Two-thirds of the way through our trick-or-treating last night, my eleven-year old was given a water bottle from the mom at one of the houses she visited (in addition to candy, of course.) All of us were so thirsty—it was a warm Halloween this year—so we thanked her for her thoughtful addition to our kid’s treat basket.
My daughter wanted the first sip. Reasonable, I know, but I found myself getting agitated. I was parched—I wanted that water, too. The mom had offered to give us all bottles, but we had declined, politely, stating we would share.
The kiddo attacked the water bottle with gusto. She guzzled, and spilled, and then poured down some more, both on her costume and down her throat. After being patient for over an hour of walking/standing/waiting/asking the kids to hurry along already, I snapped. Our conversation went like this:
“May I please have some water? I am really, really thirsty.” (It sounds polite, but my tone was less than generous.)
“Fine, Mom. But I needed it first, because I am trick-or-treating, after all, so I’m the most thirsty.”
She was trick-or-treating? SHE WAS?!? Her dad and I, along with the other parents, weren’t doing much, only carrying all the extra candy, the costume items that were dismissed halfway through the walk, and generally keeping them from getting hit by cars—after purchasing/making the costumes, helping the kids get ready, etc., of course. Were we completely invisible?
I sighed and took the few tiny sips left in the bottle, grateful to get anything at all, and even more grateful that we were on the loop home.
Sometimes, parenting is incredibly fun (holidays, for example.) Sometimes, it is horribly stressful (see also: holidays.) Often, though—as holidays perfectly illustrate—it is some mix of joyful memory-making crossed with emptying out of the parental reserve tank. It’s evenings like last night, filled with enjoying the excitement of Halloween, while simultaneously serving as an invisible, thirsty sherpa. It’s putting the focus on your kid, all while trying to teach that kid to be empathetic, and not always the center of attention.
As we enter the holiday season, this is my wish for all of us: may we be present and mindful enough to enjoy the fun moments as they happen, and patient and kind enough to handle the stress without lashing out or shutting down.
Amen. Hallelujah. Let it be.
I’m not sure what I’m going to make for dinner tonight—Tuesdays are usually dedicated to tacos—but I think it is going to be something that the adults in the house really love. A salad, maybe, to even out all the candy? I can use my vinaigrette dressing as a start. And when my sweet child asks me, plaintively, “WHY SALAD?” I can just give her a hug and remind her that everyone in this house gets to have a favorite dinner once in awhile, and then suggest we break into the trick-or-treat haul for dessert.
*Special note: While I will continue to answer letters/questions every Monday and Thursday, as regularly scheduled, I am hoping to write a fresh post every day of November for #NaBloPoMo. Thanks for joining me!