On Halloween, my kids’ school lets all of the kids wear their costumes to class all day long. It’s a complete how-are-we-gonna-get-math-done, incredibly fun, this-is-what-childhood-is-about tradition. Of course, my children love it.
Adelade is now in fourth grade, and she is reaching that age when suddenly some stuff starts to get un-cool. Thankfully, she doesn’t think she’s too awesome to wear a Halloween costume, but she might be reaching a point where she thinks I am.
Yes, I am one of THOSE moms. I love dressing up in funny costumes for the Halloween parade each year. I love costume parties. I love searching the thrift stores and the leftover wig piles at WalMart searching for a last-minute costume idea.
I casually questioned the children as to whether they would like for me to go ahead and wear my costume to their class parties. Sawyer excitedly said that he wanted me in costume for the first grade party. Adelade–well, Adelade just looked at me. Was it horror in her eyes? Fear? I’m not sure which, but it kept me debating all the next morning whether or not I should put on my outrageously fluffy poodle skirt for her party or not. Would I be scarring her for life? Would she write books about how her mother ruined her life, beginning with a fourth grade Halloween party? Would she need counseling for the trauma?
And, then I remembered something important.
Kids need to be taught how to have fun.
Now, I could have let Adelade comfortably get through her party with a mom who is respectably dressed in a sweater and a cute scarf and tall boots. There were other moms there dressed that way and they looked adorable and their kids probably worship the ground they walk on, because no embarrassment. I have a mother like that. She never in my entire life embarrassed me. Not once. That’s not to say that she doesn’t know how to have fun. She just always put my feelings first.
My poor kids aren’t going to get out so easy.
I showed up at school for Sawyer’s party first. He seemed thrilled and proud to see his mama walk in looking like a nerdy Grease extra. His friend asked me if I am Sawyer’s mom, and as I glanced at my son’s smiling face, I answered with confidence: Yes. Yes I am.
As his party ended and I started making my way down the bustling halls to the fourth grade party, I wondered what Adelade’s reaction would be. Would she cry? Would she refuse to speak to me for the first time in her life?
She spotted me from a distance. The reaction was immediate. Eyes cast downward, a quick turn away as if to say, I never saw this woman before in my life.
I walked into the room without glancing her way. I put on a thicker country accent than usual and starting shaking kids’ hands. Heeeey, y’all! I drawled. Ah’m Adelade’s Aint Millie! Pleased ta meet ya!
They smiled their sly grins and shook my hand. Adelade looked at me sideways with a slight smile and narrowed eyes.
One boy shook my hand with genuine amazement on his face. You look just like her mother! he said. We’re twiy-ens, I assured him.
I saw the tiny giggle escape from her upturned lips, and I knew that Adelade could see the fun of this moment.
I can’t control how she will remember that day, or how she will feel about it as she gets older. I can’t dictate whether she will love me or hate me for those types of things as she grows up. But, I can guarantee one thing. On this Halloween, I taught her in one small way how it’s okay to have fun.