Susan's Blog

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Mother of boys
Shepherd of toys.
Collector of lace,
Endowed of face.
–Ned, to me, on our 9th anniversary

Tonight, even though it is around sixty degrees, it feels like fall. It is Halloween, which used to be my favorite holiday as a child. I remember once getting a really great costume together, a gypsy. I had on all kinds of scarves and schmattas, and a gold hoop earring and a bandana. I looked fantastic. I was probably around seven. I figured, if I could just keep this on until Halloween, I would have the perfect costume, no last-minute panicking.

The only problem was, it was only September. Mom said I couldn’t wear the costume that long. So now, I spend the rest of my life trying to find opportunities to wear great costumes! Sadly, for women of a certain age, there are too few.

I haven’t really loved Halloween as a mom. That’s because none of my kids love it the way I did. I find it hard to relate to their indifference. They don’t care that much about candy(!); they don’t care that much about dressing up(!). It starts earlier and earlier and ends earlier and earlier every year.

Nat never really got Halloween. This used to make me miserable. I remember trying to get him to say, “Trick or treat,” and to wait to be told to take candy. It was so hard for him! Plus not eating it until we got home! Crazy stuff. But really, there was one year when he was around nine and I went with him and Baby Benj around the neighborhood, and perhaps Max was with us, too, with tons of friends and their parents. I had a lump in my throat the whole time, which threatened to burst into an ugly mess of tears at any moment. Nat’s different-ness and his utter indifference to what was going on made me feel as if I were living as two selves at once: the happy mom accompanying her three lovely boys out on Halloween, reminding them to say “thank you,” and the sad broken-hearted mom wishing that things would just for once go the way I had expected them to. The one child I could relate to — Max — was already lightyears beyond us, surrounded by admirers who wanted him with them, leaving me behind with my angry baby who hated even his very first costume (a peapod sleeper). And of course Nat, who was so spacey and seemed only to want to get home.

I don’t know why I was so sad back then. Who cares about that shit? Now I wish I had little boys again just because they’re so cute!!!

I am just glad that I’m not miserable anymore. At last I have settled into my role of mother (in general and specific to Halloween) rather than participant, waiting back home while whichever of my men go out and get their candy. This time Nat and Max both stayed home — Max is on the phone, of course, and Nat hung out and ate candy from my stash.

I seem to be getting a huge thrill out of just opening the door to the little people who come by dressed as always — fairies, ghouls, firemen, Minnie Mouse, and of course, gypsies/pirates — and entirely excited over the increasingly tiny bars of candy we hand out. I have lit candles and plugged in my birthday lights and I’m wearing a velvet top that looks Elizabethan, and a velvet choker — my nod to the old Susan. And as Dido would say, “It’s not so bad, it’s not so bad.”

And just as I finish this, before I can even press “publish post,” the phone rings, and it’s my friend Lisa asking me to go to the Middle East with her tonight for some Halloween fun and we’re dressing up! I’ll go as …? Not a bellydancer!!!! But something girlie.

Life is always full of happy surprises, just around the corner, or in this case, across the river.


Ooh, I have always wanted to have a velvet choker! (Strange ambition I know but there it is.) Where did you get yours?

— added by Nancy Bea Miller on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 8:01 pm

i bought it for my mom when i was a teen and she kept it, and gave it to me!

— added by Susan Senator on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 8:28 pm

Oh Susan! Your velvet choker sounds delectable! I know exactly what you mean. My little guy, Sam, totally hates his costume every year, and is in sensory overstimulation hell until the offending outfit comes off! This year, though, he was collecting for UNICEF, and told everyone he encountered that “6 cents means fresh water for children who have never had that!” That alone would have MADE Halloween; but, even better, some 5th graders who know Max as “the disabled kid” in their class totally asked how he was enjoying Halloween when they came trolling for candy this evening! They were actually disappointed when I said he was still out trick-or-treating with dad and not available to say “hi”. This is a first for us. Maybe Max doesn’t care, but his classmates’ friendly overtures made a huge impression on me! Happy belated birthday, and happy November!
Your friend, TPeacock(aka: “anonymous”)

— added by Anonymous on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 9:40 pm

Hi Susan,

I often read your blog, almost never post a comment (didn’t you disable comments for awhile?). Anyway, the story about trick or treating with your kids when Nat was 9 is very touching. I’m sure many can relate. I’m happy you’ve been able to move beyond those sad feelings (at least most of the time) and continue to do your best for Nat, Max and Ben no matter what life throws at you.

— added by Tim on Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 10:07 pm

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