Thursday, November 1, 2007

I never thought I'd say this but . . .

. . . as an adult, I take Halloween for granted.

I didn't it for granted as a child. In fact, I have so many memories of enjoying Halloween as a youngster. A big party at the Morgan's house with all of my close family friends. Cider, soup and lots and lots of treats. Trick-or-treating in the cold and rain with our dads while our moms stayed dry and warm at home. Heading up to Melissa's room upon our return to unload our loot and make trades for our favorites.

Now, however, Halloween is stressful. Yesterday, for example, as the Room Parent for my son's class, I was in charge of the classroom Halloween party. The other parents were amazingly helpful and we pulled off a party that certainly pleased the kids. After cleaning up I ran home to get ready for the annual Halloween party I hold at my house. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to host. The Morgans come, as a salute to the Halloweens we shared so long ago, as do so many other wonderful family friends. It is fantastic to see all the kids running around together in their costumes and how happy they are when they come back to the house with buckets full of candy. It is especially wonderful to see my son trading candy with the kids of the kids I used to trade with.

Yet Halloween means I wind up hosting a party, usually on a weeknight, after a long day of work. The set up, the clean up. It all takes energy.

But a repairman who came by to fix my oven today altered my views of Halloween, and so many other things, with just a few words and now my days of whining about the effort and taking Halloween for granted are officially over.

As this repairman walked into my house he commented on the basket of leftover candy by the front door. "Oh candy!" he said.

"Yep," I responded, eager for him to just get to work.

He continued, "I promised my kids that I'd take them out last night, but my company kept sending me calls. I didn't get home until 8:45 and it was too late. They were so sad. I felt terrible, but there was nothing I could do. I asked the dispatcher to let me go home and be with them, but there were too many calls. I won't get home until 8:45 again tonight."

How naive of me to think that everyone could celebrate Halloween. I know people struggle on Christmas, but Halloween's not about a slew of gifts sitting under a costly tree, right? It is just about collecting free candy from your neighbors. But free candy is hard to come by if you aren't old enough to trick-or-treat on your own and must rely on a hard-working parent to take you out. The thought of these kids not getting the chance to go house-to-house collecting candy as I did as a kid, as my son does now, as most of the other children in their classes did, broke my heart.

I immediately started to bag up any and all leftover candy in our house and sent it home with the repairman for his kids. And what a small gesture on my part considering how many opportunities are available for us to help others less fortunate. Meeting this ma was a good reminder about how blessed I am and how it is my duty to give back whenever I can.

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