Amazing Kids! Magazine

Rebecca And Her Bunny

By Lizette Gutierrez, Age 15, California


In line for the big, flying elephants, otherwise known as the Flying Dumbo ride, Rebecca starts to get dizzy from standing in the 97° heatwave overcoming Disneyland today. She looks down at her “Happy Birthday” pin on her plain black shirt, looks to the left of her and spots her mother looking at the pin too. Her mother leans down and whispers in her ear, “What a way to spend your 11th birthday, huh?”

Rebecca does not answer, and instead just holds her unnamed bunny to her chest harder, closes her eyes, and starts listening to the world: the little boy next to her on his mother’s chest crying, the two teenagers behind her talking about the cute worker, and the happy tunes you can hear while the ride is going. She does this when she gets claustrophobic, shy, irritated, sad, or really any negative feeling or emotion she tends to get. As Rebecca and her mother finally get on the flying elephant, the ride starts to speed up. Rebecca starts to feel very happy and free, a feeling she only ever gets on rides like this, like she doesn’t have to worry about the world. She sets her bunny on her mother’s lap, opens her arms, and closes her eyes. But this time she’s not doing it because she’s scared, she’s doing it because she feels like no one is watching.

Her mother knows how much Rebecca loves her unnamed bunny, but she feels as if Rebecca is too old for it, this a 4 year old obsession she has. Rebecca carries the bunny everywhere she goes, and she cries if she leaves it at home or if her mother takes it away from her. Her mother thought this was unhealthy of her and, a couple months before, decided to take Rebecca to see a therapist and see what her real issue is and what causes her social anxiety. After a couple of sessions with this therapist, he said that she holds onto the bunny because she feels as if she didn’t have much fun as a child, that she didn’t do many childish things because of the constant moving and new schools, which was also a reason for her anxiety.

The therapist suggested, “Take her to an amusement park soon to give her a break from the rest of the world and to try to have fun with childish things for once.”

So a thought entered her mother’s head: How about Disneyland? Her birthday is coming up in a month; I can take her out of school for a day and take her there.

So a month later, on August 23rd, here they are on the flying elephant, her daughter having this instant feeling of freedom and the mother having a sigh of relief that the daughter is having fun. After about 4 more child’s fairy-tale rides they head over to Space Mountain. Rebecca is thinking how she didn’t know she could handle this much fun, and her mother is looking at her and seeing a smile on her face that she hasn’t seen since Rebecca was a baby. As she is in line, with a churro in one hand, a soda in another, Rebecca realizes she doesn’t have her bunny.

“Mom, where is she? Did you leave her there? Where is she?!” Rebecca starts to tear up as she asks. Her mother takes off one strap from her backpack, unzips it and takes out the bunny. As relieved that Rebecca is, her mother lets out a sigh of sorrow, kind of disappointed. She thought Rebecca was actually starting to become independent and would have fun without her bunny. Rebecca finishes her churro in time for the seat counting of the ride.

“How many?” the worker says. Rebecca freezes and just stares at the man, speechless.

Her mother then answers, “Just two.”

“Line 3,” the worker directs them. As they walk over to the assigned line, Rebecca’s mother realizes that Rebecca is not only shy, but she also cannot talk to people at all, and that her social anxiety is greater than she imagined.

As they get on the ride Rebecca places the bunny inside the pouch in front of her and puts on her seatbelt. With the biggest smile she has had on her face all day, she says with full appreciation, “Thank you so much for taking me here today. This is the best birthday gift anyone could ever have.”

“Anything for you dear.”

As Rebecca faces forward back in her seat, her mother starts to cry tears of joy and starts to think that this was the best decision she could have made to help her daughter. As the ride goes off, Rebecca cannot think of a greater happiness she has experienced, and her mother is happy to see her acting like a child.

