractor Supply today. Kids are going to enter him in the fair.”
Of course, now my kids will want a cute and fuzzy bunny to show at the fair. And if such a thing should comes to pass, we might as well make way for chicks, pigs, pigmy goats and a pony. Zoning be damned.
I had to fortify.
I searched the interwebs for ammunition and came up empty. Oh sure, public service ad after public service ad warned of the harm that would befall the peeping chicks and cuddly bunnies when Easter was over, but they still showed the most adorable, heart-squeezing pictures.
Must. Stay. Strong.
Note to self: Shoot a public service ad that opens with a baby cooing at an adorable ball of fluff in a pottery-barn-style living room and morphs into an ugly, one-eyed rooster chasing a toddler around a yard littered with rusted out old cars and mountains of trash. Then make it go viral for next Easter.
“This isn't an IMPULSE,” argues my daughter. “We checked off 'rabbits' in the areas of interest section when we submitted our registration forms,” she adds, throwing me a sugary grin and sideways head tilt, which wouldn't fool anyone except the people with whom she shares DNA.
“And you did say once that we could maybe get a rabbit to raise for 4-H,” she reiterates with confidence since she knows picking a battle that uses the opponent's ammunition gives her a devastating advantage.
But two can play at that game.
“I know I said we might be able to get a rabbit, but that was before we adopted a second cat, who, as you know, will be lobbying for the acquisition of a bunny on your behalf for her own not-so-altruistic purposes, such as late-night snacking.”
She's unconvinced: “The cats and dog all get along, and they are supposed to be mortal enemies.”
I try humor: “Hey! Why don't we just rename the new cat Bunny and call her a short-eared, long-legged Lionhead?”
She didn't even dignify my suggestion with a response.
“Here let me give you the name of the breeder,” says Misery, the person who heads the 4-H group from which I now want to secede, and who has probably nicknamed me “Company.”
“If I could unfriend you I would.”