Monday, November 25, 2013

8 Years Ago Today

It's Motherhood Monday. Today Jen Kehl of My Skewed View joins us with what I think is a perfect post for the week of Thanksgiving. We don't all become mothers in the same way, but the love we feel sure is the same...unconditional and never ending. We are forever thankful for that love.
Jen Kehl is a mom, writer, homeschooler, maven of music, self-proclaimed sensory processing disorder expert, food allergy pro, photographer, controller of chaos, John Cusack aficionado and all around interesting person who refuses to put herself into any one category (because that's boring).  Jen Kehl shares what is important to her in the blog My Skewed View, Tweets about pyromania and other antics on Twitter and for things about antics that are more than 140 characters look for her on Facebook. She also shares her love for music at Raised On The Radio.

Blistering heat. Like nothing. Not like back when I lived in the armpit desert that was Mesa, Arizona. This is oppressive, heavy, impossible to move. This is Plano, Texas.
Unpacking a car full of too much. Too many diapers, too many onesies, too much baby stuff. But how could I know?
In two days our baby boy will be born. In two days plus two more we will have to bring him to this hotel room, with all of this stuff, live here for two weeks. With no one to help. No one.
A combination of nerves and more nerves have made me the skinniest I’ve ever been. I will be the envy of all new moms when I get home. They will say, “Wow! He’s only 3 weeks old? You look amazing!” If only you knew. The innocent things people say.

8 years ago today. 8 years ago – my boy – my gift from God: My gift, through the most amazing woman ever, came into this world.
We were all so scared, we were all there for each other. We were scared.
Who knew where things would go? How could we know we would all be one big family?
He didn’t want to make his arrival on August 9, 2005, but he had no choice. And so one emergency cesarean later and my beautiful boy was in this world.
I didn’t come to motherhood like so many. I came through phone calls, letters, visits. I came through the glass window, watching, heart racing, scared. But my heart was exploding. Exploding with love for a baby boy I had dreamt about, a baby boy God promised me, a baby boy on the other side of that glass. I wanted to hold him and comfort him. I needed to remind myself he wouldn’t remember the prick on the heel the cold of the scale. I watched, I waited, they gave me the look and he was mine.
We met in a hospital room, you were so teeny tiny and despite reading every book on the planet about babies and parenting for the last 10 months to simulate pregnancy, I was not prepared.
Once they handed you to me, I never put you down. Only when they made us go home at night. I worried for you so much that I couldn’t sleep or eat. Had I given birth to you I wouldn’t have slept at all I am sure. As soon as we were allowed back in, I went to the nursery where we had matching bracelets. And you were in my arms again.
I loved you so much. I thought my heart would explode. I was a bundle of raw nerves and love. I held you in my arms every minute. The nurse often offered to take you to the nursery for your nap. I refused. I loved you too much. I was afraid it was too good to be true. I wanted you to know I would never leave you.
Now you are 8. You are 8 today and you made a wish on your impromptu birthday cupcake that your mommy and poppy would always love you. You don’t know what to do when I cry tears of joy, so I didn’t do it today.
I hugged you and I told you your mommy and poppy would always love you, we would love you forever. In classic Isaiah fashion, you told me you saw a movie called Love and Death where the parents stopped loving their boy.
Not EVER I said. Not ever.

Happy Birthday Baby Boy….

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ten Reasons You Will Never Sleep Like You Did Before Kids

The other day as I stood bleary eyed watching my coffee brew  I drifted off into a daydream. I started remembering the mornings before kids. The get up on your own time Saturday mornings, the roll over at 9am on a rainy Sunday and wake up feeling completely rested.  They say your brain doesn’t function properly if you don’t get enough sleep. Well I can tell you my brain hasn’t functioned properly in 5 years, 5 months, 8 days and 10 hours. As I came out of my daydream I realized just how poorly my brain was functioning as I watched my coffee brew all over the counter and onto the floor because I never put the mug under it.

