Friday, October 30, 2015

ah halloween

Most of the time, I feel like I'm a good mom.  My kids are good people.  They're raising good people.

And last weekend I showed I've still got my mom skills by getting both tiny girls to go to sleep in my arms even though their parents all insisted the girls don't believe in sleeping anymore. 

But Halloween comes around each year and leaves me feeling like a lousy mom.  It goes on and on.  The costumes.  The decorations.  The makeup.  The visits to see the grandparents to show them the costumes and the makeup.  Those visits went on and on (but I'm sure they are not so bad for my kids and grandkids now that I'm on the receiving end of the visits.)  The parties and the parades and more parties.  The candy.  Okay, I kind of like the candy. 

Really, nowadays, Jr does all of the decorating.  He looks forward all year to the party and the decorations and the scaring people.  I just get to sit back and watch him frighten teenagers and moms and dads of little kids.  I never realized how much I could enjoy seeing somebody get a good scare.  So that's good. 

But I always feel like I'm letting him down a little.  My idea of Halloween decorations when my kids were little was to stick a picture of a cartoon black cat on the front room window.  Okay, we also carved pumpkins.  And I always managed to put together costumes my kids seemed to be okay about.  I'm kind of relieved I'm not a mom today.  I don't have that creative genetic material in me that allows you to come up with great costumes once you get past the cute kitten and bunny stage.

I think Jr may be a bit disappointed that he can't get me to dress up for his annual Halloween bash.  I'm sorry for that, but costumes and I don't really get along all that well.  We don't understand each other.  I have bad history with costumes. 

There was that one time when a local radio station ran some commercials on TV for a contest where you could win money by calling in at certain times and the woman in the commercial was a housewife wearing curlers and no makeup and a housecoat with a bunch of kids around her and she'd say, please, just give me the money.  The radio station next ran a contest where if you went to the airport dressed up in a costume when the Jazz arrived, you might win playoff tickets.  So I got this great idea that I should dress up like the radio station's commercial and went to the airport in my curlers and no makeup and housecoat. 

It seemed like a sure thing. 

It was not.  Oh no.

Humiliating.  That's what that was.  No Jazz tickets and dragging my little kids through that huge airport.

I should have learned my lesson about costumes right there.  But, you know, why would I, right?

Tonight for Zumba, the instructor posted on Facebook that we should wear costumes to class.  I did not wear a costume.  There was one girl with a zombie face and another two girls dressed like kittens. 

I'm pretty sure the last time I could have gotten away with dressing like a kitten was when I was five.  But those girls pulled it off.  It reminded me of a story the drummer's wife told me a few years ago.  She said in Jr High, they were supposed to dress up like fruits or vegetables for Halloween--maybe it was for a party, maybe school, I don't remember.  Anyway, she came up with what she thought was a great idea, dressing as a particular vegetable like an eggplant or something?  All of her friends dressed like kittens.  She pointed out to her friend that they were supposed to dress like fruits or veggies.  Her friend pointed out that boys don't like clever girls.  They like cute girls.  And girl kittens are cute. 

Sigh.  Those girl kittens at the gym tonight were pretty cute.  But still.  Costumes are so tricky.

There was the time a few years ago when we were invited to a singing party.  A singing party.  But somehow in my mind, I got it confused with a costume party.  It was not for Halloween, but amazingly, I found a great costume that went along with the singing we would be doing.  Neither Jack nor Jr had a costume.  But I did.  A great 1970's maxi dress.  No mistaking it for anything I'd have worn after 1980.  But wear it I did, to that singing party.  Can I tell you what it feels like to go back to a Jr High nightmare when you're in your 50's?  Perhaps you can imagine.

So.  Costumes.  Not for me thanks.  You simply can't trust them.  They can go so very wrong in all kinds of ways and you could find yourself in the huge airport in curlers or in a 70's maxi dress at a singing party.

So.  Sorry Jr that I don't love Halloween as much as you do.  But you get it.  The costumes.  The decorations.  The excitement.  Me?  I totally get the candy.  And the laughing off my fool head when teenagers and parents of little children are terrified by you and your antics. 

I love that Jr loves Halloween as much as he does.  I really love that he has a job that pays well so he can buy all of the incredible decorations he loves.  I love that he has a fog machine and robots and tombstones and skeletons, lots of skeletons, and things that make scary noises when you walk by them.  I love that he and Jack have made a life-sized coffin and a witch that stirs her cauldron.  I love that his friends come over and he is the director of the decoration placement all over the front yard.  I love hearing kids scream and other kids say he made them cry last year but they're back for more.  I used to worry about the kids whose parents kind of forced them to come get candy from the bowl up on our porch, but nowadays I realize that being scared a little when it's really safe may be a good thing for kids because they see they can do somewhat hard things and be proud of themselves (and get lots of candy).

I tell myself I'm a good mom for supporting Jr's love of all things Halloween. 

But me?  I'm looking forward to getting out my apron (my own form of comfortable safe costume) and using one of my best mom skills by baking pie.  After all of the Halloween chaos, I look forward to the easy as pie, calm part of autumn that is November, which gives me a moment to catch my breath before the chaos that is Christmas, which Jr also loves, second only to Halloween.

Sorry Jr.  But did you hear we're going to have a big snow year this year?  No costumes, just deep white powder and that crunchy slippery surface we both love.  It's coming as soon as we get through Halloween.

No comments: