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Take a deep breath. Blow it out. Good. Now take another.

That’s what I’ve been doing since returning from trick or treating: reminding myself to live in the moment and breathe. It’s remarkably hard to make myself do this – I tend to get caught up in the details when I ought to be focusing on the big picture.

Last night, instead of enjoying what is likely to be my last trick or treating adventure with Large (he’ll be choosing friends over family all too soon), I was obsessed with Small.

“Did you say, ‘Thank you’?”

“Slow down. Wait for the rest of our group!”

“Freeze means don’t move a muscle. It does not mean walk slower!”

“Stay on the sidewalk!”

“You don’t always have to be first.”

“Wait for your cousins!”

“Have we lost your sister?”

“I didn’t hear a ‘Thank you.'”

I was already teetering on the brink of sanity by the time Large tattled on Small: “Mom, Henry got a granola bar at that house and he said, ‘What the heck is this?’ instead of, you know, ‘Thanks.'”

When the kindling is dry, it doesn’t take much.

I pulled Small aside and scolded him. He was sullen, as most people are in the face of direct criticism and a strongly worded reprimand. I kept him back from two houses and under the pressure of my scowl, he promised to do better.

He’s excited, I told myself as he ran off. Don’t ruin his Halloween.

He bounced back, remembering to thank a whopping 60% of the candy distributors at the rest of the houses we hit and refraining from running over his younger cousins. But I didn’t. My grump cloaked me as thoroughly as Medium’s vampire cape. I couldn’t wait to get home.

My heart hurts at my own idiocy. Why do I let the little things bother me so much? Why can’t I enjoy the moment more?

I’ve got a year to redeem myself. You’ll remind me, won’t you?

CVS mask plus contact paper and packing tape

Our little goth girl.









Small goes for realism.




Small has his heart set on a being a bad guy this Halloween. He wants to be a Goomba.

“A what?” I asked.

“Mom, they’re the little mushroom guyth on Thuper Mario Brotherth.”

I hadn’t a clue. Showing more patience with me than I often do with him, he flipped open our Nintendo DS (yes, we have one – I relaxed my stance on hand-held video devices after the kids saved their allowances for three months to buy one).

“Look, I’ll show you,” he said.

Thanks to the internet and an inspired mom who blogs at What I Made Today, I now know exactly how to turn Henry into the creature of his dreams.

As soon as his father came home, Henry danced over, exclaiming, “I get to be a Goomba for trick or treat!”

Brendan shot a confused look over at me then scraped the backs of his fingers under his chin in a gesture he must have picked up in college. “He’s gonna be a mobster for Halloween?”

“A mon-ster, Daddy,” Henry corrected. “A Goomba monster!”

I think the mobster costume might be easier to make.

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