One year ago.

We had just bought our new house. In our new neighborhood. And while this new house still sat empty, we spent Halloween night trick or treating up and down these little blocks.

Back then, I had a four year old who was super scared of the houses. The decorations. A four year old that needed his daddy to knock first. Brooks hid behind Dave’s leg most of the night. Only to peek around to whisper

“trick or treat”

And Lucas. My little one. Oh this boy has changed so much. Last year, on the last house after blocks of forcing trick or treating. He whispered,

“treat treat”

He had basically no language. Those quiet words felt like such a victory then. At this point, we still struggled greatly with eye contact and hand holding. And this boy walked silently from house to house. Held out his bucket. Staring at the ground. Never a smile. A boy that lasted in his dusty crop hopper plane costume all of 10 minutes.

And Roman. My girl. A baby with basically no concept of Trick or Treating. A girl who clung to her momma. I carried her most the night. She ate about four suckers while we followed her brothers from house to house. She fell asleep to the rhythm of my feet on the concrete.

Looking back, I realize I wanted “it” so bad. That night. I wanted that moment I remember from my childhood. Really, I wanted it to be so different than it was. And I sort of left that night feeling a little lost and a little lonely.

Over and over, we had passed groups of families talking. Kids running through the darkness. Laughing. Screaming. And I felt like such an outsider. I felt lost and confused. I questioned things about my kids that took months to let go of again. Brooks’ bravery and maturity for his ripe old age of 4. Lucas. My heart just broke for where this boy was in life. And his future or lack thereof because honestly at that point I didn’t really see one. For Lucas, it was his disconnect from childhood that was so much greater than trick or treating. And it truly ripped my heart from its chest. And Roman. My girl who most time just felt like a backpack I carried around. That night she was just the  extra weight as I so desperately was trying to create something we just weren’t ready for.

But a year. 365 days. And while somethings felt the same. Everything was different. And not one bit of me takes that for granted.

What a difference a year can make.

This year. This Halloween. I spent the day at Brooks’ school watching my Wolverine march in a parade with his class. I mingled with moms during his classroom party. I walked home to another little boy just as excited for trick or treating. The loudness and excitement in my house waiting for daddy to get home was contagious. The minutes passed as the kids chased each other around the back yard waiting for darkness. Wolverine. A police officer. And a little witch. All filled with magic for this day.

This year my expectations started out way lower. Lucas started working on costumes back in June with his therapist Renee but still he spent the majority of the day deciding if he was even going to wear a costume at all. And Roman’s asthma is well… less than controlled right now. We weren’t even sure how far we would make it outside in the cold before that cough started to end our night early. But we were ready to try and that’s all that mattered. 

So we set off. Buckets in hand. Barely dark. And hit the first street. My three. Running up the stairs. All banging on the door.

Lucas rang the door bell probably 10 times.

“That’s enough dude.”

Dave yelled up to him. 

We stood on the side walk. Watching our three BIG kids. The door finally opened. And three of the wildest voices yelled,

“TRICK OR TREAT!!!!!”

A kind man filled my kids buckets with a handful of candy each.

“Who are you?”

He asked each of my kids. 

“I’m Wolverine.”

Brooks screamed followed by some sweet moves that I’m sure looked even more amazing in his head. 

“I’m a Police!”

Lucas interrupted. 

“I a witch.”

Roman stuttered through. 

They came running down the stairs filled with smiles.

“Mom, Dad. Look how much candy we got.”

“Awesome. Did you say thank you?”

And in an instant, all three turned around at the same time.

“THANK YOU!”

Oh be still my heart. 

So off we went to the next house. And the next and the next. And as we ran into friends on the streets. We talked with parents. We yelled at Brooks to wait for us as he ran from house to house.  Lucas stuck to his side. Screaming at the top of his lungs. And Roman insistent to walk. To keep up with her brothers.

And by the time we made it home. It was late. We had walked blocks and blocks.

The kids laid out on the floor and counted their candy.

Lucas sat dressed head to toe in a costume. And he kept stuffing more and more chocolate in his mouth.

“Momma! This is the best day of the year! The very best day!” 

And I don’t know if it was comparing this day of Halloween to last year or just taking a moment to soak it all in. But that smile from Luke. Those words. They melted my heart so much that I just sat there watching him eat more and more candy. I could have listened to him recap the night forever.

Then he basically ate himself into a food coma while I got all emotional that he threw up in his sleep that night. Chocolate everywhere! I sooooo brought that on myself. But man, I would let him eat it all over again, just to re-live that night. Those emotions of growth. I had such pride for my kids. For that brave 5 year old. For the 3 year old so full of life. And that 2 year old determined to be part of it all. 

I realize now it was Time. My little family needed time. More time to grow up. More time to heal. Mommas out there. I wish I had known all along what I learned this year. These holidays happen organically. These kids grow at their own pace. Give yourself time.

Halloween. It’s a holiday rooted in evil. In darkness. But my God showed his light to me this day. His goodness. His blessings. And most of all, His faithfulness.

And once again, I am learning to trust in HIS timing. Not mine.

Ciao! Girl