Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Memories.

It's Halloween, one of my most favorite holidays, and it always makes me think about both my Mom and my Dad. I used to love to dress up and every year, months in advance, I would decide what I wanted to be and my Mother would make my costume. It was pretty amazing now that I think about it - she was very creative and could put together most of the costumes I asked for. Granted, I usually wanted to be something like a gypsy or Indian princess, or something, but it was still pretty fantastic. I used to love the way Halloween let you be different than you were; you could be anything or anyone you could imagine yourself being. In Third grade I was Wonder Woman, complete with eagle-covered, red bustier, bracelets and lasso. It was great - god, I loved that costume! One year she transformed my sister into Princess Leia with a silky white, seventies-style dress she had, a silver belt, and even the two hair rolls.

Mom actually loved Halloween, every year for dinner, she made hotdogs and her special donuts, with apple cider. She would make sure I got my costume on, including the layers of tights, long sleeve shirt and even jacket, that no kid wants to wear, but which every mom insists on, because for heaven's sake, its cold out there! My Mom was very petite, about 5 feet tall, with little hands and feet. She was so small, and she loved Halloween(and candy) so much that she would dress up, making sure to cover her face and hands, and go trick or treating herself! Occasionally, Dad and I would see her going from house to house and he would never admit that it was her, even though I was sure it was. It was just one of the funny things she did.

Every year, I would wait for my Dad to get home, and he would take me and my best friend out trick or treating. We lived in a neighborhood on a really steep hill, and we would gradually make our way up the hill, stopping at each house. It was a special thing that we did together, something that didn't happen often since he was usually so busy with work and other things. I think Dad really enjoyed taking me out and seeing me knock on each door while he waited at the end of the driveway, and I knew that for at least that one night the dark moods and depression and disappointment he felt so often through the rest of the year would be banished and we would have fun, and connect.

When my stepdaughter was little, I loved to take her trick or treating every year. We had so much fun and it was a way for me to connect with my Father and the fun we used to have as we went from door to door, saying the traditional words to fill my bag with candy. My mother is gone now, and I never miss her more than on these holidays that she made so special. My father is still with me, in body if not in spirit, and although I'll go see him on Halloween to bring him some little candy bars, the man who used to keep me safe in the darkness as we flitted from house to house is gone.

I have complicated and sometimes ambivalent feelings about my childhood and my parents; things were often very dark and confusing for us. But I'm so glad to still possess these moments of gladness and fun, these memories of how my parents tried to be there for me, in ways as simple as making a costume and taking a little girl trick or treating.

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