Halloween–Go No-Go

Halloween was an odd day this year. Nothing went as planned (which may be a theme for this week). Then again, it’s as typical as any day in a busy family.

I woke up around 2 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. My sick daughter was up and made a trip downstairs for some water. Fitful sleep was all I got after that and I chose to “sleep-in” an extra half-hour instead of working out. Even so, I thought I could squeeze that work-out in after I got up and before taking my daughter to the doctor. No such luck. My older daughter informed me that her ride had a migraine and was staying home, so I pulled on a pair of shorts and a warm sweatshirt and climbed into the car with her. She drove to school and I drove home…how many more days until she gets her license? No mystery there, 31 exactly, not that I’m counting or anything (doh!).

On the way home, I was dialed-in to a long conference call and when I got home I continued on, but switched to my work laptop for the WebEx and IP phone connection. Meanwhile, I called up the pediatrician and got my daughter an appointment. Still on the call, I drove my daughter to the doctor’s before disconnecting. We had to wait quite a while…Mondays in the fall must be the busiest days for pediatricians!

Finally, we got a vague diagnosis. No strep, no mono, no flu, no virus…a throat and ear infection. Prescription in hand, we proceeded to the pharmacy. Back home again, my daughter refused to swallow the antibiotic pills. I let my boss know that this would be an all-day work-at-home thing. Three hours later, I convinced my daughter that she wouldn’t choke on the pills, but had to overcome her aversion to the bitter pill in her mouth if it didn’t go down right away. I finally resorted to giving her a little bowl with a few teaspoonfuls of sugar and a spoon…she spread the sugar on her tongue, set the pill on it, and swallowed it with some water…then had to spit the sugar out since it was “too sweet”. Lawdy.

Meanwhile, I had to attend a big negotiation meeting and had to do it over the phone. While it went well, I apparently missed seeing my opposition speechless! Oh well.  The rest of the work day wended its way through and I drove out to pick up my older daughter. By the time we got home, the trick-or-treaters were starting to trickle in.

I am not the biggest fan of Halloween, although I’m sure I was as a child. I recall that my dad would go with us and team up with my friend’s dad. They’d talk football and either take draws from their flasks, or drink hot toddies masquerading as hot cocoa. Mom, meanwhile, stayed home to pass out candy. You know who I emulated when I hit parenthood, right? Except without the booze…so much for those sixties and seventies traditions!

Meanwhile, I got a big package in the mail and so did my sister who called me when she got hers…a big stack of childhood memorabilia from our mom! There is fodder there for a few posts, I’m sure, including two or three of my earliest writing samples!

So here I sit, handing out the last of the $25 worth of chocolate candies and looking back on 19 years in this house. We moved in 19 years and one day ago. That first year we had exactly 5 trick-or-treaters. The numbers have ebbed and flowed over the years, but the next year we had our own trick-or-treater, our 3 ½ month old son. I don’t think we took him out, but by the next year he was a fearsome Simba!  Then there was the year when I watched askance as a gang of teenaged boys ripped down the street, no costumes. They’d tricked AND treated…those bad boys. They kicked in our jack-o-lanterns after my husband went inside from giving them candy.

These days, we have many more kids in our neighborhood, but most of the trick-or-treaters are accompanied by parents driving minivans down the street in slow-motion. I can’t say I blame them…they come from neighborhoods where the trick-or-treating has faded away, either from fear of violence or due to lack of circumstances. And others are here because their own communities lack this tradition due to being early-generation immigrants. But, I so appreciate it if they have at least the semblance of a costume.  My kids? Well, one is off at college and one is sick in the back room watching TV, texting, AND talking on the phone all at the same time. My older daughter is off trick-or-treating with friends…perhaps for the last time.

So, find the Joy in the Journey and the odd inspiration on an odd day.

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