Spider Pies

These creepy little pies were a big hit for Halloween.  Essentially they are just whoopie pies with licorice for the legs.  To save time, I used a cake mix and pre-made icing.  I’m sure if I had made them from scratch they would have tasted much better.

This is Hermione and Snow White showing off the plate of pies we made.

This is a column I wrote for the Signal Mountain Mirror in October.

My Heart Dressed as Harry Potter

“My heart rode away on the school bus this morning to kindergarten.”

When I read this post on my friend’s Facebook page, I had to stop and pause.  If my guitar had been close by, I might have pulled it out and started writing the next best country song…ever.  The line made me smile and sort of want to cry at the same time, mostly because I understood exactly the emotions my friend felt as her oldest son headed to school for the first time.

Another friend of mine recently drove cross-country to take her daughter to her freshman orientation. As she sat at the opening convocation, she said she had to force herself to look around at the people sitting next to her or the trees, anything to distract her from crying.  Like my friend whose heart was riding the bus, this friend’s heart was partially torn out of her and now resides in Puget Sound, thousands of miles away.

I am learning that this is the way it is with parenting.

I have heard older and wiser parents say that each new stage in a child’s life brings its own ups and downs.  The potty training woes of the toddler years become the homework and spelling tests of the elementary days, which become the social dramas of high school and so on.  Parenting trials never ever end.  The good news is, of course, that neither do the joys.

Another friend of mine recently posted on her Facebook wall a conversation her 5 year old had with her 3-year-old brother.  It went something like,

“Hey, don’t worry that I broke your (toy) truck.  I can fix anything now that I am in Kindergarten.”

I believe my children who are now five and seven, have reached a wonderfully magical age.  I say magical because they have arrived at what seems to be a perfect spot where they are more independent than ever, and yet they still love to sit in my lap and cuddle or hold my hand.  In short, the ups of this stage seem to outweigh the downs, and I am trying to really savor the everyday moments.

That is not to say that I don’t miss the heck out of the sweet baby days. I do frequently long for their sweet bald heads and chubby fingers.  I miss holding their small bodies that easily fit on my hip.  At the same time, I don’t miss the exhaustion and unpredictability that those days brought. This new stage, at least right now, seems to be full of delight and wonder.

Halloween is this month and what better time to celebrate the wonder of parenting and childhood than on this night when children dressed as creatures of all kinds emerge.  I have always loved this holiday, although I have to admit that certain aspects, such as helping my kids choose and sometimes create their costumes, can make me a little crazy.

Last year, for example, my son insisted on dressing as “the most frightening creature ever,” and even polled friends and family members to get their take on who or what that creature might be.  I had no problem with his idea until he announced that he was going to dress as Freddy Kruger from Nightmare on Elm Street (he must have talked to someone over the age of 35). Of course, my husband and I refused to let him go as any character from a horror film.  After all, this same boy still gets frightened by the sharks in Finding Nemo, and has never seen anything scarier than Star Wars.  Our compromise was that he could dress as a Death Eater from Harry Potter as long as he made the costume himself, which he did.

This year, he plans to go as another character from Harry Potter, but this time he has decided he doesn’t have to be so scary which is a relief to me.

Though Halloween is a favorite for our family, it is also a bit treaty, I mean tricky.  Since it almost always falls on a school day, finding the time in the afternoon to get ready, eat a quick dinner and then visit family members before heading out to trick-or-treat only to discover that it is already 8:30 and time for bed, can be a challenge.  But I have to remind myself that it only comes once a year, and it is so much fun, especially for my kids.

This Halloween, as we walk from house to house clutching flashlights, laughing with neighbors, and eating enough candy to make us all sick, I will remind myself to soak it all up because I know it won’t be long before my kids will want to spend this special night with just their friends.

Yes, on this night, I will be thrilled to have my heart, sack of candy in one hand and a Nimbus 2000 in the other, right by my side.

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