  If you have ever been in a conversation with a group of parents you have probably had a conversation based solely around the topic of sleep. As parents it seems to be the thing we all obsess over the most. We talk about how tired we are, how little the baby slept the night before, how the older kid was up with a stomach ache and the middle kid was up from a bad dream. We ask each other about it. How old was little Johnny when he slept through the night? What time do your kids get up in the morning? Is it still dark? Does Suzy try to sleep in your bed ever? It seems that once you become a parent the nights of long, beautiful, uninterrupted sleep are long gone but are they really? Yes, YES THEY ARE so grab some coffee (don’t forget the cup) and read the ten reasons you will never sleep like you did before you had kids.  


1.      You brought home a beautiful newborn. They are trying to make up for nine months of being in utero. They don’t want to sleep in fear that they will miss something earth shattering. When they realize nothing exciting is happening at 3am they will decide they will be the excitement. Thank God for 3am Law and Order reruns.

2.      Your adorable baby is desperately trying to crawl. Did you know that reaching a milestone like this can cause your FINALLY SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT baby to wake up crying, frequently throughout the night? Yeah I didn’t either until my Dr. told me that’s why he was waking up.  Apparently I have over achievers who are still trying to accomplish things in their sleep.  I may have spent the whole next day showing him how to crawl so we could jump up and down, applaud like raging lunatics and hopefully get some sleep that night.

3.      Teething. I’m telling you I have never thought teeth with more overrated than I do now. I watched my kids eat food with just their gums and I’m pretty convinced we don’t really need teeth.  I mainly feel this way because I want to sleep and teething gets in the way.

4.      Leaky Diapers. There is nothing worse than waking up to a crying baby or toddler only to walk into the room at 3am and get hit in the face with the smell of urine. It’s 3 am and you now have to change your baby’s diaper and the crib sheet which is essentially like wrestling an alligator in a small cage. Trust me the alligator wins every single time.

5.      Colds. I don’t know about you guys but when I’m sick all I want to do is SLEEP. When my kids are sick though all they want to do is get up all night long.  I inevitably wind up sick when they are better. I mean of course I’m sick I got a total of 3.2 hours of sleep in one whole week. I also look 10 years older.

6.      Monsters are under the bed. Well if we’re being honest the monsters are in the bed but you have to check under the bed and in the closet to convince them that it is all clear and they can safely close their eyes for the next 8-10 hours, which they apparently hear as minutes and will call for you to tell you that.

7.      They need water. I don’t know what my kids are doing in their sleep to work up such a thirst but I’m starting to suspect they do some type of sleep aerobics.

8.      They heard something, and you are not allowed to leave their room until you decipher exactly what that something was. Just blame the dog and call it a night.

9.      You are foolishly in the soundest of sleeps only to wake up to a kid 2 inches from your face. It only takes one time of this happening for you to sleep with one eye opened for the rest of your existence.

10.  Kids have endless energy. Those mornings of easing into the day have been replaced with waking up like a shot out of a cannon.


So 5 years, 5 months, 8 days and 10 hours into this whole parenthood thing I have finally accepted that I will never sleep like I did oh say 7 years ago. I have also become pretty good at knowing what the necessities are for surviving; coffee, coffee, and more coffee.  I’m also secretly planning my revenge for when my boys are teenagers (can you say trumpets at 6am)  so that keeps me going all while continuing to hunt down the person who first said “I slept like a baby last night.” Because they either a) were an idiot, b) never met a baby c)  have a baby that needs to teach every other baby on the planet how to sleep. If I find them I will let you know. Until then stay strong my friends.

Monday, November 18, 2013

This Is Motherhood

This week NotSoSuperMom is joining us with her take on Motherhood, She was the mother of two and was surprised to find out she would be the mother of three. In her own words her blog is "a not so prolific blog about whatever I feel like, regarding my not-so-super and totally self-deprecating parenting." She's pretty super if you ask me, and I'm sure you will agree. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter and of course read more on her blog Confessions of a (Not-So) Super Mom.

