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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"After Action Report" A Post Halloween Story

It's been a few days since I have been able to get to a computer, but I had to share my Halloween experience this year.  When was the last time Halloween brought tears to your eyes?  Well, this year was one of those times for me.  I have been "flying solo" when it comes to Halloween and other events with my children for a while now.  This year was different.  My daughter decided that she wanted to go with her friend from school.  The friend's parents supervised the door to door trick-or treating preceded by dinner and ending with a movie.  I hesitated for a moment, but then decided to let her go since I had already met the parents. My daughter made a valiant attempt to restrain the inevitable eye rolling when I dropped her off at their house.  I appreciated her "tolerance" for dear ol' mom.  I admitted to the other mother (who was way cool because she is a professional make up artist and hair stylist) that I am having a hard time letting Isabella go with friends even though I know there is parental supervision.  The other mom said, "Yeah, me too." 

So Isabella was turned over to another capable mom who helped her get all "Zombiefied" for the big night.  I returned home after posting my Halloween poem on this blog, and found both sons ready to go.  They had created their own costumes to reflect favorite super heroes and were excited to get started.  The difference this year:  Their dad was able to participate with them and supervised their door to door treasure hunt for goodies.  We had been separated until our visit this summer.  This year, thanks to a glitch in our return travel plans to Georgia, the boys were able to spend time with their dad.   (See Blog Post Titles Below regarding our unexpected change in summer vacation plans.)

My role in our little adventure was to do reconnaissance and keep the van warm while the children and their father prowled the streets for houses that clearly indicated Trick-or-Treaters were welcome: Lights on and decorations such as fog served as our visual cues. In some cases, scary sounds and music provide auditory cues to beckon them forward.  I followed closely and kept the window rolled down so I could help them find their next target.  After a few houses, I could tell they were getting into the adventure of meeting people, saying their thanks, and waving good-bye.  Their father was equally happy for them.  He didn't celebrate Halloween as a child and I think it was fun for him to watch his children and their interactions with everyone.

There was a feeling of camaraderie with the people who handed out the treats.  Some neighbors banned together to create a festive atmosphere - this happened a lot with cul-de-sacs.  Everyone was friendly and I realized that this was one time of year when we got to interact with individuals we may not usually get to see.  I was so overwhelmed by the kindness of our neighbors.  That warm feeling combined with the realization that last year at this time I had been struggling to corale three children after a long day of work.  It wasn't long before I got a lump in my throat.  I thought, "What on earth is making me cry on Halloween?" 

Here it is:  It's hard to be a single mom. The expectations are high and it feels like there's never enough of you to go around.  As much as you want to believe that you are all the children need, the fact remains that they miss their dad, regardless of the circumstances.  So this year I was grateful that God has mercifully provide me with an abundance of love and forgiveness in my heart.  That has to be it, otherwise I don't know how I would make it through the many challenges that continue to present themselves for my review and resolution.  Halloween was a huge success for all of my children and for their dad.

I played a significant role in navigating through another Happy Halloween.  It seems like every year I am dragged into this celebration kicking and screaming (in my head).  But after all is said and done, I feel a sense of pride that my children 1. Become creative geniuses when we see how much costumes cost at the store.  Home made is the way to go! 2. Are pleasant, polite, and socially appropriate with the neighbors.  3. Are really pretty good at rationing their treats so they don't over indulge on day one and throw up all over the place.  4. Demonstrate a kind heart by sharing with their friends and with mom - who loves anything with caramel, coconut, or dark chocolate.  5. A bonus of post Halloween is the skill of negotiation required to trade treats with your siblings and friends.

Forgiveness is hard.  Really, honestly, truly hard.  But the rewards of watching your family weather the storms of chaos will hit home when you least expect them.  Like on Halloween.  When the weather is cold, the decorations are intriguing, the friends that surround you are comforting, and the children you love with all your being are able to share a special moment with their father - who has been forgiven.

Isabella arrived home after her siblings had completed their evening of trick-or-treat.  She looked amazing thanks to the "mom of her friend" with the artistry skills.  When I asked how it went, Isabella gushed with excitement and clearly enjoyed her evening.  Then she told me, "Yeah, my friend's mom started crying too.  She said how grown up we are getting and she couldn't believe it."  I confessed that I too had my moment of wanting to cry a little.  Wierd?  Not at all!

Hope you too enjoy the little things that add up to a whole lot of memories!  Happy November everyone!  Thanks for letting me share.

Refer to Other Posts for Back Story:
Spontaneous Moments and Unexpected Gratitude - Part I
Consequences and Resolutions - Part II
Moving Forward - Part III
Why Did I End Up Here?
Blessed Patience Rewarded