You know, parenting is funny. Parenting through the holidays is hilarious. Maybe kind of also maddening. Sometimes you have to laugh at yourself, suck it up, and parent even when you’re tired or bored or annoyed.

Listen, I don’t really enjoy carving pumpkins. I struggle with making any shapes come out how I want them to, and despite acquiring some arm strength over the past year, it still feels like I’m lifting all the weights. Ever. No more weights left to lift. But just with my right arm, because carving with my left hand would end poorly.

And it’s not even the carving that’s bothersome. You’d assume that an almost ten-year-old can successfully clean out his pumpkin with a combination of a metal spoon and, you know, hands. But no. And so he asks, and I oblige, because what mother doesn’t help her son clean out his pumpkin when he asks? And by help, I mean that I do most of the cleaning while he stands next to me talking about Minecraft while I stick my hands in the seedy, slimy goop.

The boys designed the faces themselves, and my husband drew them onto the pumpkins, getting their okay before any carving began. Of course, before any carving began, the boys were no longer in the dining room, and it was just the two of us shaking the table while carving pumpkins and thus messing up the other’s progress. We looked at each other and just laughed.


And we’ll do it next year. And for however many years it takes afterward until they can wield knives and cut (mis)shape(n) pictures in their pumpkins. We’ll help for as long as we need to, so we can take our pumpkins outside, light tea candles, and marvel at our family of jack-o-lanterns in the darkness. And as the boys run back inside, the two who did the majority of the work will pull each other close and exchange kisses under the nearly full moon.

Now that’s a tradition I can get behind.

Holidays Photography

Conversations While Trick-or-Treating, 2014

Trick or Treat Night, 2014

He came running through a yard, feet crunching on the leaves in the grass.


“Yes, Booey?”

“I got a Heath bar! Do you want it?”

“Yes. Yes I do.”

Trick or Treat Night, 2014

— __ — __ —

Trick or Treat Night, 2014

“Mommy, that means there are two scary chainsaw guys. This one and the one down by our house.”

“No, Buddy. He used to live down by us, but he lives over here now.”

“Nope. There will be two.”

There was only one creepy Michael, but he was certainly enough.



[For more pictures of these costumes that I didn’t pick, read this post I wrote about the Infinite Sadness of Halloween.]