For the first time in four years, Ellis is with his dad instead of me on Halloween. Charlie whose words include "Hi," "ear" and sometimes "puppet" when he's playing with Ellis's finger puppet and he repeats the word after me, doesn't know that Saturday is Halloween. What this means for me is no trick-or-treating, no costume purchasing, and no candy in the house to counteract my workouts. I am taking a year off. I think if I never got a chance to do these things with the kids, I would be sad, but one of my main mom policies is that if the kid says he wants to do something we try our best to do it, but if no one says a word about it or I'm not on duty when it happens, I take the opportunity to let it go. It's this letting go that makes it possible for me to feel that the fun stuff is actually fun.
All this makes me think about holidays. Starting now and into the dead of winter it will be one thing after another. I'm sure that the idea behind having holidays when the days were growing short and cold was meant to be a way to take the edge off the bleakness. Unfortunately, the chance to celebrate and take a break is often replaced by expending energy and cash in large amounts at the exact wrong time of the year. About five years ago, I made it a policy not to travel to see relatives during the holidays and not to buy presents for anyone who was not my child. In the void grew a series of traditions for my own little family that really amount to enjoying time off at the darkest lowest energy point of the year. Furthermore, what I find is that because I don't feel like I have to do anything, my feelings of love and generosity are actually able to surface and we have had some of the most fun Halloweens, Thanksgivings and Christmases that I have ever had (although the bar was pretty low on that one as most of my childhood memories of these days are not so fond).
So here's to the beginning of the season of slacking and snoozing and eating and loving and numerous other non-goal-oriented, non-perfection-driven things.