On Trick or Treating and Growing Up

October 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm (Kids) (, , , , )

My nine year old won’t be able to trick or treat for Halloween this year, but before we cry sugary tears for her, here’s the reason. She has rehearsal for the professional play she’s in. I would have given my eyeteeth, if I knew what those were, to be in a professional play when I was nine. Heck, I’d give ’em to be in one now that I’m 40. She took the news on the chin. “It’s a sacrifice you have to make in order to have this amazing opportunity,” I said. “I know,” she said, willing the tears in her eyes not to fall. “It’s only one year,” I said. “There will be other Halloweens,” I said. “I know,” she said, with a subtext of “Stop talking, Mom, before I lose it.”

While I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the loss of candy, I do feel for her. It’s a grown-up thing she’s having to do, giving up one fantastic thing, in order to do another. And I realized something in this, my tenth year of parenting, kids don’t fly the nest all at once. It’s incremental…they leave by degrees.

When I dropped my little drama queen off for her first rehearsal, she took a big step towards adulthood. It was scary for her to shoulder her backpack and walk into the rehearsal room by herself. Her big brown eyes pleaded with me, both to go with her, and to stay back, to tell her what to do and to give her space to figure it out on her own. As I settled for a super-cheesey double thumbs-up, she gritted her jaw in a way familiar to anyone who knows her grandfather, and marched in. I watched her in awe. Awe. And then I cried a little bit. And then I went home and told Sam about it and he cried a little bit too.

And I feel sad for her about giving up Halloween, although I guess she can console herself with the fact that she gets to wear a costume a bunch more times than just once for trick or treating.

Monkey girl

Monkey girl

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