Welcome, Mamma Crew, to another chaotic, exciting, but always beautiful day in the life of an older mom like you!
So, Halloween! Right? Oh, let me tell you. We really enjoy Halloween. We have always enjoyed Halloween. And the funny thing is when I was a kid, we never dressed up, okay? My father wouldn’t pay for our Halloween costumes, and my mother didn’t want us messing around with other stuff to create our own. So, we never really got to participate in Halloween. So, as a result, I really enjoy Halloween with my kids. It’s always been like that. I’ve always got them outfits. We always dress up, and as they’ve gotten older, I enjoyed dressing up even more, okay?
This year I really had fun because I dressed up as one of the witches from Hocus Pocus (one of my favorite ladies), and I had Andy do my makeup, so an additional bonus this year. Anyhow, when we moved to the Caribbean, the girls and I were sadly disappointed to find out that it’s not celebrated the way it is in the United States. Not everybody dresses up. In fact, less rather than more people dress up. And for example, in the large gated community, we were living in, there are communities within the community. Out of all the communities there, only one really had a lot of Halloween activities. So, we always had to use our connections to get into that specific community, so that the girls could enjoy or get the Halloween feels.
This year we had planned on coming to Florida to celebrate Halloween. But of course, the pandemic changed everything, and we found ourselves in Florida a lot earlier than we expected. And we really didn’t know what we were gonna do. On the one hand, we have to take into consideration the safety of our family. I have an autoimmune disorder. I’m working on my weight because as a result of my accident, which damaged my knees, I put on so much weight, now I’m pre-diabetic. And I’m working on it, okay?
So, going out, taking the risk of just trick-or-treating, that was something we couldn’t do. On the other hand, we really wanted the kids to have a good time and still get to enjoy themselves. So, I have to get creative as moms often do! I mean, come on, how many times have we gotten really creative so that our kids would enjoy themselves when they were sick, or their best friends were ill, or they couldn’t go to a party. Or, in the case of my Emmi, she couldn’t eat what everybody else was eating because she has a tree-nut allergy. I have to get creative.
So, the first thing was cooking. We decided we were going to stay home, and we would do a little bit of a scavenger hunt. You know, put on little bags everywhere with candy, and the kids would have to find them, and we would all dress up, which is what we did. And have a Halloween costume party, which by the way, you guys get to pre-judge! You get to tell us which costume you like the best, and the winner will get… not to take a shower that night! It’s just bragging rights, people, just bragging rights. Alright. And so, we all dressed up.
And I try to decorate the house a little scary, you know, just spooky enough to make it entertaining, and we turn off the lights and have the scavenger hunt in the dark. Here’s the funny thing, my Bugaboo is not scared of the dark, Emmi’s not scared of the dark, Dora’s not scared of the dark. But Andy, who loves all these scary horror stuff, is scared of the dark! But we did put little lamps all over the place, these little electric candles to give a little mystic glow. And we got some dry ice; thank you, Publix, to create that Twilight atmosphere.
And of course, I spent hours in the kitchen cooking, making a special Halloween meal, mummies in a blanket that was the kids’ favorite, and spookylicious desserts, Bloody Marys! And I admit it; I kind of enjoy scaring the crap out of the kids. They did that to me all the time. When I tell them, “Wear your helmet,” and they come back home after going skating or getting on their bikes, and they did not wear a helmet. I feel like I’m having a heart attack. So, you know, giving them a fake heart attack, well, that wasn’t so bad. There’s a lot of screaming and laughing. They really enjoyed themselves. As well as a few bumps and bruises because well, we were doing it in the dark, right?
And I couldn’t help but compare it to last year when we actually had the opportunity to go trick-or-treating with friends and families. And I did get a little nostalgic. Got a little nostalgic thinking, “I wish things were like they were last year.” But you know, the thing was that after I thought about it for a few minutes, I realized no Halloween has ever been the same, okay? There were some of the Halloweens we had in Michigan where it was snowing so hard that the only place that the kids could go to get some candy would be the Halloween parade in Walmart. Or the years where it was so cold that even though it wasn’t snowing, the kids had to put on these heavy coats to go outside door to door. You couldn’t even see the costumes! I mean, Twilight Sparkle and (I forget what the name of the other one’s was, it was the pink pony) never made it outside the coat!
