Halloween 2019: We can fly!

Y’all know that Halloween is my fave holiday, right. (Just search the keyword in my blog if you don’t believe me.)

It’s the best, really. It’s that one day when you get to dress up like someone else, even act like someone (or something) else, and you get to parade around and get free candy and you don’t have to buy gifts for people or sit on some fat guy’s lap.

Earlier this year, when I was starting to plan for costumes, I figured my 5 year old might have more of an opinion and that our days of me being able to pick out family costumes were over. I know the year will eventually come, but THIS, my friends, WAS NOT THAT YEAR.

Both my kids were super agreeable to a family-themed costume again this year, and so I gave the kids a choice between The Incredibles and Peter Pan. We had other ideas in the running, but these two were 1) movies the kids had seen, and 2) costumes that were easy enough for me to put together, because mama don’t do pre-packaged costumes if I can help it. The kids chose Peter Pan, and we were all very excited!

One of my favorite tales of all time.

Daddy was Captain Hook, and he had a lot of fun putting his costume together. Most of the pieces were from Amazon, a few from Goodwill, the sword from the Halloween store, and some frills dug out of the costume box from previous costumes (the feather for his hat, the sash around his waist, the lace at his wrists). One kid even came up to him and asked if he was Captain Hook. “Yar, you be right!” he replied. The kid then asked, wide-eyed: “…the real one?!” Priceless.

I was Wendy Moira Angela Darling, and my costume was the most boring of the group, but I still had fun. My dress was from Goodwill, and I used ribbon for the trim around my waist and the bow in my hair.

My oldest was Peter, and I had fun making his costume. Like I’ve done in previous years, I ordered the exact shades of green clothing from Primary. His shirt is actually a dress that I cut up. My mom made his felt hat and felt booties that covered his normal shoes, also his fabric belt. His dagger was from the Halloween store, “because I want to sword fight with Daddy!”

My baby girl was Tinker Bell, “I can FWHY!” We already owned her Tink dress for dress-up, so that was a no-brainer. I found her wings at Goodwill (which matched PERFECTLY) for two bucks (!). I got her ballet flats at Target and my mom made the fuzzy white poof balls that I just pinned to the shoes. The finishing touch was figuring out how to form her thin hair into the smallest cutesy bun, and I let her wear some pretty pink blush on her cheeks. I really wanted to add some glitter “fairy dust” to her hair and/or face, but restrained myself. My present self thanks my Halloween self. It would have been super cute though.

…second star to the right and straight on til morning!!!

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My Happy Thought

Robin Williams died on my son’s due date.

I loved this guy.  I loved his work.  I went through the stages of grief when I found out – starting with disbelief, of course.  I was (and still am) so sad that depression took this very talented human being from us.

After Robin’s death, in watching all the memorials on the news and daytime TV, and in seeing all the clips strung together on Facebook, I started counting all of his movies that touched me, that I grew up with.  It’s a lot.  His movies were so emotional; I’ve long known that his were the ones I went to when I needed to tweak my mood – which usually meant inducing tears and reconfirming my faith in the human spirit.

In going through my movie collection, I realized I didn’t own one of my absolute favorite Robin Williams movies – Hook – so I bought it and ended up watching it soon after my son was born.

I absolutely adore the story of Peter Pan.  There isn’t a more fabulous story that captures the sheer joy and adventure it is to be young and to remind us that we can always go back to Neverland in our hearts (second star to the right and straight on til morning) whenever we want.

In re-watching Hook, I was prepared to feel that joy and excitement that comes with the story, and I was also prepared to feel sad that the person I was watching who was once so full of life and youthful glee was now gone.

What I wasn’t prepared for was my new reaction to the story now that I am a parent.

Remember the scene where Captain Hook starts teaching Pan’s kids about how parents hate their children?  He very eloquently describes how kids’ whining and demands (“He took my toy! She hit my bear! I want a potty! I want a cookie! I want to stay up! I want, I want, I want, me, me, me, me, mine, mine, mine, mine, now, now, now, now…”) drive their parents crazy.  Maggie (fun fact – it was her character I played on the playground with my friends when this movie first came out) points out that her parents read to her, “because they love me very much!”  And Hook retorts back that parents read to their children to shut them up.

In to end the lesson, Hook gave Maggie an F (to which she freaks out…probably why I was suited to play her character) and then declared that her parents were happier before she was born.

This scene struck a new chord, one that hadn’t been struck before.

Holy shit – Captain Hook was right.

There I was, hopelessly sleep deprived with a wee infant attached to my boob and tears running down my face because I got it – but not the it I was expecting to get.  This movie was supposed to remind me how joyful life was!  Instinctively I knew I wasn’t supposed to be listening to the words of this dark and sinister man, but for the first time in watching this film, my eyes were opened.  The guy had a point.  In my very short career as the parent of a newborn, I already knew I’d do things I previously said I’d never do if it meant my kid would sleep.  I wished for my old life back on a daily basis.  I fought with my husband about nothing and everything.  Some days, I was kind of miserable.

I considered growing a beard and joining the crew of the Jolly Roger.

Thankfully, the movie continued and we came to the scene in the Lost Boys’ tree house where Peter was desperately trying to find his happy thought.  He picked up his old teddy bear and had a flashback to a hospital room where his wife was handing him his brand new baby son, saying, “Peter, you’re a daddy!”

That was it.  This is why I wanted to watch the movie in the first place.  He was flying again, and so was I.

I was bedridden for the first 12 hours of Dylan’s life due to some minor complications, so when we were in the recovery room at the hospital, Brian started changing his first diapers and rocking and soothing and being a daddy.  It was amazing for me to watch, and it had reminded me of that same hospital scene in Hook.  Through tears in my eyes, I shared my thoughts with Brian and my heart was bursting.

Hook really got it right in more ways than I first realized.  It fascinates me how quickly and profoundly popping a baby out of me has changed my perspective on the whole world, let alone this movie.  Before, I had thought that the story was more about “always being a little boy and having fun,” and now I see this whole new layer about the love (“It’s the L-word, Captain!”) and struggle between parents and their children.  Yes, it’s about learning how to stay young, but it’s also about learning how to grow up.  And most importantly, it’s about finding (and keeping) that happy thought that keeps us all going.

Well, Dylan is our happy thought.  Our poopy, screamy, cuddly little happy thought.

There are so many great lines to quote and parallels to make about this movie and life in general, but the best is at the very end, where I don’t feel like Robin Williams was really having to act much at all.

He said,  “To live would be an awfully big adventure.”

Thanks for sharing your talent with all of us, Robin.  I am so very glad that you’re not in pain anymore.