This is Motherhood.

The other night I was getting The Geel into her pajamas when she grabbed a comb and insisted on combing my hair.  I sat obediently on the floor and watched her concentrated expression as she tried to "tame my tresses," which are so short she basically just kept shoving the comb into my hair, twisting it around and yanking it straight up.  I just stared at her face and a million thoughts ran through my head:  how I hadn't really wanted her, how I had to teach myself to stop thinking about what should have been, how I tell her constantly "I love you" in what began as an effort to convince myself that I really felt it MORE THAN I felt like we made a huge mistake, how I can't imagine my life without her even though that was not the case for a long time, how she is SO sweet and loving and clever and embodies joy.  Every.  Day.  I found myself crying.

I cried that cry that comes over you when you feel the unbridled and overwhelming love of parenthood.  I cried that there were days that I denied myself that feeling for her and I cried that I can finally; honestly say that I no longer think about the life we would be living without her.  Somewhere along the line, I have discovered that there is no "we" or "us" without her.

Now, I don't mean to cheapen this moment, because it was (for me) somewhat profound.  I had spent a lot of days thinking about the things we would be doing if The Geel wasn't here; and to be still for a moment, watching her just be and realizing that I couldn't remember the last time I'd had those thoughts, was a pretty big moment for me.  But the reason the title of this post came to mind was what happened in the next moment.

I wiped my eyes, took the comb from her and pulled her to me to hug and squeeze this beautiful little creature that had just unwittingly overwhelmed me.  And then I was unwittingly overwhelmed by something entirely different:  the stench emanating from her rear.  While it was obvious what the issue was, it occurred to me that while I was basking in this motherly glow, crying simultaneously with small regret and great joy, that my gorgeous, wonderful, joyous baby girl was simultaneously combing my hair and dropping a deuce.  I found myself laughing.

For The Geel, it was just another moment in her day filled with snacks and sippy cups, whining and tears, toys and baby dolls, giggles and silliness, and many, many hugs and kisses.  Nothing profound or momentous for her--just something to do, something to explore.  A comb.  Mommy's hair.  Another dirty diaper along the way.  Babyhood.

And so this is motherhood:  Overwhelmed by something profound, then the moment passes.  Overwhelmed by something so much more pedestrian but requiring no less attention--and as that moment passed I was simply thankful that I had stopped to let her comb my hair before I had changed her diaper and put on her pajamas.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Time To Give Thanks

It’s November and while I am not a big fan of Daylight Savings Time (please kids stop waking up an hour too early!!), the trees becoming completely bare, and the temperatures inevitably becoming cooler by the day; it is the month that brings my all-time favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.  Sure I am a fan of the all mighty Christmas season but there is just something about Thanksgiving that has always made me happy.

Perhaps it is the simplicity of the meaning behind Thanksgiving, or maybe it’s the way it brings family together, and of course the delicious meal we share with said family is a pretty great part of it too. Whatever it is, I know that Thanksgiving is nothing if it’s not about traditions. Everyone has their own traditions when it comes to celebrating Thanksgiving. Ever since my first son was born I have been making cinnamon buns on Thanksgiving morning. My husband builds a fire, and we watch the Macy’s Parade. I love everything about that morning.  It is our time to press the pause button on this crazy life and enjoy quality family time.

 My family started a tradition years ago of going around the table each year and stating exactly what it is we are thankful for. The table has grown over the years which of course in and of itself is something to be thankful for. Each year there is always someone who makes us cry, makes us laugh, or announces something amazing. Some of us are long winded (raising my hand in the corner) and some of us are short, sweet and to the point. We eat, we laugh, we take pictures that we will look back on one day, and we enjoy being together. We go home full, tired and even more thankful than we were that morning.  I feel lucky every year that my 87 year old Grandmother is there. She is able to share in a meal not only with her children and grandchildren but with her great grandchildren as well.