There was the Halloween where it was so cold! I couldn’t believe it wasn’t snowing, and someone said to me, “When it’s this cold, it doesn’t snow.” And I thought, “Oh my God! It’s too cold even for snow?! You gotta be kidding me!” But it was. And so, we ended up going to a church we had never attended (but they invited us anyhow). And they had, I mean, this thing that didn’t look so big on the outside, but on the inside, it had stairs, ups and downs, and a huge basement. And the whole community had put this thing together for the kids, and the kids went from table to table to collect candy. And you know, every time I see them, and they look so happy. They look so absolutely happy. I think this is the best time of my life, and I’m never going to forget this. And I’m going to hold on to this.
Lately, I’ve been wondering when I’m in a nursing home (no, I don’t want to live with any of my children when I get old and need care) when I’m in a nursing home, I want to have these beautiful memories. To unpack, to unfold, to share with others, to look back on when my kids are too busy to visit me, or because they have their own kids to take care of. I’m not going to begrudge on that. Instead, I’m going to unpack all those little memories.
Like the year that Dora got this huge candy. It’s a huge, huge candy, and she was nursing it all along. This was special. She was going to sit down and eat it. I think it was one of those gigantic Hershey things. That is like three… I mean, this thing was just big. And she had been nursing it, and nursing it. She was going to wait to eat it at just the right moment. It had to be that moment she said, “When things sparkled.”
I’m not quite sure what she meant by the sparkle, but I knew the moment had to be special. Right? And then she came home from school, and her daddy had eaten it. Yup, he didn’t know! He didn’t know, and since we didn’t let the kids eat a lot of candy. Anyhow, I mean, we’ve always allowed them to collect as much as they want, but then we usually give it away, okay? And he didn’t know that she’s been nursing this piece of candy. He didn’t even think about it. He just thought, “Here it is! It’s been here forever and I’m going to go ahead and eat it.” She forgave him.
But this Halloween, where everything is so different, I realized that things are still the same. I still care a lot about the kids having a good time and living through the magic of Halloween, okay? I care enough to try to do something nice for them, something that they will remember, something they will enjoy. That one day, they’re going to be telling their kids, “I remember when there was a pandemic, and my mom put candies all over the house and turned off the lights and cooked all these special meals. So, even though we couldn’t have a regular Halloween, we could still enjoy ourselves.”
And a little bit of me hopes that when they become parents, they will have those kinds of details with their kids when they will go out of their way and it’ll be their turn to go out of their way to make the Holiday special for their kids. So, how did things work out? Well, what can I tell you? I’m not the greatest cook, and I’m not the most creative of the cooks. So, somebody ended up with colored teeth. Not everything tasted delicious. Some things looked really and tasted really bad, some things didn’t look quite right but tasted really good. Go figure! And of course, we concluded by watching our favorite Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus, because well, the ladies are fun!
This year, even the dogs got into it! Last year, a little bit. This year, all three! Yup, we are the proud owners of three Shih Tzu’s. My god! Come to think of it. Sometimes I could smell like a dead man rolled over! I don’t know what it is with those little dogs. They are so adorable and so soft and just so much fun to be around and they have quite the personalities. But after about two weeks of not having been to the groomer. Ugh! They smell like death itself. So, they’ve kind of added to the ambiance. You know the dead man smell.
I think more than anything, this Halloween was more special because it’s the first Halloween with the girls as teenagers. The three of them. Three thirteen-year-old girls. And what I’ve come to realize is I don’t have a lot of Halloween’s left with them. And despite the fact that they can make life so challenging; despite the fact that I spend so much time feeling exhausted, I’m going to miss them so much when they go off to college.
And it’s gonna be so hard when they start deciding not to return home for the summer break. And it’s going to be harder still when they get their jobs and they start moving over the country. And I have three girls living in three different states. Because well, that’s usually the way it is in the beginning, isn’t it?
So, I have to enjoy this time that I have left with them — this time of childhood and magic. Because between the years, they leave me to go be independent and make a life of their own and the time when I finally get to be a meemaw, well, those years, there’s going to be many in between. Let’s just say that after the girls leave, I still get my Bugaboo for a few more years. He’ll make their departure just a little bit easier.
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