Friday, October 31, 2008

The most stressful Halloween ever

Oh, what's that you say? Megan doesn't look like she's in a costume for the school's Halloween parade? The parade where all parents go and video tape and take pictures of their kids in their adorable costumes??? Um... yeah, well what can I say. According to Megan, she was in a costume. Add a backpack to her street clothes and her costume was "a kid going to school". She marveled at the fact that some kids didn't seem to think she dressed up at all!(Gee- go figure). She was perfectly fine in her non-costume costume, thank-you-very-much! I however was in a tailspin about the whole thing. I was totally sure that all the parents were thinking what a horrible mother this girl had. I could hear them in my head, "Awww, that poor girl. Her parents must have forgotten to send her costume. I'm sure she is going to be scarred for life on that one." And in my head I could see the mother's giving each other the knowing, sympathetic nod. Oh, I'm not proud of it but I tried to plead my case with one of the mothers. You can hear me on the video tape.

But I'm not going to lie. I plead my case with about 5 of the mothers. It was like verbal diarrhea. I couldn't stop myself. Honestly, I was quite a pathetic sight. The minute I would say hello I would automatically start in on the mothers. "Did you see Megan's costume? (insert air quotes with the word costume) You should have seen our house this morning! Whew- knock down drag out fight over the costume," I kept hearing myself say. One of the moms said, "Oh yeah. I was thinking maybe you just didn't celebrate Halloween." Ugh.

But alas, there is a back story to this. Megan did have an actual costume that she was supposed to wear. A few weeks ago when I was on a business trip, Jay bought her costume. She decided she wanted to be a Chicago Cubs player. Great in theory- not great on our wallet. Those jerseys are expensive! Add a hat and shorts along with the jersey and $100 later, you've got yourself a costume.

A couple weeks ago, Megan started changing her tune on the costume. "I'm not a Cubs player," she would say. "I'm going to be a UPS driver, Cubs edition!" (Whatever that means.) But I just rolled with it.

Then this morning it was time to get the outfit together and the shorts were nowhere to be found. I looked everywhere and nothing. "Meg, I'm sorry I've looked everywhere and I can't find your shorts."

"Well I can't go to school with half a costume!!!" Megan sobbed. And although I realize it's not my responsibility to keep track of her shorts, I had the stab of guilt that I ruined her Halloween.

But as the morning went on, her anguish about having half a costume evolved into, "If I wear the jersey and the hat, people will think I'm a Cubs player AND I AM NOT a Cubs player! I'm a person who likes the Cubs." (Again...whatever that means.)

I had kept my cool up to this point. But I looked at the clock and we had 15 minutes to get it sorted out. Admittedly, I lost my shit. I could feel the veins popping out of my forehead and if I was a cartoon, you would have seen steam coming out of my ears. "I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU WEAR TO SCHOOL. JUST STOP TALKING TO ME. I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU GO AS. I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU WEAR. YOU JUST NEED TO GET IT FIGURED OUT IN THE NEXT 10 MINUTES."

Just in case, I included the jersey and hat in Megan's backpack. I hoped and prayed that she would change her mind before the parade. She had already warned me at the bus stop that her new costume was adding a backpack so she would be "a kid going to school". I went up to the school in the afternoon for the parade. As I waited in line, I held my breath that she would come around the corner in a Cubs jersey and hat. But Megan stuck to her guns. She came out wearing her backpack and in my head, I thought, Oh Fuuuuuuuuuddddge (but I didn't say fudge). Part of me loves the fact that she can be so bold and not care what others think but there was a small part of me that saw her sticking out like a sore thumb.

And therein was the lesson I learned today. Be careful what you say you don't care about. Because I did care. I wanted her to dress up. I wanted her to fit in. I didn't want to feel like I needed to explain my daughters lack of costume to every person who I made eye contact with. I hate that this holiday that was supposed to be about her, turned into a holiday about me- how I felt, how I reacted, how I was embarrassed by how I appeared to the other moms.


Ms Picket To You said...

My mother made every costume for me. I was determined to do the same for my kids. Then the catalogs came. It was a losing battle I was determined to win.

They "hate"me because I make the glue gunned costume more important, and... they should.

The whole thing is about ME.

This year we did half bought/half made. I am coming around. Sometimes, compromises means more to the grown-ups than anyone else. Sometimes the lessons I need to learn are the biggest.

This is the best post about Halloween I've read.

Badass Geek said...

It's great that she has the confidence to be an individual at such a young age... I envy that.

Lori said...

I am sorry, but the older she gets, the more I see myself in her. I am SOO very sorry. I went to school one year with a plastic bloody finger. I went in street clothes with that tiny finger prop and told everyone I was a girl with a "hurt finger".

Twenty-Something said...

Hey at least you let your kids "dress up" or give them the choice rather. I had halloween taken away from me when my parents became evangelical christians in 3rd grade... ruined my life (until i turned 18 anyway). At least Megan had the choice.

MammaDawg said...

No worries - looks like she rolled with it, your daughter definitely exudes confidence and I can't see ANYONE messing with the likes of her. :D

SF housewife said...

Hack with the social pressure. Go have fun.

x said...

Megan is too cool for school.

Carolyn...Online said...

Oh man. I am right there with you in that post. The strange costume, the missing shorts, the minutes ticking by as you try to just make her wear something - anything. Then that dread as you feel the need to explain it to every mom in earshot.

Stupid life lessons.