The Tuesday after Halloween my eight-year-old ran to get the newspaper from the end of our driveway like she does every day. Aubrey loves to steal the comics out of the paper before her Daddy can even touch it. I was a little nervous about her reading my column that day. She gets embarrassed over the most random things. So I wasn’t surprised when she screamed, “MOM!!!!!” halfway through the article. I was however shocked about what she found so humiliating.
Here’s the column:
Halloween is not my favorite— I know this is probably shocking information. You are probably asking yourself, “But why wouldn’t you love to chase three small children fueled by high fructose corn syrup all over town in the pitch black praying that they don’t get hit by a car or lost in the dark?”
And to you, I’d say, “Exactly.”
My anxiety levels increase in direct proportion to my children’s blood sugar level— school parties, fall festivals— sugar sneaks in to their day while they are at school and they become ticking time bombs, their blood sugar crashing just in time to get in the car with me.
I picked the girls up from school on Halloween and braced myself for my least favorite night of the year. Aubrey and Emma dressed as “scary vampire ghost girls.” While I negotiated how much makeup they could wear, I told Sadie to go put on her costume. Sadie had originally said she wanted to be a police officer which was extremely convenient for me because Emma was a police woman last year and the costume fit Sadie. But when she got ready to go trick or treating with her class, she folded at the last minute and dressed as a princess.
I had no idea what she was going to put on when she walked out of the bathroom, but being as she is the third child, I really didn’t care. Sadie came back quickly wearing a hot pink leotard, her purple tennis shoes and a cape. I choked on my laughter and asked her what she was. She rolled her eyes, “A supah hewoe gull— duh!”
She looked like Richard Simmons in a cape.
“Of course you are! But you need pants, it’s cold.” I bargained.
She ran out of the room and came back after adding a pair of blue jeans to her get-up.
Emma fell apart trying to find a pair of shoes to match her outfit. No matter how many words I used, she could not be convinced that white sandals with a large flower on the toe, might not be the scariest or warmest choice to complete her costume.
As all three girls argued over who got to carry which candy bag, I fantasized about ways I could scare them straight. I wished I still had a prom dress from high school that I could wear in the carpool line to pick them up, or maybe I could just go pants-less, they would be horrified and no one else would have to be the wiser.
What could I do to make my children feel the same sense of dread that I feel when facing Halloween? To make them understand the horror I had to face to get them in the bed after eight hours and 8000 grams of sugar— each.
I daydreamed about showing up at their school to eat lunch with them and grabbing food out of their friends lunch boxes. I’d grab a fork and just stab anything within arms reach.
“You gonna eat that?” I’d ask their friends as my kids stared open mouthed in horror.
The girls continued to scuffle, they started to simmer down as we made our way out of the house and into the car.
“Buckle your seat belts,” I admonished, still silently scheming— I could break out into spontaneous dance in the grocery store, or put their birth videos into their backpacks for Show & Tell— if that didn’t terrify everyone who saw it then I didn’t know what would.
The commotion in the backseat got louder.
“Buckle your seat belts or you are going to be sorry,” I said, smiling to myself as I cranked the car. If all else fails, the price tag on their therapy bills should be enough to scare anybody.
I will give you ten million guesses what she was embarrassed about…
The idea of my sending her birth video to school?
The thought of me eating off of her friend’s lunch trays?
The suggestion that I drive her to school in my underpants?
“MOOOOOM!” She screamed, “WHY DID YOU TELL EVERYBODY ME AND EMMA WERE THE SAME THING??!!!”