Sometimes, I feel like I am battling alone.
Take today, for example. You know that I’m no Halloween lover. We have always had a rule that if (IF!) we were going to allow the children to go out in the neighborhood for All Hallow’s Eve, they would be dressed as angels or saints – as some sort of a visable sign of light in the proverbial (and eventually literal) darkness. It’s actually been really neat to hear my children’s responses to folks’ age-old Halloween question as they open their front door: “And who might you be?” We’ve had smiles, questions, and, generally speaking, friendly comments to their responses of “St. John the Baptist,” “St. Queen Margaret of Scotland,” ” St. Francis of Assisi,” etc.
This year, we just haven’t been able to get anything together. Between working and a non-sleeping infant and a few different ailments that have kept us off our “A” game, there are no costumes. And tomorrow is Halloween.
Honestly, I would prefer that my kids have a Harvest Party, or Holyween Party, or messy activities involving apples and caramel and leaf bouquets – ANYTHING other than going out and being subject to the ghouls and goblins and other junk that’s out there. However, again, as I said, we don’t have anything together. And they – the kids – know it.
So, this afternoon comes time for the conversation with hubby – what are we going to do for Halloween? It’s the day before and we’re – deep breath yet no surprise here – unprepared.
We’re unprepared for responding to the genuinely nice invitation from the classmate’s Mom inviting our eldest out to trick-or-treat. We’re unprepared to come to consensus on whether they can trick-or-treat at all this year. We’re unprepared to follow through on our own years-old rule. We’re just flat out tired. And unprepared.
Because of the illness factor, we did “split shifts” for Mass today, and I took the older girls to the Youth Mass with me. The Gospel hit me like a ton of bricks. In it, Jesus is talking about how hypocritical the Pharisees are:
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
Lord, are you kidding me?? In my post about Halloween, I know I said something about praying before allowing our kids to even go around the block. I was pretty much asking – begging – people – friends and perfect strangers alike – to push back against the tide of consumerism, peer pressure, and cultural norms and tell the whole Halloween thing to take a hike. And now I’m weak. And I am unprepared. And I don’t know if I can push back against it by myself this year.
Because sometimes I feel like I’m battling alone.
So … I am potentially a Pharisee and a hypocrite. Both.
After the back and forth of conversation this afternoon, I am thisclose to breaking my own rule. I was really trying to hold out, but I wasn’t getting the support I needed from my husband. He was okay with them being princesses and football players – just this year. THEY were fine with being princesses and football players – just this year. “Sure, kids – go out in the streets as princesses and football players, since those are the only dress-up things we have that aren’t ripped to shreds. We’ll come with you. We won’t let you go to the really spooky-looking houses, but you’ve already seen them by the time we hurriedly escort you by …”
My last ditch effort of desperate soul shielding this afternoon went something like, “Can’t they all wear red and each have a letter? They could be L-O-V-E. Or – I know! They could wear white and be L-I-G-H-T. I would be “T.” The eldest actually cried – CRIED at this idea. You see, Dad had really, truly almost already sounded like he was letting her be a princess this year.
I know there are a TON of people who would think – what is the BIG DEAL?? So what? Your kids go out and they get candy and they have fun – it’s not like they’ll be dressing like witches or vampires, zombies or skeletons. Quit being such a whiny, uptight, rigid, religious, fanatical, stick-in-the-mud already, and let your kids be kids!!
Yup. That’s me. I am uptight, rigid, religious, fanatical, and possibly on this point – a stick-in-the-mud – about this. Because it’s their souls. And I’m the one who has to answer for those.
Everyone is welcome to my house for HOLYWEEN next year. Sigh. Still not sure about what will happen this year.
Since I don’t want to be a COMPLETE downer, tomorrow (when I most assuredly will have my aforementioned yet erstwhile missing “A” game back) I’ll post a wonderful picture of my eldest from All Hallow’s Eve a couple of years ago. She was determined to be St. Francis of Assisi. And, for all those who opened the door to her smiling face that crisp Autumnal night, she was.