"How many more sleeps, Mommy?" she asked a hundred times. "How many more sleeps until Halloween?" And I would count it out and tell her how long and tuck her in and kiss her face. "I want to be Gollum," she told me. "You know the scary guy from Lord of the Rings? The one that says, 'my preshhhhh-issss' - I want to be him."
They'd talked about it for days, weeks even. They had grand plans for costumes and pumpkins and knocking on a million doors...and why shouldn't they? If the past speaks for anything, it would say: Yup, you're momma's got this covered 'cause she's a flippin' incredible creative momma and she'll make pretty much whatever your ingenious little brain can come up with.
But it snuck up. And no one had a costume and no one had a real plan and no one had even cleaned the mud off the pumpkins let alone carved them. Plus, that whole rubbermaid tote of decorations? Left untouched on a shelf in the wood-room.
Excuse me world, have you seen my JOY?
It's different this year. I feel worn and taken for granted and just plain annoyed that they all expect it. But then, why shouldn't they? - I love this stuff.
And I hate hate hate that the day came and our house looked like every other day and they looked at me like: are you broken?
So it was resorting to the costumes hanging under the stairs. It was carving a pumpkin as soon as I came through the door from work on the 31st. It was rushing through a meal of leftovers and dressing them up to look like I had cared enough and then venturing out into town in the rain and feeling...sad.
And the three of them? Thrilled. Splashing through puddles, running to doorways, calling across the street to friends they saw along the way while I fought with the umbrella and tried to keep my boots out of the puddles.
They don't hold it against me. They don't whine and shout and wish I did better. Noa was over the idea of Gollum as soon as she saw the dribbles of blood that turned her from a boring old princess to a Vampire Princess who 'sucks the blood of all the bad guys'. And the boys? They have enough candy to last until Christmas and that's really all they wanted anyway.
There's a lesson in this somewhere...
All that really matters is that I am there - present in their joy which should swell up and become my own. I need to give myself a break. Simple is enough. Everybody likes sprinkles but a donut still tastes good if it's only glazed.
Here is what I do know, my take-away from this moment of self-
loathing-doubt: I'm going to sprinkle the whose-a-what out of Christmas!