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12 months ago

1429 words

Photo: So, funny story–I didn’t take a picture of my two little boys in their knight costumes. I was very busy. It just didn’t happen. So ya’ll get the throwback instead! This is Major’s first Halloween. I was a few months pregnant with Minor at this point. I didn’t take this photo–Snow White’s mom did! I adore this photo. One of my favorites of all time.


Before I get started on my ridiculous story, I have to tell you: I baked 50 cookies yesterday morning. Then I went on a 3-hour marathon of school Halloween parties. Then I came back to this house, cleaned it up, and got the boys out the house for trick-or-treating. That commenced another 3-hour marathon! At least there was beer for that one (those insulated water bottles we’re all sporting out here in the suburbs came in real handy last night!).  We got back here at 8:45 and didn’t get in bed until 9:30. The Husband and I crawled into bed panting and heaving like we were going to die. I can’t even tell you how ugly 5:30 was this morning. It didn’t look any better by the time the boys got on the bus! Direct quotes from my morning:

Bus driver: “So, you had a long night, huh?”

Major: “Mommy hasn’t done her hair at all this morning!”


Major is who I want to write about today. He was really something last night. We went to a neighboring town to trick-or-treat with friends in the good neighborhood. “Bring pillow-cases! Seriously! There will be so much candy!”

She wasn’t exaggerating. These weren’t just full-size bar people. These were candy bag people. 1 bag with 6 different candy boxes inside! Who does that!? It was crazy. And then there were the practically professional decorations at some spots. People take Halloween quite seriously around here, it would seem. Our friend proudly took us to one street in particular that does it up big, but on the way there were two spots that also had special displays. One of them had threatening 3D skeletons projected on a wall that made it look like they were coming out of the windows. The Husband has many ideas for replication on the barn next year.

Another house not far way had a unique octagonal porch, perfectly sized for a Halloween display. The family had ominous lighting projecting onto it, a covered table where a bowl of candy sat, and a huge Frankenstein standing and waiting for trick-or-treaters. From a distance, Frankenstein looked animatronic (Believe me when I tell you it would not be outside of the realm of possibility in that neighborhood). I said so to The Husband. My friend corrected me, explaining that the husband at the house likes to scare the kids. The two older kids we were with gleefully went up the porch steps and got their candy, happy to see the prank for another year.

My boys…

I warned Minor up front that the guy on the porch was probably scary and he could hold my hand and stay with me. He had been freaked out by the skeleton projection. Halloween has always been fun for him, never scary. This was a new and unwelcome concept for him. Major, on the other hand, was feeling a little brave. He announced, “I’m not scared! I want candy!” And he went charging up to the house and the porch. The two older kids having run off to the next house already, meant it was Major, Frankenstein and Frankenstein’s dog.

Ursa Major did one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen him do. He went up the porch, regarding the dog and the monster with a cautious but friendly way. The dog had a wagging tail, so that’s good, but the guy dressed as the monster didn’t break character. He made mechanical movements, sweeping and inhuman. He didn’t speak, either. Major sorta leaned as far away from him as possible, facing the monster full body even while reaching into the candy bowl.

When nothing bad happened to him, he went to the edge of the porch (monster still in his sights) and called down to Minor: “Look! It’s not scary! Come up and get some candy!”

Minor shook his head.

“Well, do you want me to get you some candy?”

Minor nodded.

And this is why my 6 year-old is the coolest kid ever. He went back to the bowl and stuck his hand in, but came to a decision that he should probably ask the monster permission first. So I watched my son, leaning as far back as he could without falling backward, lift up his face to speak to the hulking monster on the porch. I couldn’t hear his voice, but I saw his mouth move. The monster did not answer with words. The man in the costume was very good. He gestured with his whole body, not just his head, but also his shoulders and torso, in affirmation. Major took the candy and flew off the porch!

When he reached the sidewalk, still intact, he let out a very sincere, totally audible, unbelievably genuine, “phew!” and ran to his brother, delivering the precious loot directly to his bag.

And I could not have been more proud of him. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever, ever seen him do.

I don’t know what was going on in his little mind. Perhaps he trusted that if things went sideways, Mommy and Daddy would come to save him (Daddy, who was Thoros of Myr last night, was carrying a sword). Maybe he was telling himself that Halloween was meant to be spooky, but nothing bad happens. Maybe he knew the monster was really just a man, that he wasn’t really a monster. I’ll probably never know. All I know is, the boy stayed there long enough to get himself and his brother some candy. He came down the stairs feeling relieved and maybe a little triumphant. I gave him a big hug. I really didn’t expect him to be so brave.

There were a few other “scary” houses where people actually spent the night scaring children. There was one house where kids were regularly screaming with fright. The scary looking dude giving out candy at that house was very kind to the littles, including Major, who boldly went up to him on his own. But all the pre-teens and teens who went by got a jolt of fear!

Longtime readers know that Halloween is not my favorite holiday, but I will say that I enjoyed myself last night! It was an unexpected surprise. And though 5:30 was not a good look for me this morning, I got up feeling inspired and ready to go! Today is day one of National Novel Writing Month! This will be my 8th year as a participant, my 4th as a mentor to newbies. For the last 3 weeks, I’ve gathered a gaggle of 15 (and counting!) moms who are attempting the challenge this year! It’s madness!

I was so inspired by Major’s bravery last night, and so moved by the bold undertaking my newbie mama wrimos are taking on, that I made a big bold move of my own today:

I published Patron of the Meadowlark Inn today. It’ll be available on Amazon and other digital bookstores sometime between now and Friday.

That’s right: sometime between now and the end of the week, I’ll finally be able to say that I’m a published author.

It’s probably the stupidest thing I’ve ever done in my whole entire life. I’m terrified and exhilarated at the same time. I don’t know how it will be received or if it will ever be read. But I did it. I addressed the monster I’ve been so afraid of. I’ve done a thing I never really thought I could do.

So hopefully by Quiet Thoughts, I’ll have a link for you. And you can see it for yourself and judge my fiction however you see fit. It’s a joy to share this news with you. Especially you Dear Readers who have been with me for years and years, back when I declared I was going to publish a book on my 30th birthday (Oh what a fool I was!).

So. November is a month for big, bold, wild aspirations taken on with abandon. I’m doing it, my 15 Mama WriMos are doing it. What will you do this month, Dear Reader? Share!

I’m really hoping I have a few surprises for you by Friday, too. 🙂 Things… things are happenin’ around here!

See you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.

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