Because I have a six year old boy, Halloween descends upon me like a storm of lightning and fire and mayhem that I even though I see it coming, I don't see it coming. Because my little world doesn't do it like we did when we were kids, there are more than one events to choose from besides the official "real" night of trick or treating. On the 30th we went to the downtown shindig that our local town throws. Hundreds of kids parading around in thin costumes through icy temperatures up and down the main street, stepping into warm storefronts for seconds at a time and collecting candy bars. Seems like everyone is giving out the "good stuff" anymore, as opposed the select few. Butterscotch's are a thing of the past, which would disappoint my dad greatly if he were around to rifle through my son's pumpkin. (I can't even say paper bag...as that has changed too.)
The next day....or the "real" Halloween started a day long adventure. We were headed to our old town so we could attend a birthday party for my best friend's son's birthday part on November 1st. I figured we might as well go the day before and then we could trick or treat around my old neighborhood where I had spent many a Halloween walking up and down the bumpy brick sidewalks. We spent the afternoon with my friends who arranged my art show that I just did, and H. got to play with their bevy of six kids. I guess this is where the exhaustion set in. ;) We followed that up with actual trick or treating on the said 'ol stomping grounds, spent the night w/ my sister and her little daughter. We woke up to standard time and a fabulous huge breakfast and a beautiful day. I raked leaves for the sole purpose of the kids being able to jump in them and play. A perfect Fall day. That evening we went to the birthday party at the local gym/playground thing and H. jumped right in to the festivities of playing with ten little boys that he didn't really know, save one. He's not shy, my boy. Though I'm not sure what the kids thought of him. I could tell some of them warmed up to him quickly...but one or two were put off by him a bit. It made me sad to think that the way we are as humans can start that early in life. That too has changed. Or perhaps I wasn't aware of it when I was little. I remember that kids made fun of the way I laughed when I was little. And I can tell that H. has a strikingly similar laugh, and that the kids don't quite know what to make of it. Perhaps because he is a boy he is not as sensitive as I was? Only time will tell. As an adult I still, strangely wince when someone tells me how great they think my laugh is. Because for some reason, as adults, people seem to like it. Maybe because they don't hear laughter as much any more. Exhausted, we drove home, listening to the new Muse album, which H. now can sing the first couple of songs with full gusto, slightly off key in a six year old kind of way, and filling my heart with joy.
I am telling you this because the weekend was about H. The joy of getting handed more candy then a mommy would ever hand out to her kid in a full year. (my sister was completely aghast when I reported that I let H. do what I had always done when I was a kid...which was come home that first night, dump all the candy out into the middle of the floor, and eat as much if it as I wanted. Try it sometime...it's freeing.) Dressing up in silliness, whether store bought or put together by hand. The joy of seeing friends dressed up, peering at them to recognize them. Halloween is one of the main, simple joys of growing up a kid in America. It is also my favorite brother's birthday. (okay, so I only have one brother...)
But now there is an undercurrent that was not there before, when I was a footloose and fancy free kid. There is a constant running sadness the lingers in and out of my days around Halloween that will never go away. It catches me in the throat when I least expect it. And H. doesn't comprehend why my eyes will suddenly fill with tears. I am a good actress and I put on a brave front, but at some point, I take a breath and wish most heartily that my father was still alive. Sometimes it is hard to believe that he is watching over me, or around me, or in a world that I simply can't see. Sometimes I wish that he had just died on a normal day... a day that had no attachments to it already. Dia De Los Muertos was probably one of my father's favorite celebrations...he loved all things Mexican, and tequila once upon a time. So it has seemed fitting for the past nine years to note that he left this physical world on November 1st. But for some reason it always just wings by me...in the rush to make sure that Halloween is all that my little boy could want.
Perhaps today I will build a little altar. I don't have any beer in the house to leave. Besides it would have to be Milwaukee's Best anyway. Royce still smokes on occasion though...so there might be a cigarette I could find and place there. I loved my father so much. I wish everyone could have known him. I will miss him until the end of my days. And I dearly hope that I will see him again.