Two weeks ago, I dragged two three children to the grocery store for our weekly shopping trip.
After they had endured more time than anyone should ever have to endure in a Wal-Mart, I took them to the nearby party supply store that had been converted into a costume shop for the Halloween season.
Emma had known for weeks what she wanted to dress up as for Halloween. No, she assured me, she had not changed her mind. Yes, she repeated, she was sure.
It took us less than five minutes to find exactly what she wanted.
For those of you who don’t have little girls (or boys), that is the Red Power Ranger. Not the pink. Not the yellow. Oh, no, not either of the characters that are girls. We had to have the Red Power Ranger.
I’m pretty sure I can go ahead and throw out that princess dress up set I bought her for Christmas.
Devin had no idea what he wanted to be, unless they sold kits to make solar cars, in which case he would go as the guy who invented the solar car. They did not, surprisingly enough, sell solar car kits at The Party Store. (And I think he talked me into promising him a trip to Detroit as some sort of consolation. So thanks a lot, Stupid Party Store.) Instead, he and Matthew wandered up and down the aisles touching every single freaking prop, hat and pretend weapon, before deciding on a big plastic stick and some face paint.
He said he was going as A DEVIL! RAWR!! I told everyone he was going as a goblin, because what kind of good Christian woman lets her nine year old son go trick or treating as Satan?
I bet I have a Jehovah’s Witness on my doorstep by 9 am Monday morning.
I did not buy Matthew a costume, because, well, he’s not my kid. Instead I promised that he would have to hold my hand in public if he touched one more god forsaken thing.
Fast forward to Saturday, Halloween night.
I’m kind of starting to think it’s bullshit that I only get to claim two children on my tax returns.
ANYway. Jared, Hilly and I got all three kids suited up and ready to head out trick or treating. We then realized it was only 6:00 and no one else was out yet, so we made the kids sit around in their costumes while I watched last week’s episode of America’s Next Top Model. There is nothing better than Tyra Banks to get you in the mood for the scariest night of the year.
And then we went trick or treating.
Those glow sticks are for safety.
And speaking of safety, you know what is not safe? Running across the street without looking for cars no matter how many times your mother warns you not to. And do you know what happens if you insist on running across the street without looking for cars no matter how many times your mother warns you not to?
You have to walk by three whole houses while your dad holds your hand. And smokes a cigarette. And pulls his shirt up to rub his belly and say “Whussa matter with you boy? Don’t you love yo daddy?”
Oh yes I did.
And no one ran across the street for the rest of the night.
ANYway, blah blah blah, candy candy candy, blah blah blah, I want water, blah blah blah, we had Halloween here, too. The end.
We came home and let the kids sort through their candy while Jared, Hilly and I sat around and talked and laughed and compared notes on personal hygeine. We eventually put all three kids in bed and sent Hilly on her merry way, and then Jared and I went to bed. The end.
As I climbed under the covers and prepared for our counseling mandated nightly ritual of using The Dialogue to tell one another what we appreciated about each other, it struck me that all of this almost didn’t happen.
Yes, there would have been costumes. There would have been candy and face paint and hundreds of pictures and, in all likelihood, Matthew. There would have been trick or treating, and Halloween would have come and gone just like it does every year.
But when Jared and I separated at the beginning of September, the plan was to stay separated for 3 months. Which means, there wouldn’t have been this:
– which is the terribly scary haunted house that one of our neighbors puts on for free every year that I absolutely will. not. go into, but that Jared gladly took the two boys through while Emma, Hilly and I cowered on the sidewalk.
And you know, that probably would have been OK. There still would have been candy and costumes and trick or treating. And maybe Hilly would have taken two black robed boys through a neighborhood Halloween house. And, yes, Halloween still would have come and gone the way it does every year.
But it wouldn’t have been the same.
Because there wouldn’t have been this.
And there’s absolutely no replacement in the world for that.