Most days my life trundles along feeling normal. Sometimes there are shifts which I notice, like the beginning of school, but I don’t always notice the trends in the various shifts. But life also has checkpoints, days like Halloween when I can look back through the years and see how all the little pattern shifts have carried us to a new position relative to the holiday. Time was that carving pumpkins was an all-absorbing family event where kids issued orders and I did most of the work. Today I pried lids off of pumpkins, handed over little plastic carving tools and paid no attention until Gleek and Patch summoned me to look at their finished work. Some part of me wonders if these younger two kids of mine feel the lack of a mother who is creatively engaged in the pumpkin carving process. Yet the way we handled it is perfectly in keeping with the current tenor of our lives. They made good pumpkins and all is well.
Halloween was a big deal for Howard and I when we first married. He liked playing with stage make-up and I enjoyed sewing. We had friends with similar inclinations and so there were several years of elaborate costumes. It was fun. I can flip through the scrapbooks of pictures with my handwritten notes on how the costumes were made. My enthusiasm can be read in every word. It has been years since I bothered to dress up for Halloween. The thought of dressing up still appeals, but not enough to sacrifice the time and energy necessary. Instead my creative energies are offered up on the altars of my children’s costumes…or they were. That too is shifting. Two of my kids have entered that teenage realm where the thrown together costume is often more socially acceptable than the carefully constructed one. My younger two are following suit. Halloween will change yet again. I don’t know whether we’ll circle back around to having creative energy to spend on costuming or if we’ll move onward into some new iteration of the holiday.
Later this evening I’ll accompany Patch and Gleek out into the neighborhood. I’ll be the tag along mother following behind their racing feet. As we move from house to house I will pass other parents pulling wagons, toting toddlers, or walking slowly holding a small hand. In these parents I can see my Halloweens past. Tagging along suits me right now. In the not too far future the only interaction I’ll have with trick or treat is answering the door. This middle place is a good one, but I won’t stay here long.