Halloween has gotten pretty messed up around here this year. Seems some people aren’t too keen on trick-or-treating on the Christian sabbath, and while I can respect their position it seems to me the obvious answer would be for those people to abstain from celebrating Halloween this year. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the opinion of our local elected officials. At 5:30 Monday evening, the Monday before Halloween mind you, they announced that Halloween would no longer be on October 31st this year, but on Saturday the 30th instead.
Really???? Yeah, really. It even made the New York times.
Sunday Halloween Is Tricky Business – NYTimes.com
And I have to tell you, this decision and the ensuing neighborhood drama has pretty much sucked the fun out of one of my favorite holidays. I want to protest on principle. There are, in my opinion, separation of church and state issues at play here. But are my children too young to learn that lesson? Would they just remember the year Mommy wouldn’t let them go trick-or-treating?
I’m still not really sure what we will do. But I do know I am doing my darndest to get in the Halloween spirit again. Parties at the elementary school were a good start to the weekend – especially Lola Gray’s pre-K class pumpkin party which was a total ball. How could you not smile and feel better when presented with this:
This is how we started our day today – walking to school. And it was wonderful.
I remember walking to school in Kindergarten and 1st grade, just a bunch of kids with no parental chaperon. It was only a few blocks through the neighborhood . . . but then that sort of thing was much more common 35 years ago than it is today. Nowadays kids hop on a school bus for the 3 or 4 block trip to school – or for the trek across town if they aren’t lucky enough to go to a neighborhood school. Nowadays the carpool line wraps around the block as parents idle in their cars for 20 minutes waiting to load up the kids and drive 5 blocks home.
I’m as guilty as the next person. But I’m going to try to be better. I’m not ready to let the kids walk on their own just yet – partly because they have to cross a pretty busy street but also, selfishly, because I really enjoy the time with them. It took us about 20 minutes, walking slowly. We took a friend from across the street and we talked about Pokemon and kittens. We pointed out pretty leaves and pumpkins and barking dogs and birds playing chase in the sky. We held hands.
I can tell you we won’t be doing this every day – I’m just not together enough in the mornings to always get us out the door 20 minutes early. But right now, while the weather is beautiful and we have the time, I can’t think of anything I would rather do.
This morning at breakfast, Lola was bemoaning the fact that she had to go to school while I got to stay home and do anything I wanted. All. Day. Long.
Uh huh. All that fun stuff like grocery shopping and laundry and trying to clean up this disaster of a house. And oh yeah, the hours of PTA work I have ahead of me to make sure we are on track for Thursday’s meeting and Read-a-Thon and Book Fair and Reflections and Make a Difference Day . . .
And the homemade snack for Lola’s pre-K class for tomorrow.
And organizing the 1st grade Halloween party.
And sewing Fletcher’s Halloween costume and Lola’s ballet slipper.
And my actual job! Let’s don’t forget that I do still have a full-time job on top of this. It’s enough to make me pull my hair out!
So why do I do it? The obvious answer would be that I can’t say no. (And there may be something to that.) But the better answer came from Fletcher this morning, quietly eating his oatmeal while Lola moaned. He looked up at me, smiled with his mouth full, and said:
“Mommy, I’m really proud of all the work you do at my school.”
And there you have it.
When we moved into our house three years ago, we were full of plans. But, as often happens, those plans sometimes get put on hold. Sometimes for a loooong time. Our butler’s pantry is a prime example of that. We put off replacing the ugly laminate counter tops for so long, I finally had to accept it was just not going to happen. Acceptance can be a beautiful thing – a thing that sends you to the hardware store in search of a cheap solution and sends you home with 2 cans of paint and a plan. And before long . . . freshly painted woodwork, freshly painted counter tops and a fresh start for an underused space! I’m thinking about getting some bar stools so the kids can sit and do their homework without covering up the kitchen table. . . . I wish I had done this years ago!
I love my neighborhood . . .
