Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It really isn't hallowed

In between the time our jack o'lantern was smashed on the street and when the psych hospital where I was working was forced to overstaff because of cult behaviors by the patients that I lost interest in Halloween. In a time far away, children of appropriate ages would dress up as gypsies, pirates, ghosts, freckle-faced country bumpkins, and whatever other characters might be conceived from their parents closets and imaginations and carry their grocery bags to nearby homes. Friendly neighbors responded to surprise greetings of "Trick or treat!" by dropping candies or an occasional apple in bags that would hopefully survive the night. What excitement when those bags of candy were later dumped on the table at home. What joy to run their hands through their plunder and sort through the various chocolates, suckers, peanut chews, tiny bags of candy corn, bubble gum, and fruit flavored goodies and choosing favorites or those too irresistible to save for later. What stomach aches followed! Yes, Halloween lost its appeal when the creep factor became bigger than the fun factor. When I realized that it isn't all about a little ghoulishness or dressing up and getting candy, and that is in fact for some a celebration of the dark side, I decided it really didn't have to be a special day for me. When the Halloween paraphernalia hits the stores, I pass right by all the scary orange and black displays with nary a penny spent. But when that night comes, and I think of the old days and want to see the costumed children and their sweet little faces, I will give in and dash to the store for candy, that is if I am at home and not out tending the mentally ill, and by darn, I enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

We are all just people

For a while as our children grow into adulthood, it may be that we see them - and that they see us - one dimensionally. I was the mother, authoritative and protective, at times overwhelmed with the resposibility of nurturing these boys to manhood, and discipling in a hopefully loving manner. They were the seedlings, sons of hope and promise. We spent years seeing each other as mother and child. But the child eventually becomes who he is meant to be, young mother continues becoming who she is meant to be, and the relationship calls for readjustments, with both breaking out of that one dimensional view and seeing each other as actual multi-dimensional human beings.

Kahlil Gibran wrote, "Your children are not your own. They are life's longing for itself . . . You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth."

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fitting In

The woman in front of me in the check out line at Publix this afternoon was griping to the cashier about being stuck here in South Carolina thanks to her ex-husband. I could tell by her accent she was from a New England state often known for its former presidents and high taxes. When it was my turn to check out, I offered a joyfully smug comment, " . . . glad to be a Southerner." The sweet, young southern cashier replied, "Why would anybody want to live there anyway!"

Why indeed! It is about home. It is not about which is better, the north or south, Virginia or California. It is about what we know. We long to be where we are at home and comfortable, where we are understood and where we fit in to the culture. Home. It is a matter of the heart, learned from parents, schools and playmates, defining who we are. I wouldn't expect the shopper to act as if she likes it here. That would be too southern!