Is this your
By Debra LoGuercio
©Copyright 1999, Debra Lo Guercio, all rights reserved
It was only a Halloween or two ago when
life changed while I wasn't looking, and it would never, ever be the same.
My kids had done it again -- outgrown something long before I did.
How I wish for just one more time to hide
Easter eggs in the yard or order a Happy Meal or wrap a Barbi doll and place
it under the Christmas tree. Just one more evening spent cuddled in a chair
reading "Green Eggs and Ham." All just memories now. My kids have no interest
in those things anymore.
If only you could know when the "last time"
is taking place and cherish every moment. If only a warning light would go
off and tell you, "This is it! Enjoy it while it lasts!" But life doesn't
work that way. It catches you by surprise. You set out to do what was once
a favorite activity with your kids and they inform you "that's for babies."
My daughter was in middle school when that
fateful Halloween rolled around, and I started planning our trick-or-treating
route. She looked at me as if I was speaking Japanese.
"I'm not going trick-or-treating with you,"
she declared with sudden, unmistakable pre-teen disgust.
She informed me that she was entirely too
mature for such childish activities, and intended to stay home and pass out
candy. And even if she did decide to walk around the neighborhood and pick
up a few Snickers bars or Tootsie Rolls, it would be with her friends and
not her ridiculous, embarrassing mother.
"Could I just follow along, like ten feet
"No," she snapped.
"If I don't talk to you and I pretend I don't
"No! Get over it! You're not going."
Just like that, she kicked me to the curb
like a rotting, fruitfly-infested Jack-'O-Lantern, just as her brother had
done several years before. I'd always expected such behavior from The Boy,
who only tolerated me as a courtesy once his hormones kicked in. But not my
daughter. She was supposed to stay my baby forever.
All of a sudden, I remembered the "last time"
we went trick-or-treating. She was all dolled up as a beauty queen, in a black
and white puffy prom dress from the thrift store. I even remembered my son's
"last time" years earlier, when I trailed along after him as he limped from
house to house as a disgusting bleeding ghoul.
Oh, he was so cute with all that blood dripping
from his blackened eyes. If only I'd known those would be the last times,
I'd have insisted that we trick-or-treated once more around the block, just
for the memories.
And now it was all over. The end of trick-or-treating
hit me hard. I thought back to all those other Halloweens, and the costumes
I'd made despite my limited domestic skills -- the clowns, the witches, the
ghosts and princesses. My masterpiece, however, was my son's first Halloween
costume, when he was an infant. Dressed in plain blue pajamas, with fuzzy
white socks and a fluffy white bonnet, no one was able to figure out what
he was. I was quite pleased with my own cleverness when I'd inform people
that he was a Q-Tip.
Then there was that sweet little lamb outfit
I sewed for my daughter, complete with a little bell on a yellow ribbon around
her neck. I remember her disgust, however, when she stomped in after wearing
the costume to preschool and informed me that everyone thought she was a bunny.
Well, at least it wasn't a complete failure. At least they didn't think she
was an oyster.
And all of a sudden, no more trick-or-treating.
Ever. It was the day Halloween died. No more Halloween eve frenzy of rushing
home after work, attempting to get dinner into the kids' stomachs when they
were desperate to hit the Halloween trail, no more last-minute touchups on
costumes frayed and crumpled after being worn all day at school.
No more sprinting along after my kids as
they dashed from house to house, no more Halloween loot dumped out onto the
living room floor after a hard night of working the streets, no more sneaking
a Butterfinger or two from their stash when they weren't looking. All gone.
All stashed away in memory, along with the Easter Bunny and Barbie and Ronald
McDonald and Sam-I-Am.
Last times. So bittersweet, so inevitable.
It's a sad fact. You never know the "last time" has happened until it has.
The best you can do is to enjoy your time with your little ones and treat
every time with them like it's the last. You never know -- it just might be.
Take that extra trip around the block with
your little ones this year. Years from now, you'll never remember that your
feet ached. You'll only remember their tiny, shining faces, smeared with clown
smiles and cat's whiskers, and the squeals of "Trick or Treat," trailing away
through the mist of your memories.