I spend the month before creating a witty, intellectual, and highly creative costume for Lily. She as my quirky and brilliant daughter will be in on the design. Maybe it will involve some sort of pun or a reference to a TV show, book, movie, song, that only my highly evolved family will understand. We of course will be delighted in our brilliance! I will arrive home the evening of Halloween to prepare a healthy and creative meal for Lily and her friend. It will be fun (it is Halloween after all), but nutritious (maybe even... organic!). After the meal, in which no one questions what is on her plates and asks for something else, we will get ready. While we are getting ready we will listen to campy vintage Halloween music.
We will head out walking through the neighborhood. The neighbors will be delighted by Lily's costume. She will make eye contact and charmingly thank everyone for her treats. She and her friend will skip and dash delightedly through the neighborhood. No one will be driving like a bat out of hell, and I most definitely will not have to yell at them to slow down. There will be no smoking parents swearing at their children. There will be no middle schoolers pushing my children out of the way. This is a holiday for everyone, so of course the middle schoolers will all be wearing costumes. They will let the little kids go first and compliment them on their costumes.
Afterwards, I will meet back at our house with other cool parents. We will sit our and drink local brewed pumpkin harvest beer (yeah, I know I don't drink beer, but this scenario calls for beer). Our children will sort through their candy. They will choose a handful of pieces to keep and give the rest to me to donate. They will then spend the rest of the evening playing creative board games.
This is the reality:
I drag through bumper to bumper traffic after spending the day with my adorable, but insanely hyper class. I drive through Wendy's because there is no time to make dinner. I stumble through the door weighed down by fast food bags and papers to grade. I am greeted with
"Ican'tfindmymask, thereisaholeinmycostume, and Ineedsomedeodorant"
(all said in one breathe without looking up from the TV).
I take a breathe, put down my things and counter with
"Where did you last see your mask? Give me your costume and why do you think you need deodorant? Where is Dad?"
After finding out that her armpits itch and she thinks deodorant will help, I explain that deodorant is to keep us from being stinky not itchy, and she doesn't need it yet. She does need to take more baths, but this isn't the time for that
"Give me your your costume. Well then put some clothes on. You should wear something under it. Push all of that crap over on the table so you two can eat. No don't pick up the broken printer off of the chair. Get another chair! Why is there a printer in the chair? Help me find this stupid mask!"
I look all around the upstairs for the mask and finally find it on top of a pile of laundry. Lily responds
"Oh yeah, I put it there when I trying to put a costume on the dog!"
I go downstairs to get out the sewing kit. I feel Lily breathing in my ear as she asks me
"Did you fix it yet?"
I explain that no, I did not, I was looking for her mask. I sew the costume while barking:
"Quit playing with the toys and eat your food!"
We finally get outside. I leave the bowl of candy on the porch with a nice note telling everyone to take two pieces. Lily is Spiderman and has made a cool speech bubble sign saying trick or treat, so she looks like a comic book. She get embarrassed by the sign and shoves it in my hand. We dodge the hyper non-costumed preteens and proceed to trick or treat. Lily is overwhelmed and refuses to speak, so her friend does all the talking. When trudge back to our house when her friend has to go to the bathroom, we discover that all of our candy is gone.
Once we head back out, Lily has started talking again. We chat with some neighbors and the girls end up with a huge haul of candy. When we are back home they trade candy with each other. They disappear into the bathroom and return giggling covered in fake tattoos. They finally lay down to watch a movie (after some persuading on my part). Lily's friend falls asleep, I go to bed, and Lily stays up watching TV.
Before I go to sleep, Caroline texts me to tell me that the Halloween party she and her friends planned didn't go as she thought it would. She goes on to explain that maybe her expectations were unrealistic. I know exactly what she means. The trick is to have fun even when things don't go as envisioned.