This year, the kids are going to participate in the PTA Reflections program, an arts program encouraging students to explore a theme through visual arts, writing, dance and music. This year’s theme is “Together We Can . . . “
Entries are due soon, so the kids and I sat down this afternoon to work on their pieces. They both decided to take photographs, which surprised me a bit since Lola is so pro-painting/drawing. But we had a great time, and I think they came up with some great shots. Now we just have to narrow it down to a single entry for each of them . . . .
Lola’s interpretation was: Together we can “just hang out.” She didn’t skip a beat, just grabbed a few of her favorite stuffies, hung them from the freezer handle, and grabbed the camera.
I think I like this last shot best, but I’m not sure if Lola will agree with me.
Fletcher’s interpretation of the theme was “Together we can explore new places.” He decided that maybe, working together, we could even discover new worlds with aliens on them! That led him to take his Star Wars figures into the back yard to photograph the aliens. He was so serious about it – and he really wants his piece to be picked to move on into the regional competition! I’m not sure where he gets that competitive streak . . .
Lola Gray also “wrote” one of her songs while we were taking photos. It was all about things we can do together, and how when we work together we can go faster and build taller . . . I’m going to try and get her to sing it again tomorrow and will try to write it down so she can enter it as a poem.
Our late September cool snap . . . well, it snapped. We are back to sweating again, but that wasn’t going to stop us from enjoying every bit of October and the approach of Halloween! On Sunday we visited Poppell Farms, about an hour and a half drive from Savannah and well worth the time in the car. There were hay rides, a pumpkin patch, duck races and steer roping, lots of bouncing and swinging and climbing. There were animals to pet, a corn crib where the kids immediately buried themselves in corn, and a mini cow train which Lola rode three times.
But the best part of all, at least according to Fletcher (and me, too!) was the corn maze! Lola Gray was scared, so she and Raymond sat this one out but Fletcher and I braved the sun and ventured into the maze. The corn wasn’t terribly tall, so I thought it would be a pretty easy one to figure out. But . . . . ummmm . . . I was wrong. We got pretty turned around! Fletcher didn’t mind though – the kid loves mazes, and anything with a map, so he was in heaven. I have no idea how long it took us to find our way out (I know we managed to miss entirely 2 of the 10 numbered markers) but when we finally found our way to the exit Fletcher jumped up and down and ran the last stretch shouting “We did it! We did it!” That excitement and enthusiasm gets me every time. I hope he never loses that joy.
Friday night dinner: waffles al fresco. The kids kept me in stitches with their constant, never ending, no pause, one on top of the other chatter. Hysterical. I got them to each be quiet long enough for the other to have a turn in front of the camera. This is life for the Gaddy kids right now – silly songs and Pokemon. Perfect. Enjoy!
My children are playing outside right now.
It is almost 6:30.
Homework is done.
Dinner is in the oven.
I should be getting them in the bath,
fed and cleaned and into bed
snug as bugs.
I should. . .
But not yet.
It has been one of those rare and glorious Fall days in Savannah when the morning starts out at a chilly 60 degrees and gradually warms into the 80s, still cool in the shade, cool in the house with the windows open and a breeze running through. I have been almost giddy with it. Smelling it, drinking it, sucking it in through every pore because I know it will not last.
But they have been at school all day.
I wonder if they open the windows at school?
Their brief playground time isn’t enough on a day like today. It is probably never enough . . .
I can hear them now in the backyard, talking and laughing and swinging.
Working out elaborate games with dozens of characters only they can see.
and birds nests
and their imaginations.
Building their friendship.
So dinner can wait for now.
Bath time and story time and bed time can wait.
Because they are playing,
and that’s what children should do.
Because I’m tired of rushing.
Because this day is coming to an end, and while there will undoubtedly be other evenings just as cool and sweet, this evening will never come again.
Cub Scouts starts today. Fletcher is sooooooo excited about earning patches! I can’t get over how cute (and totally dorky) he looks in this uniform!