Another mom who was eavesdropping leaned in conspiratorially, "Well, that's going to be a blog entry."
Have I become that transparent? Because, yes, when I heard sweetened with beet juice I immediately filed it away. It's a brilliant mommy moment. Probably only intensified by the fact that never in a thousand years would I consider special ordering lollies that weren't chalk full of sugar. To wit: Sebastian's fifth birthday was bug-themed, and each child left with a goody bag which included a lollipop that resembled hardened amber with an honest to goodness grasshopper caught inside. Maybe that speaks to my character: grasshopper/heaps of sugar, yes; organic/beet juice, no.
Maxie's school celebrated Halloween by going Trunk or Treat. On Friday the kids came to school dressed in costume and paraded in the school's parking lot where they trick-or-treated from some of the parents' car trunks and hatchbacks. Michael and I decided at the last minute we'd participate. After dropping Sebastian off at school, Michael was going to zip to Target, pick up a bag of discount candy and then hustle on over to Maxie's school. Luckily, I drove Maxie to school early, and saw not only were all the parking places taken, but the parents had decorated their trunks with cobwebs, police tape, witch's cauldrons and Styrofoam headstones, AND they were all in costume. (I often forget that we live in the land of set dressers, makeup artists, prop masters and costume designers, and they take their work very seriously.) I quickly speed dialed Michael and yelled into his ear, "Abort mission! Repeat. Abort! We've once again underachieved and if you bring crappy candy we'll look really, really stupid. For the love of Herman Munster, ABORT!"
I'm just going to have to face facts, I'm not a mom who goes the extra distance. I'm a last minute Christmas/birthday present shopper and often times I regift from the back of our closet. I wish I was better at remembering significant dates, better at picking up meaningful thank you gifts, sending heartfelt cards and making casseroles, but it doesn't seem to be in my DNA.
Now, let's pick apart how I shortchanged Halloween...
I was not only content to buy the jumbo mixed bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Malted Milk Balls and Kit Kats, I felt accomplished in doing so. Our neighbor, however, created gift bags stenciled with the kids' names, and in them were toys, stickers and chocolates from Belgium.
Sebastian's school promoted homemade costumes, but we took the easy way out. Michael pointed the kids towards a rack of clothes and said go. Sebastian chose Wolfman, Maxie chose Ariel, both store bought, both made of flammable acetate. Maxie's best friend also went as Ariel, however her costume was painstakingly homemade; it was diaphanous blue and it draped beautifully with seashells hand stitched across the bodice.
And lastly, our stoop was pathetic. Of our four pumpkins only two were carved. And cheap cobwebs from the 99 Cent Store hung unsuccessfully, looking like cotton turds. The house a couple of blocks down did a twenty-two minute Michael Jackson tribute show on the hour. In front of a huge screen with Michael doing Thriller, professional dancers performed the same moves.
It's hard not to feel small.
Come to think of it, we were so late getting this year's pumpkins, costumes and candy that all of our Halloween paraphernalia was already marked down at a discount. Once again, picking through the dregs. When Bash was two, the only costumes available were an elephant and a Powerpuff Girl. (I chose pachyderm over Powerpuff.) It was a bit small, and when he put it on the trunk stood straight in the air like a misplaced erection. To this day, when my husband wants to illistrate my last minute behavior, he will cite this example.
Here's the thing... I'm not like the mom who is concerned about the contents of the candy she hands out. Nor am I like the mom across the street, who went to the ends of the Earth to fulfill her sixth grade daughter's unusual desire to be Dolly Levi for Halloween. That's right, the matchmaker from the musical Hello Dolly! made famous by Carol Channing on Broadway, La Streisand in the flick. The choice may have been peculiar, but the costume was impeccable. And I'm definitely not like the mom from around the corner who threw together a Halloween party at the last moment. The house was artfully decorated with witches and candles and masks, picante pumpkin soup simmered on the stove, and spooky sound effects played as kids bobbed for apples.
And not to reflect every exemplary mommy moment back onto my own novice mommy skills, but deep down, I do long to go the distance. Maybe it's baby steps. Last year, we didn't have 99 cent cobweb turds. Maybe next year I'll shoot for the candy bowl with the moving skeleton hand.