2017 marks the first Halloween on record that I failed to take a single picture of my costume-wearing spawn.
I’m living in a new continuum of time that I’ve decided to call ‘The Blur.’ Sure, all of parenting, all of life, really, could be described as a blur of days folding into one another punctuated by a series of identical, repetitive tasks: cooking, cleaning, showering, getting dressed, brushing teeth, with an ever evolving cast of characters hovering in the background.
But ‘The Blur’ differs from ‘the other blur’ in that any hint of definition or shape that previously clung to time in the form of days or months or years gives way and all that remains is: BusySleepBusySleepBusySleepBusySleep. You might be living in The Blur if you, a previously thoughtful person who remembered significant dates in people’s lives without trying, find yourself relying on Instagram’s prompting to deliver appropriate event-related greetings.
She’s blowing out a candle on a donut. Crap it’s her birthday. But her birthday is not until October. Crap it’s October. Happy birthday!!!
You might be living in The Blur if you race to drop off your middle son (on time!!!) for basketball practice, only to discover, after running into a gym filled with kids you don’t recognize that you’ve driven him to the location where his younger brother is scheduled to practice…the next day.
Another tell-tale sign you’re living in The Blur: multiple calendar engagements….on the same day….at the same time.
‘So, on Saturday, how are you going to be in three places at once,’ the professor asked, mildly curious, before boarding another plane to somewhere.
‘I don’t know,’ I replied. Partly because I couldn’t even remember what the three things in question were. And partly because I do not know how to achieve being-in-three-places-at-once without Hermione Granger’s time turner. But ultimately, that was Saturday’s problem. And Saturday was still four days away. First, I had to deal with the very real problem of Halloween; specifically the lack of costumes for my children, the lack of treats for trick or treaters, the lack of carved pumpkins…..THE LACK.
If anything, The Blur is
teaching forcing me to live minute by minute.
October 31st arrived and maybe it was a morning we all woke up on time, or maybe we woke up with 20 minutes before 3 boys had to be out the door. Who can recall? Both those scenarios happened this week. Naturally Percy decided he wanted to wear a costume to school (see previous comment about lack of costumes) and the Hen declared I needed to bring snacks for his class’ Halloween party and also could he take a board game to school?
In the span of ten minutes, sandwiches were thrown into lunch kits, one kid was running around looking for baseball pants (no costume=wear last year’s baseball uniform), another kid was stuffing a dilapidated box of Monopoly into an ill-fitting shopping bag while Properties and Community Chest cards fell to the floor. Good thing I’m not anal retentive about keeping board game components together, oh wait, I am.
‘I’ll just be Alvin again,’ the Hen decided when pressed for the fourth time about what costume he might wear for trick or treating. This could have been welcome news – (re)wearing an old costume – if only I hadn’t gotten rid of all the old costumes in yet another Marie Kondo-fuelled attempt to minimize clutter. I made a mental note to buy a red hoodie and yellow ducktape from somewhere between the hours of 11 and 2. While out buying treats for the trick or treaters, and standing in line at the Costco Tire Center to make an appointment about my perpetually flat tire.
‘Is it a slow leak?’
‘Come Saturday at 12.’
Aha! That’s the third thing I have to do on Saturday between 11-12.
I arrived home with just enough time to tape a giant, yellow A onto a red fleece sweatshirt before the bell rang at the boys’ school. ‘When can we carve pumpkins,’ they asked surveying the three misshapen orange orbs waiting on the dining table. ‘Um, now? I have 20 minutes before my piano lesson.’
They drew black shapes onto their respective pumpkins and I did what I could to honor their ‘designs’ with a kitchen knife. Neither the worst, nor the best Halloween pumpkins that ever lived, but at least they were carved and would entice eight trick or treaters to knock on my door and collect a bag of veggie chips.
‘Really, mom,’ the Gort rolled his eyes at the sight of my Veggie Straws. ‘Now, we’re that house?!’
As soon as the piano lesson ended, I summoned Alvin – ‘We need to go!’ – handing him a bowl of mashed potatoes and stew to consume in the car while we dropped off food for friends en route to his trick or treating destination. ‘What about the paint for my nose and whiskers?’ I ran to the bathroom to grab an eyeliner pencil and threw it in my purse before heading out the door with two precariously full Corningware containers filled with potatoes and stew.
Stew dribbled out of the containers, through the Costco cardboard box intended to keep them upright, onto the front seat of the van. My car smelled like meat. It was raining and the roads were clogged with traffic. I took a shortcut in an attempt to avoid sitting on the freeway for 20 minutes. This led to a slightly divergent drive around a neighborhood of traffic circles and playgrounds and cookie cutter houses that had me despairing I might never find the Hen’s friend’s house.
‘What about my face paint,’ the Hen reminded when we finally pulled up to the house. I drew a dark brown triangle on his nose and four stripes on either side of his mouth. Ta-da.
I drove home, ate half a bowl of cold potatoes and stew and began cleaning up the chaos.
My sister sent me a photo of her kids, standing on green grass, wearing sweaters over their [legitimate] costumes
‘Where’s your troop?’ she asked, undoubtedly expecting a similar photo featuring my offspring.