“Awwww! That’s the Babiest Bunny Ever!!!”
So said Erin on our early morning walk as the rain misted down on us and the world’s tiniest bunny huddled on the walking path.
I responded with my usual (sensitive) “He looks fine. All that fur…”
“He’s cold (you monster!)” she said.
“I don’t know babe, it’s kinda like interfering with nature?”
You know, gentle readers, there are days when it seems like my pragmatic approach to things like animals are not fully appreciated by my wife…
“Guess who I met today??” as I walk in the door and ask “Who?” should never be answered by the name of an animal. I just stand there and stare stupidly and try to shift a conversation from a “this is about people” box to “this is about animals” in my head. It takes awhile as I furrow my brow in a vain attempt to continue caring.
“You should love your wife more and care about the things that she does!!!” is what every woman is thinking. I do, I do, but I always have fifty things going on in my head and need some warning to look like I care about animals as if they’re people.
But they’re not people.
And this is where the problem is. Animals ARE people to Erin. In fact they might be more important.
Dogs and the Babiest Bunnies Ever never disagree with you and only want you to love them and give them snacks. We had a dog once that Erin said “Hey, it wasn’t too hard to train the puppy!” to a friend while I responded “True, but you feel that way because you didn’t DO anything. All you taught it was tricks. I walked it and cleaned up after it and trained it.”
“Oh yeah.” She said.
Who wouldn’t want a setup like that? It’s like having grandkids that you send home beforebedtime and after you cram them full of candy and ice cream.
You can also tell that my brain doesn’t do animals because the dog we had for years eventually morphed from a “good girl” back to “it”. My folks both grew up on a farm and animals were outside and served a purpose V Erin’s “animals are nicer than people let’s bring them inside and snuggle them even if they have diseases” approach.
After taking video of the bunny and showing it to the girls and hearing fifty “Awwww!”’s I went for another walk along the same path about twenty minutes later by myself.
How to describe what happened next….
Hitchcocks The Birds?
Magpies had found the little guy and… it was like the scene out of a movie you shouldn’t have watched and can’t forget.
Scaring the birds away was easy because I hate Magpies, but I definitely faced an ethical decision and didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t moral because the Magpies had been the very badones, but what would be “right” to do now?
Again, I’m extremely practical and am not even going to tell you what my brain considered to keep you from morally judging me, which is not something you want on your conscience. If you grew up on the farm you’ll know what I mean. If chickens only come in a box it will be best to think about rainbows and unicorns right now.
People are surprised when weird things happen and I already have a plan. I said to someone “Oh, you don’t even know some of the things I’ve prepared for…” (this said ominously sounded pretty cool at the time).
What I faced was more of an ethical thing. Let me explain…
Do I tell Erin?
Now we have this thing of No Secrets, but this is not that. When people decide for people they don’t need to know about ways they’ve hurt them that’s called keeping secrets and it never ends well, though it always ends.
This is one of those decisions that a husband and father faces that is not overly popular in today’s world of “Everybody is of equal value equals everybody has equal status equals everybody has equal access equals everybody can handle everything equally well”
This sentiment, which is all it is, is something anyone in a leadership role can ill afford.
Everyone can equally handle everything?? Insanity. No, everything I say has to be true, but I don’t have to say everything that’s true to everybody all the time.
I firmly believe that there was no right or wrong about telling Erin and my girls about this situation immediately following their emotional connection to the Babiest Bunny Ever, it wasn’t that kind of a decision. It’s very dangerous to make some decisions moral issues that aren’t, though nothing beefs up your side of the argument like a good ol’ “Serving me boiled carrots is just WRONG MOM!”. No, they’re just carrots and they taste terrible because that’s what things taste like that are good for you.
I knew that wisdom needed to be employed in the moment. Wisdom, the thing that Knowledge gets confused with? Knowledge properly employed?
Risk: destroying my daughter Neela’s day because I don’t want to share the burden of The Birds alone?
This makes sense.
Risk: possibly destroying Erin’s week because she’s so soft hearted and can’t imagine why ANY EVIL ANIMAL WOULD EVER HURT A TINY BUNNY???? (Even if she grew up on a farm).
A conundrum to be sure. I was fifty fifty until I saw the bunny’s healthy sibling huddled two feel away.
I sighed and pulled out my phone. “Erin, here’s what happened. I’ll stay here until you come if you want but you need to come now. I have to be somewhere in ten minutes.”
Erin’s soft heartedness is what makes her amazing, but there are times I have to decide for her what she can handle and when. Before you burn me at the stake you should realize that that’s what she asked me to do when we became husband and wife. Not in everything, but in some things. I can make a hard decision and not have it stick to me for the rest of my life but she is less able to do that, which is what I love about her.
Erin came out with a warm towel and a plastic container, rounded up the bunnies and took them home. She’ll probably “forget them” in my garage for awhile while she works up the courage to release them into the wild, but that’s ok.
She always did love the broken ones…