Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Year of the Horse


(I'm a little late in posting this. I wrote it early October but just now got a hold of the very necessary photograph - the author, circa 1989)...

Aidan wants to be a cat for Halloween. Orange, with yellow stripes, like our beloved (and deceased) cat Hobbes......
....or a fire fighter. Or a chef. Or a superhero. Or a pumpkin. Or a nurse. Or any number of other possibilities, on any given day. I knew this was going to be the case, the inability - or lack of desire - to commit to one costume. Polling other moms, I asked what they do when faced with this same dilemma. One mom advised me to go out right now and buy the costume, so Aidan can't change his mind. But I'm a purist; no matter how complicated or impossible, I think that Halloween costumes have to be homemade. Another mom said that she doesn't have that problem; her daughter has been dead-set on being a princess for months - 364 days, in fact. A third mom has so many costumes in the dress up box that changing one's mind at the last minute is no big deal. So then I thought of yet another mom, and what she did.

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Halloween was my favorite holiday as a child. It wasn't so much the candy or the trick-or-treating but the playfulness and mischief of it all, getting to dress up, wearing that costume to school, going on parades through the hallways and in real parades in our town. It is, quite literally, the most childish of all holidays. The year I was eleven, the last year I would trick-or-treat, I decided to be something rather innocuous, boring, forgettable, I think something like a hobo. My mom kept prodding me, Are you sure that's what you want to be? Do you want to change your mind and be something else? This is your last year to trick or treat, you know......

On October 29, I came home from school, sobbing. I did not want to be a hobo. I wanted to be something different! Something special! Something so cool! With a kind and understanding heart, my busy mother listened to me, hugged me, took me to the fabric store, and helped me pick out, from the Simplicity patterns for costumes, the perfect get-up. I was going to be a horse-and-rider. The horse was a large beanbag-like costume with a hole in the center; I would wear it around my waist, with my own legs looking like those of the horse, and a second pair of stuffed legs would create the appearance of my own legs on top of the horse. I was taking horseback riding lessons at the time, and this was so perfect, so original, an optical illusion of sorts. A sophisticated costume for a sophisticated 11 year old. My mother spent the next two days slaving over sewing machine, churning out piece after piece and working late into each night until the horse was complete. And he was beautiful. Dark brown, with a lighter brown mane and tail and a beautiful red bridle made out of ribbon. I loved that horse, loved my costume, loved my mom....

...and loved the lesson it taught me. When it comes to the really, really important stuff in life -- like having the absolute, perfect, unforgettable Halloween costume, especially when it's your favorite holiday and you don't have much time left for silly trick-or-treating -- moms make time for you, because they love you. It's as simple as that. So although "Make Aidan's cat costume" has been at the top of our to-do list for weeks now, it somehow gets pushed below other pressing matters, knowing there's still that chance he'll decide he absolutely, positively MUST be a fire truck come Halloween night....

1 comment:

Bethany said...

oh my goodness, I remember that! so crazy after all these years. love that picture - and your blog!!