Halloween fell on a Saturday this year. I scored some super cool free pumpkins from a guy at work. They were perfect.
I took my Martha Stewart pumpkins home and thought we'd have this Hallmark card moment where we'd all gathered around the kitchen table carving pumpkins and talking about our dreams and fears.
That didn't happen. The boys stuck around long enough to sketch designs on them and then I was left to dig out the guts, bake the seeds and carve out the faces. They turned out pretty cool.
The hardest part of Halloween this year was my oldest son telling me he didn't want to go trick-or-treating this year. He said he wanted to stay home and pass out candy.
Well that's when I flipped out. What do you mean you don't want to trick or treat? What is going on? You're not THAT old, are you?? In that moment it hit me that this might be his last year as a boy. He'll turn 13 in March and we'll say goodbye to the childhood chapter and start on the adolescent age. Oh gosh.
I am not a nostalgic person. I don't wish my kids were little. I don't dream about the days when they were young, but it was a hard pill to swallow to consider how he's growing up. Being a grown up is weird. Getting older is weird. I thought I'd be smarter by now. I thought I'd have my shit together. I thought I'd be equipped to guide young people into new things in their lives.
I have none of those skills. How am I supposed to guide children into the next step when I don't have any answers? There was a brief moment there between the ages of 6 months and 18 months in child-rearing that I thought I had parenting locked down. After that, it's pretty much been a guessing game and improv.
So it was a very existential Halloween at our house. My boys were Gandalf the Grey, a pirate and Darth Vader. They got gobs of candy. We watched the World Series game 4 when they got home. I ate the Butterfingers. We went to church the next morning and did what we always do.
Tonight we had spaghetti. The boys did their homework and one went to basketball practice. I didn't overthink it, but I know I will again. How do I explain to a growing boy that, even if he's taller than me and bigger than me, I look into those blue eyes and see all his years wrapped into one? He's excited for what's to come and I'm still trying to catch up to where we're at. For now it's spaghetti and getting them to put piles of clothes into actual dresser drawers and basketball practices and cub scouts. Pretty soon it'll be something else. Halloween can be heavy stuff.