Nov 02 2006

My favorite line from Halloween

My 4 year old nephew, Spencer (who was a very cool “bat who is a vampire”), was at a door trick-or-treating. The homeowner was very generously giving out full-size candy bars. Spencer’s eyes were gleaming as he gazed at the huge candies on display. My Mom said “Wow, Spence. What do you say?” Spencer: “Can I have one of each?”

Don’t you love the innocent greediness of kids?

The lady let him have two. When we got into the car to go home, I told him that he could choose one candy to eat during the ride. He reached his hand into his pumpkin sack and, when I asked him if he had chosen which one, he said “YES!” and pulled out a giant Baby Ruth. I told him that that one counted as several candies and that he had to choose another, carefully pulling out everything I didn’t want him to have as I spoke. (I ended up having to take that candy bar away because it was open on one end. He was very brave about it) He chose a little box of Dots and was very adorable with how he explained to us that each one tasted different and that he had seen those candies before but had never tried them and now he was very glad to know what they were because he never knew that before and always wondered (whew!).

I miss that- the new discoveries and experiences of childhood. I’m glad that I now have children around through whom I can live vicariously to experience that wonder again. Unfortunately, it also means that I have to experience the pain again. Spencer was running around on Halloween, trying to break into other groups of kids and make friends. He was rejected time and again. It made me realize that those wounds of rejection and the pain of friendless lonliness from my childhood are still very raw, even so long after. That shit sticks with you. I saw Spencer being so friendly and trying so hard and it was all I could do not to cry. I want better for him and for Cole. I want the pain that I went through to be enough for them, too. I want to have pre-paid for them so that they don’t have to feel it.

And so now I’m seeing what it means to be a parent. Besides all of the responsibilities and no sleep and expenses and all of those other things that you can partially foresee, it also means that you feel every blow and every triumph. It means that you go through childhood again. And, if your childhood was rough, it can be like a nightmare. I’ll feel all of the hurt that Cole feels, but not be able to do anything about it but just be there for him when/if he needs me.

I didn’t mean for this to turn melancholy. Actually, I was only going to tell you about that funny thing that Spencer said.

The next morning, Spencer woke up and had peed in his nighttime diaper. He was embarrassed about it and decided to hide it from my parents by flushing the diaper down the toilet. The water reached into the hall, my Dad’s room, under the wall into his closet, into the guest room, and into the front hall. They had to rip up all of the carpet and padding so that the subfloor wouldn’t warp. Luckily, they have had the carpet since the house was built, roughly 23 years ago, and were getting ready to replace it all after the new year. Spencer was so upset about what he had done, he rolled himself in a little ball, crying and saying that he was bad over and over. Poor guy. He’s not a bad kid. He’s a great kid. But he’s a KID. He does dumb stuff because he doesn’t understand all of the consequences yet. I wish I could give him all of the knowledge I have so that he can make better choices now.

And that’s what my parents always tried to do and I hated it. So I’ll just be there for all of “my” kids- Cole, Spencer, Haylee, and Taylor. I love you all and I’d do anything to give you a life without pain, but I’m afraid that means no life at all. So, pain it will be, but I hope only in small doses, and I’ll always try to be here to kiss it and make it better.