When the ride is over, they both decide to go eat at the snack bar next to the Star Wars stage and watch the performance. They run out of the ride and to the snack bar in as quick as a minute. Rebecca gets a big burger and fries and her mother has half of Rebecca’s burger because she knows she never finishes. As the seats around the performance start to get really packed from everyone wanting to watch the “Skywalkers” have a battle, her mother starts to worry that Rebecca might start to have a panic attack and want to leave the table. Rebecca doesn’t; instead she is so fascinated by the performance that she leans over to her mother and asks, “Can we go to the souvenir shop for Star Wars? I want to get something to remember this performance.”

Her mother nods and lets out another sigh, relieved that Rebecca is having a good time. Rebecca can’t lift her eyes off the performance of Darth Vader and Yoda’s battle, the sound of the light sabers, the way they were moving, the wisdom that would come out of Yoda’s mouth. She eats it all up in her mind, so excited to see what happens next.

After the show, they head to the Star Wars souvenir shop, and the first thing to catch Rebecca’s eye is a Star Wars pin for the pin collection necklace she has around her neck. She already has Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas, Minnie Mouse, Rodger Rabbit, Dumbo, Lilo and Stitch, and Tinker Bell. She turns to her mother and puts on what she calls her “puppy dog eyes” face. Her mother responded with, “You know that look has worked for me since you were 5, but if I hear a ‘please,’ I might be as generous as to pretend that that look worked on me.”

“Will you please get me this pin, Mother?”

Her mother takes the pin and heads to the cash register. Rebecca is so excited to get this pin. As her mother gives it to her, she asks Rebecca, “Do you want to go on the Star Tours Ride? For once all day, the waiting time is 10 minutes.”

“Beat you there!” Rebecca says as she runs off. They end up at the front of the line when again, they end up next to a worker who asks, “How many?”

“Two!” Rebecca answers with a wholehearted smile on her face.

“Line 4,” he directs them. Her mother is shocked to see her answer the man, compared to before when she was too shy and stood there quietly. As they stand in line 4, Rebecca opens her mother’s backpack and is surprised to see her bunny not there.

“WHERE IS SHE?” Rebecca almost screams.

“Your bunny? Oh honey, you never gave it to me,” her mother replies.

“I left it on Space Mountain! Oh no, MOM! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?”

Rebecca’s mother finally has a chance to free Rebecca from her bunny. But the look on Rebecca’s face kills her, so she answers, “We’re about to go on the ride, so how about after, we head over to Space Mountain and see if they have it?”

Rebecca calms down and agrees. After Star Tours Rebecca has so much fun she almost forgets about the bunny. But then she looks over to see Space Mountain, now closed for the day.

“Maybe it’s for the best,” her mother says.

Rebecca is so upset she runs off. Shocked, her mother then starts running after her, bumping into people and almost tripping over strollers. Rebecca runs all the way to Fantasyland, her mother far behind. Rebecca then runs into a princess named Cinderella.

“My deepest apologies, little girl, are you okay?” Cinderella asks.

“No, I lost my bunny, my best friend,” Rebecca frowns.

“Well, why do you need this bunny?”

“She helps me relax. She helps me talk to people and get over my fears.”

“But, young lady, you are talking to me right now and I don’t see your bunny anywhere.”

Rebecca looks up at Cinderella and is speechless.

Cinderella keeps going, “You see, I used to think that I needed the help of my fellow bird friends to help look and feel better, but once they were gone I realized I can do it on my own. Don’t you think it’s time to do things on your own, without the bunny, like a true, strong princess?”

Then her mother approaches them. “Rebecca, you can’t just run off like that,” she says with her hands on her knees, out of breath.

Rebecca just looks at Cinderella, “Thank you Cinderella.” She then runs up to her and gives her a hug.

“Of course my fair lady,” Cinderella curtsies.

Rebecca gives her mother a hug and then says, “Can we go on It’s a Small World?”

Rebecca’s mother is shocked. “You don’t want to find your bunny?” she asks, confused.

Rebecca shakes her head, holds her mother’s hand, and leads the way to the ride.