With every Halloween there comes the inevitable question, “What are you guys dressing up as this year?”
Asked by friends and family with utmost enthusiasm; genuinely excited to learn what fun costume ensemble my husband, my girls and yours truest plan to reveal that year. We’re assured just how much they look forward to it, every year. Last Friday, Oct 30th, my ex-husband texted, “By the way…..what’s the family theme this year?” Even he’s into it! But perhaps our last minute group effort in 2014 should have served as an omen of things to come – or to not. Yet I still didn’t see it coming when Maddy came to me and stated, “I don’t want to dress up this year. I just want to stay at home with my best friend and pass out candy.”
And so it goes, inside just a few short words, another teenage daughter plunges a knife RIGHT THROUGH HER MOTHER’S HEART!
Except that, of course I saw it coming; the rational portion of me, anyhow. After all, I’d quit dressing up at her age. Not all together, of course. I participated in whatever half-assed grease paint and/or wearing of cheap, plastic, gum-slicing fangs that my friends and I had lamely agreed upon. It’s not that I was in denial about her growing up, or that I had no idea teenagers, as they progressively teen, prefer to hang less with family and more with friends. I’ve never forgotten what it is to be her age, and I knew she’d one day outgrow our annual spooktastic fam fest– the very one she was responsible for creating at age 5. It’s merely that I thought she knew this particular holiday was IMPORTANT!
I thought she knew that the complete Halloween happiness of as many as a dozen whole people relied upon whether or not our family chose an inspired theme, costumed ourselves accordingly, and then posted photographic evidence of our glory for all to see.
I just… I just thought I’d raised her better.
It was during this crisis-of-the-mothering-soul that she attempted to sooth me, “It’s okay, mom. Just let Lily pick the theme. That’s how it all started anyway, when I was little. There were only three of us then. Just pretend it’s like back then.” And, even though it’s not like then, because it’s all very much NOW, her effort to comfort me actually worked.
But unlike 5 year old “I wanna be a devil” Maddy, and 6 year old “I wanna be Wednesday Addams” Maddy, our littlest Lily is deathly afraid of all things scary this year (more than half our usual Halloween decor went undisplayed) and she told us she wanted to be a banana.
And daddy would be a monkey. And I would be Carmen Miranda.
And so it was.
On that most sacred night of thrillsome nights, Maddy and her best friend (wearing high-waisted jean
Lily trick-or-treated as the cutest 1st grade banana of all time, and thoroughly enjoyed her parents serving as her supporting cast.
All of it working out splendidly. All of it marking the end of an era.
“End of an era.” As far as family themes go, those four words depict a fitting one for 2016 – and I ain’t talkin’ ‘bout Halloween.
But that, my friends, is another story for another time.