As my eldest son enters into the age of memory, I often wonder what he will recall in his adulthood, and what parts of our life will slip into the background of memory. Periodically, I hope he won’t remember some things — the times I lose my temper or fail to listen. But oh, I hope he remembers this Halloween. More, I hope that forever after, when he thinks of Halloween the imprint on his imagination will be from this Halloween. It was perfect. I can’t imagine a better one.
Halloween morning started wonderfully. It was an unusually warm and seasonable day, with fast-moving clouds and downright balmy temperatures. While his father and brother slept, Grey and I wandered around our neighborhood, chasing a wind-driven balloon through crunching autumn leaves and chatting with neighbors.
Once the eldest and youngest boys were up, we went to the Middlesex Fells Reservation to go on a hike. We hiked through the autumnal forest, stopping for a snack to reward our efforts, and finally (just past the Doleful Pond) found the playground. The boys laughed with joy on the swings, chased each other through the grass and showed great bravery at the slides.
We went home for lunch and I got a massage. Ok, maybe that wasn’t part of THEIR great day but it was part of MINE.
I made cookies in the kitchen, and when the time came, we woke both boys up from their naps, poured them into their costumes, put a bowl of candy on the front stoop, and headed to our neighbor’s house. We’re completely lucky to have really neat neighbors, with kids that all line up. There’s three boys in the older generation, and then three babies — Thane is the oldest of the babies. The older boys played with sounds that made it seem like at least two of them were in the processes of being killed, Thane bopped between groups, and the littler babies focussed their energies on looking adorable. The grownups had conversation and shared tips and discussed the goings-on of our neighborhood and our busy schedules. Candy was doled out.
Fast clouds crossed the full moon in the warm autumn night air when the boys headed out for their trick-or-treating. The swirl of leaves flickered across the warm glow of jack-o-lanterns and porch lights. As a group, they braved doorbells and held out bags and buckets to receive their chocolatey loot. They returned triumphant from their quests, and generous in their plenty — sharing the fine fruits of their labors with hungry parents. The littlest boy went to bed, and all the babies, and then those grownups of us left got together and played Rock Band while our older sons (can you believe it?) entertained themselves without injury in another room.
When we finally put our chocolate-smudged eldest child into his bed, he was happy to find sleep beneath his nightlights.
What joy, my friends. What joy.