We went to sunny California to celebrate my son Adam’s 43rd birthday. I have no idea how that happened. No, wait, I know how THAT happened, and I’m going on record right now by saying, “ It wasn’t my fault.” Really, that’s the truth. I’m not kidding! I had only been married six months, still a blushing bride, when I found out I was pregnant. I was one of many a casualty of IUD malfunction.
Every day as soon as each kid got home from school, I’d ask them, “How was school? What did you learn in school today”? I don’t know why I always did this. I guess I thought/ hoped they would tell me about something that they had learned, but inevitably it was a story about who got into trouble, who said something funny(???). Their words, not mine. I rarely found it funny, but, then again, I’m not a school-aged boy. The answer never ever had anything to do with learning… reading, writing, or arithmetic.
I’ve told you all before, I’m a very slow learner, and this would be a perfect example. Adam was the oldest and arrived home ahead of his brothers. On this day after I greeted him with the same question, he announced, with an enormous amount of enthusiasm, that he had learned all about IUD’s in a sex education class. Without even thinking I said, “ oh yeah, I had one of those then when I got pregnant with you.” The look on his face was puzzled. He finally said, “ wait a minute, you mean I was a mistake?” Laughing, more from nerves than anything else, I said, “ no, you were not a mistake…but you were definitely a surprise.” When I said at the beginning of this story I don’t know how that happened, I was referring to how he’s is now 43 years old.
His dad and I went a few days early so we could go trick-or-treating with our children. They were almost 7 and 8, my favorite age to participate in all the Halloween festivities. Their excitement and anticipation were infectious and priceless. I loved to see the costume they ultimately chose. I felt like it was a sneak peek into their creative selves.
We were all invited to one of Adam’s college friend’s house to join his family trick-or-treating. They lived in the most amazing neighborhood. It was a self-contained development of 50 houses with a gazillion kids. Of course, the kids were all excited. Regardless of what age the kids were, they all had the same goal: get as much candy as humanly possible in a given amount of time. I’m not 100% positive but I think a few pieces even made it into their bags instead of their mouths. Some of the kids had so much candy in their mouths that they looked like chipmunks. When they yelled “trick-or-treat”, it came out all garbled, and the most disgusting colored drool escaped the corners of their mouths and ran down their chins. They were adorable.
All the adults(parents, grandparents, and couples who had no children) dressed up in costumes. I’m not just referring to a hat or funny glasses; I’m talking a full head- to- toe costume. It was so much fun, and the kids loved seeing all the adults acting like children.
The weather was perfect, even in the evening in Southern California. If you’ve never been there, I highly recommend adding it to your bucket list. To further entice anybody that has never been there, they have no insects. No mosquitoes, no flies, no bugs. It’s the desert, so I know that there are snakes, but I can assure you I have never seen one on any of our trips.
All the parents that didn’t have to accompany and help little ones sat in their driveways. and just enjoyed the show. When my kids were at the trick-or-treating age, the weather on the East Coast was cold, and I remember it seemed to rain every single time. And I recognized all of their costumes: fireman, policeman, baseball player. I had no idea what any of those kids were dressed up as.
I saw one little girl who looked like Cinderella. When I called her that, she looked at me like I had two heads, and was the most clueless person she had ever met. She then proceeded to tell me, “I’m Anna from Frozen.” Well, I can assure you by the time she finished talking “at me, I definitely detected her frozen attitude. LOL. And I guess some old habits die hard because I seemed to be able to recognize every adult’s costume.
I know I’m dating myself here, but I remember trick-or-treating for UNICEF. We each carried a small milk container with orange paper wrapped around it. Getting pennies was as much or more important than the candy. We brought the filled containers to school the next day. I swear we were more excited to see who got the most money than we were about the candy.
Towards the end of the evening when the sunset and darkness changed the mood outside, the older kids came to trick-or-treat. We encouraged them to take as much candy as they wanted. At first, I thought this was a little peculiar. I never remembered saying that! Adam‘s friend Doug leaned over and said to me “as soon as it’s all gone, we can turn the lights off and go back inside. “ I remembered feeling like that and doing the same thing.
I learned two things about myself by the end of that night. All knowledge is power if it doesn’t make you feel special. Lol! I finally got the true meaning of trick- or -treat. It was my mind playing the trick on me! I felt like I was transported 25 years in the past, and the little kids were my kids when they were that age. The treats are the memories. I can assure you they are sweeter than any candy and last FOREVER.