To me Thanksgiving is a day to think about others, to appreciate who you have not what you have. It is a day to reflect on the year behind us and look forward to the one ahead of us. It is a day to tell people you love them. It is a day to surround yourself with those you love, toast to each other and say thank you. It is a day to pull back the reigns, slow down, and enjoy the simple things like sharing a meal with loved ones. SCREEEEECH that’s the sound of big name retailers trying to put a stop to all of that tradition nonsense. I’m sure you are all aware that stores like Kmart, Target, Macy's, and Toys R’ US to name just a few all plan on opening on Thanksgiving. That’s right Thanksgiving, the day you are supposed to be thankful for what you have not go out and buy a bunch of crap you don’t need.

Not only does this anger me but it makes me sad. It makes me sad for the people who are employed by the companies, and it makes me sad that there are people who want to spend Thanksgiving night out at a store shopping. Listen I get the whole Black Friday thing, I don’t do it, but I get it. I know plenty of people who have made Black Friday a tradition with friends and loved ones. I know people who get every ounce of their holiday shopping done on that day and to them I say good for you. You got the sales you wanted and completed your shopping all in one day. I do not however get the need to go out on Thanksgiving Day and shop. I just don’t. If you watch all these big name retailers’ holiday commercials they don’t show consumers rushing off to their stores, no sir. They show families and friends gathered around beautifully decorated tables, eating and laughing. They show children playing a game of football in the yard and the family pet sniffing around the kitchen. They show everything they do not want you to actually be doing. Instead they want you to forget about all the traditions. They want you to tell Grandma you have to leave early. They want you to tell the kids Thanksgiving is over before it has even really begun. They want you to rush through your dinner so that you can be in their store spending your well earned money on a bunch of stuff that you don’t need.
The worst part is retailers treat us like we are a bunch of idiots. It's called Black Friday, not Black part of Thursday into Friday. They want you to believe that they are doing this for YOU. They are opening their stores because they care about YOU. They want YOU to get the best deals. They want YOU to get the hottest items, and if YOU don't come out right then and there well you can just forget it. These items will never be available as long as you live. They create a frenzy. They make people believe they need these things so badly that to stay home seems more ridiculous than heading out on a holiday, in the cold to wait on a line with 1500 people all wanting 1 of 400 televisions available. People fight over these things. They physically fight with one another. In the end the retailer doesn't care about YOU. The retailer cares about their bottom line.

Listen I may not know a whole hell of a lot but here are a few things I know for certain.  When your day comes and unfortunately it will come for all of us, no one will stand up at your funeral and say I remember that time he got such a great deal on a flat screen on Thanksgiving. Your obituary will not read survived by two IPods, one laptop, a flat screen and the best darn Blue Ray player this side of the Mississippi. It just won’t. Instead your life’s accomplishments will be listed, your surviving loved ones will be listed and in the end those accomplishments and people are our legacy. We can’t take all the other crap with us and it certainly won’t matter once you’re gone just how good the deal was on any of it.

The traditions you create now are the ones your children will remember for life. I’m not quite sure that you running off in a frenzy to get the best deals are the memories you want to give them. Maybe you eat early,  maybe you don’t have a very big family and your Thanksgiving is simple and by 4pm you have given all your thanks so going shopping doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. The thing is it is a big deal. It’s a big deal for the employee who had to skip making the two hour drive with her family to Aunt Betty’s because she wouldn’t make it back on time for work. It’s a big deal to the employee who isn’t sure if his wife will be around next Thanksgiving. It’s a big deal to the boy who is sitting home wishing his dad could have told stories by the fire like he did the year before. It’s a big deal, a much bigger deal than the one you are getting on your big ticket item.

