Motherhood continues to amaze me in wonderful new ways. Yesterday was Hallowe’en. My husband and I had found a bee costume at a local consignment shop. I put it on her in the early evening last night, and my heart melted. She was adorable! I am sure she will be embarrassed by this in the years to come, but right now I get to enjoy her cuteness in all of its glory.
We went over to a friends’ house to have dinner and then go trick-or-treating together in their neighborhood. Their neighborhood is perfect for trick-or-treating; safe with minimal traffic. There were a lot of kids out. We started off with a pizza party. My husband met us at their house. He came dressed as a farmer, even wearing his straw hat. He had put our wheelbarrow in the back of his pick-up. He was going to wheel our daughter around the neighborhood. That is a lot of walking for a 2 year old. My husband is awesome!
At first, Michaela was shy. She would go up to the door with the other girls and just stand there. At each house my husband would tip over the wheelbarrow so that she could jump out. As the night went on, she got more and more confident. She would say “thank you”, even if she did not master “trick-or-treat”. She had so much confidence that she would grab multiple items out of the bowl, when people would offer her a choice. Each time she would climb into the wheelbarrow, she would say, “more candy”. We could not stop laughing. The neighborhood loved that my husband pushed her around in a wheelbarrow. I think that she was the youngest kid out. Our friends’ daughter would help her up the steps when she wanted to go up without me, which became more frequent as she got the hang of it.
As I stood at the curb with the other moms who were trick-or-treating with us, I felt the tremendous joy of motherhood. I had so much fun. Sure I have fond memories of trick-or-treating in 6 inches of snow, I am from Montana, but watching my daughter gave me such profound joy. I had the most fun that I have had in a while. She brought joy to the people handing out candy too. I could tell as they interacted with her.
Holidays like Hallowe’en, which for us Catholics is not over yet, can be stressful. The costumes, pumpkins, candy, and all of the preparation can take away from the fun. As parents, we get to experience the fun and wonder that our child experiences each year, if we allow ourselves too. Every year holidays take on a new dimension. This year, our daughter really experienced Hallowe’en. Last year, we took her to our neighbors’ houses, but it was bitter cold and she was only one. This year she could figure it out from the older girls. It is a strange and wonderful feeling to watch my 2 year old to bravely go up to a stranger’s door without me. The one night a year they take candy from a stranger! I also started to understand why some parents dress up with their kids. It is a family night. My husband got fully involved, after joking with me that he was going to stay at our friends’ house, hand out candy and drink a beer. Of course I gave him the wife look. It made me wish that I had thought of something to wear. I went as a mom.
The longer I am a mother, the more I realize that I am fully alive in this wonderful, painful, challenging, joy-filled, amazing, vocation. Seeing my daughter grow fills me with bittersweet joy. It is wonderful to see her develop and learn, but at the same time it pulls at my heart. I want to hold her tight and keep her as she is, but that is not how life works. Motherhood is a constant lesson in letting go. Isn’t that a part of love? Allowing someone to blossom in their own way, of their own free will. It is deeply challenging for a mom. So last night I stood in the dark watching my child filled with peace and joy, while experience the cut that is letting her go. That is why marriage is a vocation, it prunes away at us. It teaches us to see joy, which only comes from God. I am deeply thankful for last night and I look forward to the joyous occasions that are in store for my family and me. Happy Feast of All Saints! Get to Mass. :o)