Our neighborhood's a little crazy on October 31st. In the beginning, when all of our houses were brand new, we had a lot of kids come through here. It's a safe place, and just the right size for a night of trick-or-treating. We had no way of knowing that, 11 years later, it would look like Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. Every year, I have taken my kids out with one neighbor or another; early on, we held the toddler's hands all the way up to the doors and coached the "thank you" when we left. As time went on, we moved out to the driveway and waited, still coaching. Suddenly, one year, we found ourselves not even making the driveway trek with them, just shouting "What do you say?" as they sped past us, on the way to the next house. Before long, we just went out walking for the fun of it; we knew our kids were somewhere within a four-house radius or so, and that we'd find them eventually.
This year, I let Jack go it alone. He took his friend across the street and off they went. It was definitely a mom moment, one of those bittersweet first-time-on-the-school-bus moments. It was the first year that I didn't go out, with my travel mug full of wine, talking to the hundreds of people wandering up and down my street, for hours. Nope, I stayed in. This is usually a job reserved only for my husband, who loves it. He chats with all the kids and moms and dads and just has a ball. I kind of cut into his fun because it seemed awfully humbuggish to just park my butt on the couch and watch t.v.
I probably had more fun than I would have watching CSI reruns, but in the end, it wasn't that great. I missed all the trick-or-drink houses (I heard my brother was passing out killer margaritas, his signature) and the various haunted porches and dead bodies that came alive at the sound of the doorbell. I missed the total chaos of it all - the running and screaming, the sleepy babies in strollers and zonked out toddlers on shoulders. Sure, I saw all the costumes and stayed warm and dry for the first time ever, but to be honest, I feel like I cheated myself out of a tradition I didn't realize I was a part of. There are parents who go out, and there are parents who stay in. I totally messed with the balance of things last night, and I'm pretty bummed about it.
Even though Jack will go without me from now on, I won't stay in next year. I understand my place in the universe now.
****************************************************Shamelessly judgemental thought for the day: WTF kind of parent lets his/her 10 year old dress up as a pimp?