You see there are so many better things to do on Thanksgiving night than shop. You could take your family to a shelter and help feed the homeless. You could go to the hospital and visit the children’s floor and bring a smile to all the kids faces. You could visit a nursing home and tell some jokes or sit with the old man in the corner and let him tell you all about Thanksgiving back in his day and how he had to walk 5 miles uphill in the snow to school. You can sit around in your favorite room, with your favorite people and laugh until you cry. You could do all of these things and at the end of the day you can look around, take a deep breath, and feel ever so Thankful.  In the end the retailers will all be there tomorrow.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mamas in Afghanistan. It Could Work

Today is of course Motherhood Monday but it's also Veterans Day. We are lucky to have Vikki Claflin of Laugh Lines here sharing a wonderful story about her son Jake, and lets just say I can't think of a more fitting day for her to share it. This piece was originally posted on her blog back in July.
Vikki is an author, humor blogger, public speaker, and former newspaper columnist. She can be found in "Life Well Blogged, Parenting Gag Reels," available at Vikki has also been regularly featured on Erma Bombeck's Writer's Website, Better After 50 online magazine, and Generation Fabulous. Vikki writes, in comedic sit-com style, about coming to terms with middle age, and she laughs as hard as we do. So pour the wine, grab your Spanx, and check her out at Laugh Lines!
You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

As summer rolls forward, it seems everyone’s talking about family vacation plans, including plans to send young offspring off to theme parks, famous campgrounds, and animated wonderlands with grandparents, giving moms and dads much-needed breaks to be adult couples instead of parents for 2 blissful weeks out of the year.
When Jake was 6, we were living on Maui and my parents lived in Oregon. They called that summer and announced that they wanted to take Jake to Disneyland in California. After much discussion on the best way to get Jake to them, my mother informed me that she’d already called the airline, and they said Jake could fly without either parent, as an “unaccompanied minor.”
Say whut?
He’s 6, Mom. SIX. As in “years old.” Not only that, he was small. So I’m looking across the room at my small child, with his Hawaiian-style shaved head and little round glasses, looking like an adorable tiny Harry Potter, and she’s going on about him getting on a 747 by himself and flying to Portland.
“It’ll be fine,” she insisted. “They assign a flight attendant to him, and he’s never left alone. She’s responsible for him the entire way. Besides, it’s a direct flight. We’ll pick him up in Portland.”
After another several minutes of debate, with Jake jumping up and down, repeatedly and happily yelling “I’m going to Disneyland!! I’m going to Disneyland!!” I put down the paper bag I was wheezing into and agreed to hand over my child to some unknown flight attendant, trusting she wouldn’t inadvertently send him to Botswana, resulting in a massive, worldwide child-hunt, followed by a made-for-TV movie called “I Gave My Child to a Stranger and They Lost Him. Bad Mommy.”
Jake and I went to the airport, where I filled out the 8-page, triplicate forms, attached to copies of his birth certificate, my driver’s license, and a list of emergency contact names of every single person in 3 states and 2 countries that he was related to in any way. Jake was beside himself with excitement about traveling “all by himself,” and I was a teary mess. “Don’t worry,” the flight attendant smiled, “We haven’t lost one yet.” Yet?? OMG. Several minutes later, I put my only child on the plane and cried all the way home.
He had the time of his life.
Two weeks later, as I was anxiously waiting for my baby to get off the plane, armed with the 30 pieces of ID required to take a child out of the airport, I finally saw his smiling face, and the thought briefly crossed my mind that he looked older. More confident. More young boy than small child. But as I was trying to process the changes in my son (could this trip have actually been good for him??), I instinctively burst into relieved tears that he made it and was safely home where I could see him.
Completely oblivious to the commands of the attendants to “Stay behind the yellow line, ma’am. BEHIND THE YELLOW LINE,” I rushed forward, bent down and grabbed my child in a full-body mom-hug, crying uncontrollably, while assuring him he was missed every single day. (Yeah. It was every 6-year-old’s worst nightmare. Being mauled by your sobbing mother. In public. That would no doubt come up in his therapy years later, but I couldn’t stop myself. My baby was home.)
Usually, when you pick up an “unattended minor” at the airport, the ID requirements are intense. No simple driver’s license will do. The legal ramifications of letting someone walk out of the airport with the wrong child are the stuff zillion dollar settlements are made of, and the airlines are determined to avoid this mistake at all costs. So at the time of the ticket purchase, you’re given a list of paperwork they’ll need to see before any child is handed over to your custody.
As I reached into my purse for the required documents, the flight attendant just smiled and said, dryly, “And you must be the mother.” “Yes,” I sniffed, still clinging to my boy like a life raft. “Jake,” she asked, just to make sure, “Is this your mom?” Jake, sharing a glimpse of what was to become his trademark one-liner wit, looked up at her and said, “Well, she wouldn’t be my first choice, but yeah, she’s my mom.”
14 years later, Jake would be flying to Iraq, and we would relive this experience on a different level. We dropped him off, and I cried all the way home. When he arrived home a year later, safe and sound where I could see him, I cried again and mauled him in public. This time, he grinned and replied, “It’s okay, Mom. Go crazy.”
jake home
And so I’ve decided that children (no matter their age) should never be further away than you can drive to see them. It’s just too damn hard on their mamas. And when he gets redeployed, I’m going with him. But I’m not telling him just yet. I just might end up flying as an “unaccompanied mother.”

