01 November 2008
Things are always changing... and my attitude needs to.
When we had been in Maine a couple of years and my children were all out of diapers but not yet teens, I wished that time could stand still. Parenting had finally become fun, everyone got along, and the kids loved doing things with the whole family.
My how things have changed.
When our youngest daughter was about 10, she was delightfully cheerful - all the time. One day she asked me if I thought she would turn into a grumpy teenager like her older brother had done. I told her she probably would, as teens seem to lose part of their brains for several years, but I hoped she would not. She told me that she, too, hoped she wouldn't become like that; in fact she promised to try very hard not to be a typical teen. I assured her that I'd love her anyway, and that I'd wait patiently until her 20s, when the lost part of her brain came back again.
Well, suffice it to say - I'm waiting now.
Those years are all gone. We live in a house full of people who look like adults and who can surprisingly act like adults at a moments notice; but who also can act like toddlers, deranged psychotics, or angels of death - sometimes all at the same time, which is quite a feat, if you ask me.
I try not to take it personally. I did tell one of them recently (I won't say who) that even if she hates me, she is required to pretend that she likes me - it's the law. I don't think she bought it, but she shaped up momentarily.
With these teen years come changes in Halloween festivities. We've always loved Halloween. It's the one time of the year that all our neighbors are out, kids can run around pretty much unattended, and everyone is buzzing with excitement for the holidays. Of course, the candy-high and subsequent sugar-hangover is also part of the deal.
Each year, since before they could walk, we've taken our kids trick-or-treating. In the early years, we took turns with neighbors; they took their kids out while we handed out candy, and then vice versa. When our son got into high school, he opted to have a party at our house, so he was able to hand out candy while my hubby and I took the girls around the block. Last year, our son even came back from college for another party, and our girls wanted to trick-or-treat... so still things were the same.
This year was totally different. Our son stayed at school and the girls weren't interested in trick-or-treating. One daughter had a party invitation, but we made her stay home because she's going to another party tonight. You know, family time trumps all, whether or not the kids like it.
We set up our fire out front and we greeted the little goblins of the neighborhood, but somehow it wasn't the same. Only one of our daughters dressed up in a costume. We had only about half the trick-or-treaters we normally have. Most of our neighbors were off at parties or away for the weekend. By 8:00 it was all over and we went inside - still with candy left-over, which is rare.
And yes, today I have the head-pounding sugar hangover. But at least winter is almost here. Frigid cold, darkness and color deprivation. THAT is something to look forward to.
I think I'll go back to bed now.
Thank God Halloween only comes once a year.
Copyright © 2008 - Paulla Estes