Halloween. Our kids LOVE Halloween. They love to dress up. They love to get candy not normally allowed the rest of the year. They love decorating. They love being part of all the festivities in our neighborhood (we usually have over 300 kids stop by for candy) and they love going to pick out pumpkins and getting lost in a corn maze. Truth be told, I love it too. Only in the past 7 or so years have I fully embraced how fun it can be to put on a wig, crazy outfit and cut loose. Becoming someone else for a night is quite freeing and invigorating.
This year has been so hectic and busy, I have failed them. I didn’t find the time to take them to the pumpkin patch, as we have done every year.
I know I shouldn’t feel guilty. The main reason we didn’t have time was due to their schedules, but there is still a part of me that knows I could have figured out a time if we had rushed or moved things around or made more of an effort.
I thought I was in the clear. I had fleetingly thought of trying to work it into our schedules, but had quickly forgotten. Then last night they both asked me when we were going to go get a pumpkin and carve it. Frances was clearly disappointed there would be no adventure through the fields of dusty, brown stalks and I realized they had been counting on me to keep up the tradition.
So, I sit, contemplating what are important things to them as children and what is something worth skipping? How to tell before it is too late? We have traditions with just about every holiday. As Jim progresses, life gets busier, they grow older while becoming more independent, which traditions will stick and which will only be recalled when we peruse through old photographs?
I am realizing that I put so much pressure on myself to keep our family as it was, or really how I envision in my mind it should be, I miss opportunities to keep moving forward and organically grow as a unit. I need to stop fighting whatever is going to happen. Much harder to do than to say.
Many well intentioned people tell me how sad our situation is and how sorry they are for us. That is very nice and I say the same things when the tables are turned and I am speaking with a friend who is going through a rough time. It is just what we say. But I don’t feel like I live a sad life. I have a beautiful family with two healthy, loving, smart children. I still have both of my parents and my grandmother with me. I have a husband that loves me and would do anything he could to keep me happy. I have a job. I have a home. I have good friends, acquaintances and people all over that care about my family. I am blessed with so much.
Yes, there is a part of my life that completely, utterly sucks. But it is one part of my life I have no control over. How I handle Jim’s progression and the oncoming dilemmas will determine if I can remain happy overall. If I am able to compartmentalize the different areas of my life, I am thinking I can remain positive, strong and content.
So our family will celebrate Halloween and we will not have jack-o-lanterns this year. We have costumes, we put up a few decorations and we have a whole neighborhood to have fun with. That is what Frances and Brad will remember and that is what makes memories. I must focus on what I can change, not trying to figure out a way to change things beyond my control.