Monday, November 4, 2013

What I Signed Up For

Welcome to Motherhood Monday. Today Trish Turner of Superlittletales shares her story about the realities of raising a child on the Autism Spectrum. Trish is one of two very proud and devoted mom's to a big one and two littles.
Laughs will be shared, perhaps some tears will be shed but no matter the situation, their capes fly high. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and follow their journey at Superlittletales~Telling super tales of amazing littles.

What I Signed Up For

Nobody really knows what they're getting themselves into when they start a family. Sure they may have an idea about the late night feedings, the booboos, the first day of school jitters, dating worries, etc.
The truth about it all, is that until you've been up at 2am, 3am, 4am, and 5am only to start your day at 6am, there is no concept of what 'late night feedings' can mean. That only comes when you're right smack in the middle of the nightmare. The same goes for any other parenting challenge.

Our family was not immune to hopes and dreams.

-The plan was for me to stay home with the kids until they were 3 and slowly I would gain hours at home, alone... ALONE!
-I may never be allowed hours in my home alone... EVER!
Sending our son to preschool is a dream of the past. When he went, our already chaotic lives became completely unmanageable and worse yet, it broke our little boys spirit. We'll try again but for now we're concentrating on improving his motor function and anxiety in the safety and comfort of our home.

-Sip coffee and write while the children play nicely with one another, or while napping.
The coffee I love so much, that brews in one minute, will always go cold and be forced to suffer multiple zapping’s in the microwave.
-Writing will happen while standing at the kitchen counter, making dinner, listening to the 2 year old say "gimme back dolly" and the 4 year old say, "you can't catch me".
Momma TT to the rescue in 3... 2... 1...
-Naps? Ha! Mr. Munchkin gave up on those years ago. In fact, sleep does not come easily for him at any point. We're holding out hope that for the little one. She still naps a couple times a week.

-Sitting on a park bench feeling care-free, discussing life with other mommy's while the youngsters play with friends.
-Standing frantically along the sidelines of the play structure critiquing his every move, analyzing his facial cues and body language to decipher if intervention will be necessary. Picking up broken conversations with mothers while on play dates. Always on alert. The park is not a care-free zone for us.

-The only visit to hospitals or doctors would be for well-child checkups or stitches
-Occupational therapy, speech therapy, sensory play group, developmental evaluations... and on and on and on. Most of our week is spent getting treatment for something or another in the hopes that our son will eventually be able to regulate himself.

Our daily life with a child on the Autism Spectrum is unpredictable. This journey has brought us sadness, anger and frustration. Those feelings all get replaced with double the amount of joy, acceptance and patience. In accepting the unique individual that we have been blessed with and the challenges he faces, we are now open to create new dreams for the future. We are learning to accept his growth at his pace.

Sure I didn't sign up for this... nobody does.

