If there’s one constant in life it’s that it’s always changing. Sometimes I handle them well and just roll with the punches and other times the changes punch me. In the gut. Hard.
This past Halloween I got gut punched.
For about the last 10 years our same group of moms and kids have traveled together in a Trick or Treating pack. We looked forward to it every year. We’ve transitioned together from having babies we could costume adorably to toddlers who lost most of their costumes in their travels. We watched our children grow into grade schoolers and go through their obsessions with dressing as the super hero du jour. We shared sarcastic jokes and life happenings. We talked about relationships, and teachers we loved and hated, and what we hoped for and feared for our childrens’ futures. (women talk A Lot!) Those Halloween nights are some of my fondest memories.
Now that my two oldest boys are 27 and 18 I have one candy collector left- my 12 year old, Nicholas.
About two weeks before Halloween Nicholas, asked if he could go trick or treat with his new middle school best friend. I sort of mumbled something non committal and hoped he’d forget the request and that we’d follow tradition with our band of merry men as per usual. But deep down, I knew it wasn’t over.
48 hours to go before Halloween and the request was made again. As sad as I was that our usual group wouldn’t be together we went to his new friends house. The new friend is a great kid and his parents couldn’t have been nicer or more hospitable.”This could be good “,I thought- “I can learn to hang out with different people”. Then the parents said, ‘the boys know when to check in so we’ll bring him home when they’re done.” Um,,,,what??! That was the beginning. (The arm pulled back ready for the blow.).. But, ok, I thought, that’s fine, I’ll just walk around with them myself. I made it for about for about 3 houses and it just wasn’t the same. It felt miserable and lonely. I felt more like a stalker than a parent. There went Nicholas, having a blast ,running with his friends dressed in silly costumes consuming vast amounts of sugar. He didn’t need me there anymore.
Annndddd…. Gut punch!!!
I knew it was coming. I . Knew. It. He’s my third child and I’ve been through all of this many times before in many different ways. But you know what? You never fully get used to it.
I’ve done what I’m supposed to do which is raise my sons to be independent and Not need me for everything. (my husband is currently rolling his eyes as he reads this) 😉
That’s what I kept telling myself as I drove home sobbing. Now please don’t read this and think that I’m some sort of super clingy mom who is so needy that I hinder my boys from having new experiences- I’m not that at all. I have always encouraged them to try Everything that interests them. Try the sport. Audition for the solo. Give the speech. Taste the new food. For the love….PLEASE try the new food!
I wanted to deny my sadness as being silly and and indulgent but you know what? I mean, it’s just a silly Halloween tradition. It’s not like he just moved out! Your moment might be something entirely different and you’ll be tempted to ignore it and push it aside. But you know what...It’s not silly and it’s not nothing. Transition is hard. Throughout all of our lives we have to change . Marriage; babies; graduations; puberty; jobs; pregnancy; moving; ageing; it’s all change all the time. With every one of those changes there is joy and there is also some pain. I mean really-pregnancy? C’mon!
In the excitement for the new thing there is always a tinge of sadness for the passing of the old and a little bit of apprehension of what’s to come. So I think I’ll give myself some grace. I’ll let myself be sad and miss the little boy at the same time I’m thrilled to watch Nicholas grow into a young man. He and my other sons may not need me in the same ways, but they still need me and I’ll be there for when they do.
Right now Nicholas needs me to eat all of the Almond Joys that he hates. So that’s something…. 🙂
If you want a great laugh, take a look at this short video of Halloween night and the blow up dinosaur costume. It’s been a hit on Facebook!!