I know you’ll all find this hard to believe, but, with Halloween still more than a week away, I AM FINISHED THE HALLOWEEN COSTUMES! And they are good. Martha Stewart good. “Mom you ROCK!” good. Try-them-on-a-dozen-times-a-day-just-so-you-can-stare-at-yourself-in-the-mirror good. I am basking in the glow. For the first time in thirteen years, I will NOT be huddled over a sewing machine at midnight on October 30th. (Sorry Accidental Seamstress if I’ve left you feeling abandoned.)
Twenty years from now, when my children are grown, it’s what they’ll talk about. “Remember the costumes mom used to make? The sheep? The monkey? The fairy princess complete with gossamer wings? The elephant? The Campbell’s Soup can?” “Yeah, she was a little crazy/obsessed/single-minded two weeks before Halloween, but MAN did we have good costumes!”
It’s what I do. I make good costumes. Once a year, I get to rock their socks off. Dig deep into my psyche and you’ll probably discover that it’s really about me trying to compensate for all of my other failings as a parent, but I’m not about to visit a shrink to find that out. I’ll just sew. And glue. And cut. And then send them off into the streets to wow their friends and beg for candy.
Truthfully, I didn’t think the glue gun would become a once-a-year tool. I used to spend a lot of time creating things – all kinds of things from leather moccasins to dried flower arrangements to hand-painted Christmas ornaments – before I had kids. When I started having kids, I thought I would be one of those moms who would forever be hauling out paints and feathers and little bits of fabric and spending many magical afternoons creating things with my fanciful, imaginative children. That was before reality set it. It turns out I’m not really very fond of the mixture of children and paints and feathers and little bits of fabric. It turns out that it’s an awful lot of work to create – and more importantly clean up the messes – with your children. And it turns out that a full time job on top of motherhood doesn’t leave a lot of time for magical art-filled afternoons. Some days just keeping them fed seems beyond my capacity.
Nope – I didn’t live up to my own expectations. It’s not that I never do art projects with them, it’s just that I haven’t been as committed to it as I’d anticipated. But what I still do, despite the years it nearly led to a nervous breakdown, is make good costumes. And sometimes, in this obstacle course called parenting, there’s such a thing as “close enough”.