Who would say, "I hope that my child has a hard time learning to walk, or talk, or interact with peers"? Nobody would want that for their child but if development wasn't happening on a typical scale, whatever needs to be done, gets done.
As parents we signed up to do anything necessary. We put all we have into providing for our children- physically, emotionally and spiritually.

We try to predict outcomes.
We falter and learn.
We adjust and try again.

I want to believe with everything in me that our son will learn to regulate his sensory needs. That his development will eventually match those of his age. That all the interventions lining his path will be enough to help him achieve physical, emotional, and educational success. That he will be able to avoid seclusion by his peers. That he won't become the target of bullies who will try to dim the brilliant light that burns in him.

As parents, we thought we knew what we signed up for but the guesswork is inconceivable. No matter what hopes or dreams or wild fantasies we have for our children, our love helps them achieve success. We love them the same, or differently, or more, or whatever way they need to be loved at any particular minute because that is what we are to them... love and acceptance.




Friday, November 1, 2013

A Halloween To Remember

I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween.  Dressing up has always seemed like one giant hassle to me. Handing out candy all night and having my dog sniff every single kid who comes to the door got old after the first five kids. This year I changed my mind about all of that. It’s been two years since we’ve had a Halloween here in New Jersey. Two whole years that kids didn’t get to walk freely through neighborhoods dressed up in costumes, laughing with their friends and experiencing sugar highs and sugar crashes together. Two years is a long time to a child. My oldest is five so he hasn’t had a real Halloween since he was two.
When he was 3 we had a freak snow storm that took down trees and wires leaving people without power all over the Tri-State area. We took him to two houses that year and that was it.

Last year was infamous Hurricane Sandy.  People had bigger fish to fry than Halloween here in New Jersey. Most of our state was without power on Halloween and well after for that matter. 

It was depressing and sad watching the news and seeing how most of our state was doing during that time. Homes were destroyed, trees were down, wires were everywhere, gas was hard to come by and despite all of that it was somehow still sad knowing that yet again the children would miss out on Halloween.  It was sad for the kids but I didn’t miss Halloween or so I thought.

My youngest is two so for him this was his very first Halloween. I have to say he picked up on the whole trick or treating thing rather quickly. Let’s be honest you hand a kid a bag and tell him he can go door to door and get candy he’s going to do it without questions or concerns.

Halloween seemed bigger to me this year than I can ever remember. Perhaps after two years of not having Halloween adults and children all over New Jersey decided it was time to go big. Houses were decorated better than I ever remember. Parades at schools were back and they were awesome.  Kids were having Halloween parties, playing Halloween games and eagerly rushing home from school to get ready to head out and trick or treat. They were excited to answer doors and hand out candy. They were happy and it made me realize that Halloween isn’t about scary stories, ghosts, goblins, witches and zombies. It’s about tradition. It’s about giving children one day a year to forget about all the real life scary stuff. It’s a day that no one is different because everyone is different. It’s a day to escape reality and become anything or anyone you want.

As I watched children run from house to house laughing and smiling I realized just how much I had missed Halloween.  I couldn’t help but think about how much I loved it as a kid. I remember rushing home to have my mom help me with my make-up and getting so excited to fill my bag with candy. There was always the one spooky house, the one lame ass house (who gave out a bag of pennies) and the one super awesome house that gave out full size candy bars. As a kid you knew each of these houses well before heading out to trick or treat. 

All those memories came rushing back as I watched my boys faces filled with excitement and happiness.  As I looked around at all of the adults I could tell we all felt the same way. We felt pure joy and happiness that our kid’s lives were normal this year. That this year nothing was going to stop us from celebrating this age old tradition of costumes and candy. We may have let them go to one more house than we would have a couple of years ago. We allowed them two more pieces of candy than we would have a couple of years ago. We threw caution to the wind and said "Let there be a Halloween" and all the kids cheered.  Adults and children were exhausted by the days end and as we laid our heads down for some much needed sleep we that was a Happy Halloween.