Written By: Traci @ My Job is Amusing
I recently discovered that my almost 3 year old daughter Caroline is in the “I Hate Mascots/Large Costumed Characters” phase of childhood. It was Easter Sunday and we decided to have a brunch at a fancy schmancy Hotel. We thought that seeing the Easter Bunny roaming around the ballroom while we ate crab legs and Prime Rib would make the whole dining experience more festive (this is how you properly celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and our salvation from sin).
When we arrived, Caroline saw the Easter bunny coming before any of us grown ups noticed him. She went ape-crazy. She ran to her Nana and covered her head in terror. Then she fell into my arms and kept stammering “That bunny coming for me mama. That bunny coming for me.” It was the saddest and cutest thing I’ve ever seen. We spent the entire meal reassuring her that the Easter Bunny would not come near her again and she could enjoy her bread and strawberries (which is all she wanted to eat at a gourmet buffet).
It reminded me of the time when I dressed up like a bear and accidentally gave a little boy nightmares and probably permanent psychological damage. This is a cautionary tale to anyone dressed up like any character at any time (OK and it’s just an idiotic and silly story):
I was about age 25 and was working at a church as the High School Ministry Director. My friend/co-worker Chad and I were doing something really important and stumbled across an old Awana Ministry Cubbies bear costume that was no longer being used. It looked like this…but was a little more worn in and I think one of the eyes was loose and slightly dangling (adding just a tinge more creepiness).
When you find a bear costume, it is a rule that you must put it on immediately just for fun. I put it on and Chad and I set off to greet people around the church (abandoning a very urgent task I’m sure).
People like seeing a random bear waving at them for no reason while they work. Especially one who does little dances or raises the roof. I know that now. I didn’t know about the whole “kids hating mascots” thing though. This was a lesson I would soon learn.
Someone said, “Lincoln is here having lunch, you should go see him.” Great idea!! Lincoln was a little kiddo who was there to have lunch with his dad who was another co-worker of mine (this was when I had no kids so all I know is that Lincoln was somewhere between the age of 2-5).
I walked up to this adorable little boy (who I knew pretty well) and when he saw me HE FREAKED OUT. Tears, panic, the whole she-bang.
I didn’t know what to do…I felt awful. I wanted to make him feel better immediately and reassure him it was OK. So my first instinct was to TAKE OFF THE HEAD.
(The entire manual of the course Mascot 101: “Don’t take off the head”)
Things got worse…chaos, confusion. More tears. I’m sure Lincoln was contemplating the following: “Why did that bear turn into Miss Traci?” “Is Miss Traci really the bear, or is the bear really Miss Traci?” “Why is that head bear head separated from the bear body?” “Where is Miss Traci’s body?”
Like I said…years of psychological damage.
I fled the scene, felt like a horrendous human being, and later apologized to his parents so profusely that they probably were tired of me. I was reassured that Lincoln was OK and survived the confusing bear/Traci experience.
So they thought.
Weeks later, Jason (Lincoln’s dad) comes into work and tells me that last night Lincoln had a nightmare. They went in to comfort him and he was muttering “Traci Bear!” “Traci Bear!” I literally was the main character of his nightmare.
And this is how my husband gave me the nickname “Traci Bear” which is still used to this day.
(P.S. I do plan to send this blog post to Lincoln’s dad who I haven’t seen in probably 7 years and make sure he is an emotionally stable 8-13 year old)